This very unusual egg pendant is designed in the Neo-Russian style of the early 1900s which implemented fairy tale motifs and elements of Russian folk art. The front of the egg is decorated with a winter landscape: snowy pine trees against a colorful enamel background suggesting a sunset. The enamel sky is accented with a diamond. The egg is further decorated with chased folk motif ornaments.
The body of the egg is made of silver (some traces of gilding). The suspension ring is made of 14K gold.
The egg was crafted in Moscow between 1908 and 1917 by the 3rd Artel (cooperative) of Jewellers which specialized in Neo-Russian style objects and retailed their pieces through the firm of Faberge.
The egg belonged to Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna (1897 -1918) the second daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and according to the attached tag, came from her personal quarters at Alexander palace (Tsarskoye Selo).
The egg was sold through Hammer Galleries which specialized in the sale of Russian Imperial treasures and personal belongings of the Romanovs. The egg still has its original Hammer Galleries fabric tag from the 1930s – 1940s.
Armand Hammer (1898-1990), an American entrepreneur, later CEO of Occidental Petroleum, started doing business in Soviet Russia in 1921. He met with Lenin in person and was granted permission to develop mines in Siberia and allowed export of art and antique objects from Russia. In 1926, under Stalin’s regime, Hammer was forced to sell his mines to the state and his pencil factory was nationalized. As a compensation, Stalin allowed him to purchase almost the entire contents of the Alexander Palace, the last residence of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II, which mostly consisted of personal items of the Romanovs. Belongings of the Imperial family were sold in America in the 1930s-1940s through Hammer Galleries in New York and Palm Beach.
Any personal jewelry of the daughters of Tsar Nicholas II is exceptionally rare. In the extensive Pratt Collection (at the Virginia Museum of Arts), which was mainly assembled in the 1940s, out of 76 egg pendants, only one egg has provenance similar to the egg featured here ( “from the apartments of Grand Duchess Tatiana, Alexander Palace, Tsarskoye Selo” ). Tsars’ daughters were not accustomed to expensive jewelry and were given such pieces only to wear at special occasions. In everyday life, they would wear understated jewelry like the egg presented here. Considering the winter motif of the egg’s design, the pendant was most likely gifted to Grand Duchess Tatiana for Christmas.
We sold another silver and enamel egg with Imperial provenance several years ago. The egg belonged to Grand Duchess Maria (the third daughter of the Tsar) and also had the Hammer Galleries provenance.
Height of the egg without suspension ring is 18 mm (11/16 in.)
The egg is marked with Moscow assay mark for 1908-1917 period and maker’s mark ‘3АЮ’ for the 3rd Artel of Jewellers.