Wednesday, March 23, 2016

For the year of Maddie's first published adventure (1898), here's the lovely 'Lilies of the Valley' Imperial Egg presented to Alexandra Feodorovna by Nicholas II.

"This gold, art-nouveau style egg is enameled translucent rose on a guilloche field and supported on four dull green-gold cabriolet legs, composed of overlapping leaves veined in rose-cut diamonds. The egg is surmounted by a rose-cut diamond and cabochon ruby Imperial crown set, with two bows and quartered by four lines of rose-cut diamonds and decorated with lilies of the valley in pearls and rose-cut diamonds. The stalks are lightly engraved green gold, and the leaves are enameled translucent green on gold."

"The surprise consists of three oval miniatures of Nicholas II in military uniform and the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana, his first two children. It rises from the top of the egg by means of a geared mechanism and spreads into a fan when a gold-mounted pearl button at the side is turned. A turn in the opposite direction automatically folds and returns the miniatures back to the interior of the egg. The Julian date, April 5, 1898, is engraved on the reverse of the miniatures. Johannes Zehngraf painted the miniatures on ivory; the egg retains its original fitted velvet case."

To see the Egg in the round, check out the video

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