LONDON — New Year’s Day may be just around the corner, but at Buckingham Palace, they’re already celebrating Easter.

The Queen’s Gallery at the palace is showcasing some of the finest and most colorful works by the 19th-century Russian jeweler Carl Fabergé, designer of the renowned Imperial Easter Eggs. The Royal Collection’s 300-piece show, “Fabergé,” runs until March 7 and includes gem-encrusted eggs, boxes, photograph frames, bibelots, jewelry, desk items and animal and flower ornaments. All the items on display belong to the British royal family.

The pieces were acquired almost exclusively via the exchange of gifts among the interrelated members of the Russian, British and Danish royal families. Indeed, these families were Fabergé’s biggest patrons, calling on him to create jeweled confections for Easter, anniversaries and other special occasions.

The “Colonnade Egg” takes center-stage. A rose-and-lime-colored Easter egg clock made in 1910, it was a gift from Tsar Nicholas II to his wife, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna. Made from bowenite, four-color gold, silver gilt, platinum, guilloche enamel and rose diamonds, the egg, like all the others, has its own theme.

The design features a temple of love to symbolize the couple’s relationship. The silver-gilt cherubs seated around the base of the temple represent the couple’s four daughters. The silver-gilt cupid on top of the egg represents the long-awaited male heir to the throne, Tsarevitch Alexis.

Fabergé made his first Imperial Easter Egg, commissioned by Tsar Alexander III, in 1885, the same year the House of Fabergé was appointed goldsmiths and jewelers to the Imperial Court. The egg was the tsar’s wedding anniversary present for his wife, Tsarina Marie Feodorovna.

“Tsarina Marie Feodorovna and her sister, Queen Alexandra, adored Fabergé’s work and were heavily responsible for enhancing his career through their influence on other’s tastes,” said Caroline de Guitaut, the exhibition’s curator.

Because Easter is the most important celebration in the Russian Orthodox calendar, the royals would often exchange richly embellished eggs. But the eggs weren’t just for decoration: They came in a number of practical designs, including egg-shaped boxes, gum pots, cups and miniature pendants.Each Easter, the imperial family would give these pendants to the grand duchesses to mark the passage of the year. The pendants were made in an assortment of colors and stones, and occasionally opened to reveal miniature surprises, such as a Russian royal yacht or train.

But the Russian royals weren’t Fabergé’s only fans. “Without the support of Queen Alexandra and her husband, King Edward VII, Fabergé would never have opened a London branch in 1903,” de Guitaut said in a telephone interview.

Their son, who was to become King George V of England, once described the contents of his mother’s apartment on a trip to St. Petersburg: “Mother dear’s birthday….Saw all the presents, she has got half Fabergé’s shop.” King George’s parents preferred Fabergé’s simpler pieces, such as the wild flower ornaments and animal sculptures, modeled from life at the Sandringham Estate farm.

King George V inherited his parents’ passion for Fabergé, and was an avid collector with his wife, Queen Mary. The two were responsible for a number of important acquisitions for the Royal Collection, including four Fabergé Easter eggs. On April 1, 1912, they bought 11 eggs during one visit to Fabergé’s London store. However, these were clearly intended as presents, since few of them remain in the Royal Collection today.

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, continued the family tradition, adding a significant number of pieces, including flower ornaments and picture frames, to the Royal Collection. Some of these items were gifts, while others she bought for herself.

The earliest egg in the Royal Collection is the Basket of Flowers Egg, where the wild flowers enameled on gold are so detailed and lifelike they appear to be moving. Made in 1901, this egg was also ordered by Tsar Nicholas II for his wife.

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