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A new chapter in Fabergé’s storied legacy is about to begin.
Under its new owner, London-based private equity firm Pallinghurst Resources, the house is readying for a re-launch of its fine jewelry line this September, designed by Frédéric Zaavy and produced in Paris ateliers.
“I studied Fabergé’s work for years. You could say the connection between our [creations] is the artisanal element; every piece is unique and we try to push each piece to the maximum,” said Zaavy. “I like the idea of rock ’n’ roll jewels and extraordinary classic pieces,” he said, adding that, currently in a pink and purple phase, he plans to introduce harder color perspectives to the line in the future.
A range of pieces was unveiled in a preview here on Tuesday in Karl Lagerfeld’s former residence on the Rue de l’Université. Marking Fabergé’s arrival, an onion-domed cage opened the show, filled with designs inspired by Russian folklore including a winged silver horse brooch in myriad diamonds and moonstones. Elsewhere, a live puppet show with gems housed in mini-theater sets referenced the late Peter Carl Fabergé’s close ties with figures from Russia’s performing arts scene. Nature-inspired jewelry included a line of rose petal pins and a spectacular Nymphéa bracelet, its tapestry of miniature gems forming impressionist water lily motifs.
Admiring the last piece (that took four years to make) was Fabergé’s great-grandaughter, Tatiana Fabergé, in her late 70s, who has closely followed the project.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for some time,” she said, adding erasing licensing errors made by the brand’s successive run of owners will prove one of the biggest hurdles for the new team. (Fabergé’s name is said to be connected with a host of unlikely categories, including laundry powder.)
Banking on the brand’s “extraordinary aura of mystique,” which still resonates with craftsmen and the public alike, chief executive officer Mark Dunhill said he feels confident about steering Fabergé back to its former glory. Focusing on exquisite craftsmanship is one of the first steps, he said. New takes on the brand’s iconic enameled eggs could be introduced at a later stage. The firm will open its first “salon” boutique in Geneva this September, as well as an online store.
“[Fabergé] conveys the romance and mystique of a bygone era, with this combination of Russian spirituality and French sensuality; the memory of Rasputin and the tragedy of the Romanovs. It’s quite a potent cocktail,” said Dunhill.
Rather than dwelling on the past, the future of the brand lies in using this legacy — as the ultimate jeweler and goldsmith — as a springboard, he said.