Fabergé, Peter Carl

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Fabergé, Peter Carl

(fäbĕrzhā`), 1846–1920, Russian goldsmith and jeweler, b. St. Petersburg. Sometimes described as a latter-day CelliniCellini, Benvenuto
, 1500–1571, Italian sculptor, metalsmith, and author. His remarkable autobiography (written 1558–62), which reads like a picaresque novel, is one of the most important documents of the 16th cent.
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, he was descended from Huguenots and inherited (1870) his father Gustave's jewelry firm in his native city. The business flourished under the younger Fabergé's direction, expanding to include the creation of precious objects in gold, silver, vermeil, enamelwork, and gems. By 1906 there were branches in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Odessa, Kiev, and London, and the firm employed well over 500. Favorites of the aristocracy, Fabergé and his studio became particularly known for their opulent, intricate, and ingenious Easter eggs, which were often used as gifts by czars Alexander III and Nicholas II. The Russian Revolution meant the downfall of such lavish artistry, however gorgeously wrought; the Fabergé business was nationalized in 1917 and closed the following year. Fabergé himself fled to Lausanne, Switzerland, where he soon died.