Not your or­di­nary eggs

The fa­mous Faberge eggs can now be found un­der one roof.

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RUS­SIAN bil­lion­aire Vik­tor Vek­sel­berg re­cently opened a mu­seum to dis­play his glit­ter­ing col­lec­tion of Faberge eggs, once owned by the tsars, in Rus­sia’s for­mer im­pe­rial cap­i­tal, Saint Peters­burg.

The new Faberge Mu­seum lo­cated in the Shu­valov Palace in the city cen­tre put on dis­play nine of the eggs, once given as Easter gifts by the royal fam­ily, as well as thou­sands of jew­elled ob­jets d’art rang­ing from icons to cigar cases.

Vek­sel­berg bought the col­lec­tion of eggs from the es­tate of the late Mal­colm Forbes, the US publisher of Forbes mag­a­zine in 2004, vow­ing to bring them back to Rus­sia.

“We started this project more than 10 years ago, and we are happy to present the re­sult to you,” Vek­sel­berg said at the open­ing.

The jew­elled eggs with enamel and painted de­tails in­clude one given by the last Rus­sian tsar, Ni­cholas II, to his mother, Maria Fy­o­dor­ovna, which is dec­o­rated with his por­trait as well as that of his heir, Alexei.

Another made to cel­e­brate the first an­niver­sary of Ni­cholas II’s coronation has a sur­prise in­side: a model of a tiny gold car­riage. Oth­ers con­tain a gold hen and an enamelled rose­bud.

The 18th-cen­tury man­sion hous­ing the mu­seum orig­i­nally be­longed to Ivan Shu­valov, a favourite of Tsa­rina El­iz­a­beth Petro­vna. It was used for wel­com­ing in­ter­na­tional del­e­ga­tions dur­ing the Soviet days.

“The inau­gu­ra­tion of this mu­seum is a great event for all of Rus­sia,” said Cul­ture Min­is­ter Vladimir Medin­sky at the open­ing. “Now we have the chance to see this beau­ti­ful and pre­cious col­lec­tion in Saint Peters­burg.”

He stressed that the mu­seum is en­tirely pri­vately funded: “Not a sin­gle kopeck was spent from the Rus­sian bud­get.”

Vek­sel­berg is worth some

A thing of beauty: an

egg called Lau­rel tree.

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