Fabergé, the 178-year-old iconic jewellery brand, marked the death centenary of the creative genius Peter Carl Fabergé on 24th September this year. In an exclusive interview with Solitaire, his great granddaughter Sarah Fabergé, a founder member of The Fabergé Heritage Council, speaksabout the journey of reviving a jewellery legacy and the company’s plans for the Indian market.
How and when did you realise as a child that you were part of a world-renowned legacy and what propelled you to take charge of the company’s reins?
I grew up with a very creative and inspirational father who was keen to tell me about the heritage he slowly discovered. Something that will stay with me always is my first trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, or to be exact, Leningrad as it was then known. Dad naturally wanted to discover more about his heritage and for me to see Russia and, in particular, the treasures of the Hermitage Museum. It was only then that I began to understand the true significance of Fabergé to Russian history and the sublime creativity and craftsmanship that was so appealing to a global audience. Neither of us imagined for one moment that we would once again be associated with the long lost trademark although we had both, along the way, designed and in the case of my father designed and created for a Fabergé-inspired company.
In 2007, I was approached by the new owners of the trademark to become a founder member of The Fabergé Heritage Council. Today, I am also Fabergé’s Director of Special Projects which enables me to look for collaborative opportunities. As an ambassador for the company, I represent Fabergé at events both in the UK and overseas and while there are always challenges, as with any work, I love the variety these different roles bring. I am passionate about Fabergé and very fortunate to work with a small and talented team of people who share this passion.
Do you believe that your creative streak stems from the rich lineage? Do you visit Russia to find the missing links and the Fabergé treasures – which may be owned by private collectors?
The question of nature or nurture is a tough one. I am naturally inspired by the heritage and spirit of Peter Carl Fabergé and by my father Theo’s ingenuity, inventiveness and enthusiasm for the arts. I think creativity is a mixture of the past and of keeping your eyes and mind open in the present!
I love visiting Russia. To reconnect, to learn about the fascinating country and culture my ancestors had to leave behind. It is always fascinating to see Fabergé works of art. The company was prolific in its output and the variety of items created were extensive. This gives today’s Fabergé Company a rich pool of ideas from which to draw our inspirations.
Do you also design jewellery? If so, we would love to know about your design processes and the collections that you have created.
I am not a trained designer, instead I have concepts. To give an example I discussed the concept for Mystére with our very talented in-house designer and she then brought it to life. The Mystére Fabergé pendant, which can also be worn as a brooch, represents our heritage and support of the artisan. The design evokes a feeling of movement and the art of turning on a lathe so loved by my father Theo. In silver, Mystére comes in one of three colours inspired by gentle skies over St. Petersburg – soft pink, misty blue and soft white.
We would like to know the function of the Fabergé Heritage Council. Where is it set up and what is its role as a torchbearer of the brand?
The Fabergé Heritage Council was formed in 2007 to counsel the unified Fabergé brand in its pursuit of excellence and exclusivity and to advise and provide guidance on Peter Carl Fabergé and his legacy. As mentioned above, I am a founder member together with John Andrew, a connoisseur and Fabergé’s Archivist. Fabergé’s Curatorial Director, the world-renowned expert, Dr. Géza von Habsburg is the third member of the Heritage Council. Members of the Council are often invited to attend events on behalf of Fabergé, to make guest speeches or to support related projects or initiatives. We all act as brand ambassadors.
Past founder members were my cousin Tatiana Fabergé (1930-2020) and my father Theo Fabergé (1922-2007).
When Gemfields bought the Fabergé name, you and your (late) cousin, Tatiana were taken on board. What were the steps taken by you to resurrect the magic of Fabergé once again?
It was decided that the company should begin again with a collection of high jewellery and so our then Creative Director, the very talented Katharina Flohr, collaborated with the late Frederic Zaavi (whose exquisite work was known and recommended by cousin Tatiana Fabergé) to relaunch the company at 9am on 9th September 2009 at Goodwood House in Sussex with 100 spectacular pieces of his work. Subsequently, in 2009, bejewelled eggs and smaller egg pendants were revealed during Paris Couture week. We have been gently building our collections to include high and fine jewellery, objet and award-winning timepieces which push the boundaries of design and include innovative movements.
Tell us about the collections you exhibited at Vicenzaoro. How were the collections received since this was Fabergé’s first foray at Vicenzaoro?
It was our first time exhibiting at Vicenzaoro and Fabergé was extremely well received. It provided a fantastic opportunity to showcase our wonderful collections and explain how Fabergé was a design-led artist-jeweller with a penchant for colour through both stones and reviving the lost art of enamelling. Exhibition visitors were fascinated to learn about the history and marvel at the craftsmanship of the pieces.
India, too, shares the love for colour and coloured gemstones and enameling – tell us more about your recent tie up with Diacolor to display shop-in-shop Fabergé timepieces in Delhi.
Diacolor shares our passion for exquisite gemstones, timepieces and first-class customer service and care. We are in discussions to also introduce our jewellery and objets d’art as part of a phased expansion over the next few years.
Are there any plans to unveil jewellery collections, too, in India?
The next five years will be a busy and exciting period for Fabergé in India, and we are delighted to partner with Diacolor on this next step.
Has the modern-day Fabergé brand upheld the traditional ethos, workmanship and artistry of the past? How has it adapted the values and designs to appeal to the modern-day consumer?
Just as the Fabergé of the past, Fabergé today offers a wide collection of jewellery, timepieces and objet d’art, including of course egg pendants. We do not copy previous designs but take inspiration from our past to create contemporary pieces.
Today’s Company continues to be inspired by the spirit and ethos of Peter Carl Fabergé and his workmasters to create jewellery and objects for the 21st century. As we remember his passing 100 years ago, his legacy, that of the “artist jeweller” as he described himself, lives on. We take forward the concepts of fine craftsmanship, colour, creativity and collaboration not only with our makers but also with our clients.
Emotion Multi-coloured High Jewellery Pendant
The Emotion Collection, infused with intense colour, explores the intellectual and artistic richness of Fabergé’s world. These bold and daring jewels, pushing the boundaries of design and craftsmanship in true Fabergé spirit, explore Bohemian, Impressionist and Fauvist views of vivid colour as an emotional force and an expression of feeling. Emotion multi-coloured 18-karat yellow gold pendant necklace features multi-coloured sapphires, rubies, emeralds and tsavorites by Faberge.