How did Carl Faberge create a jewelry empire?
Peter Carl Faberge, with whose name beautiful jewelery works are associated, was not the founder of the company, but continued the work of his father, Gustav Faberge. Carl was born in St. Petersburg on May 30, 1846. Four years before the birth of his son, Gustav Faberge opened a jewelry workshop in the capital. Why the son of a carpenter became a jeweler, history is silent, but things went well in the workshop, which allowed the children to receive an excellent education. Carl Faberge Photo: ru.wikipedia.org It is worth noting that mother, daughter of Danish artist Charlotte Youngstedt also made a significant contribution to children’s education. It was she who helped develop among the sons, Karl and Agathon, the refined perception of beauty, which later made their works the standard of the jewelry art. Peter Karl first studied at the German private school of St. Anne, then continued his education in Dresden. For several years he traveled around Europe, studying the experience of jewelry production. The longest he stayed in the workshop of the Frankfurt jeweler Joseph Friedman, whom he later called his teacher. Training with the best European jewelers was not in vain, in 1872, the 26-year-old Karl headed his father’s workshop. It cannot be said that the Faberge workshop immediately became famous, success came only in the mid-80s, when the works of the Faberge brothers (since 1882, 20-year-old Agathon joined Karl) had his own recognizable style. This was greatly facilitated by the talented master jeweler Mikhail Perkhin, who came to the workshop in 1885 and worked there until 1903. Faberge Egg Photo: ru.wikipedia.org During this period, Karl participated in the restoration work at the Hermitage. According to legend, he carried out a considerable part of his work for free, as they allowed him to thoroughly get acquainted with the best works of jewelry from the Hermitage collection. Here, Faberge received his first major official order – making copies of Scythian gold products from the “Kerch treasure”. Then came the order from the emperor to make an Easter egg. Other orders followed. Already in May 1885, a significant event occurred – Carl Faberge received the title of “supplier of the highest court”. The authority of the Faberge firm grew rapidly, in 1890, Charles became a hereditary honorary citizen (privileged class, standing below the nobility) and was appointed “appraiser of the cabinet of his imperial majesty.” International authority was also relatively quickly won. The Faberge firm begins to participate in international exhibitions, always receiving prizes and awards. The customers of the company are the ruling European dynasties. The authority of the company was promoted by the fact that, while traveling abroad, members of the Russian imperial family as gifts to their august relatives preferred to present Faberge products. Egg “Memory of Azov” is made for the imperial family. Photo: ru.wikipedia.org Among people with wealth, it becomes prestigious to have elegant items with the stamp “K. Faberge. It is curious that the proposals began to appear to perform expensive jewelry work, but without sticking a trademark. Apparently, these products were supposed to be issued as historical rarities. But Faberge flatly refused such offers. Egg “Peter the Great” Photo: ru.wikipedia.org Why did the Faberge jewelry company gain such popularity? Faberge joined the two arts – applied and jewelry. Everyday use items manufactured by his firm – sets, cigarette cases, ashtrays, photo frames, paper knives, glass bowls, etc. – became the masterpieces of the jewelry art. Silver frame “Gift to the architect V. G. Shukhov”, 1896 Photo: ru.wikipedia.org Easter eggs made by Faberge, animal figures and small compositions with flowers made of precious and semi-precious stones were especially appreciated. Traditional jewelery made by Faberge’s craftsmen was no less in demand. For example, in 1894, only two sets of jewelry intended for the bride of the future emperor Nicholas I, Princess Alice, Faberge received 416,500 rubles. The sum for those times is fabulous. Kit for a punch with linen towels Photo: Source The success of the Faberge company is not an accident, but the result of hard work, in-depth market analysis, mastering new types of products and painstakingly studying the experience of the best Russian and foreign jewelers. The Faberge brothers not only themselves often traveled abroad to get acquainted with the novelties of European jewelers, but also sent their best craftsmen on business trips. The Egg “Chicken” Photo: Source Emerged as a small workshop, the Faberge company grew rapidly, its branches were opened in Moscow, Kiev, Odessa and London. Independent exhibitions of Faberge products and their participation in international exhibitions invariably became an event. Began to be held and closed exhibitions for the courtyards of European monarchs.