When storied jeweler Fabergé and “Game of Thrones” decided to collaborate as the series kicks off 10-year anniversary festivities, it was fairly obvious the object would be an egg — and that Easter would be the perfect time to unveil the project.
The task of deciding what to build inside the precious object fell to “GOT”‘s costume designer Michele Clapton, whose mind immediately went to a crown cradled in delicate dragon wings, encapsulating the gripping narrative of central character Daenerys Targaryen, whose wedding gift of three petrified dragon eggs shaped her fate over eight seasons of the cult HBO show.
“We tried to distill the essence of Daenerys. So much of her story was to do with texture and color,” said Clapton, who teamed with Fabergé’s head designer Liisa Tallgren.
Now the biggest mystery is who will buy this exceptional creation with its irregular external scales — a dégradé of gray, red, violet, blue and black enamel, punctuated with diamonds and moonstones — and its mechanized interior with a ruby as the central jewel.
Fabergé has already briefed its top collectors, and set the price at 1.6 million pounds plus VAT, but may ultimately choose the victor based on his or her willingness to exhibit the object, said Josina von dem Bussche-Kessell, global sales and business development director at Fabergé.
“We want to find the perfect buyer,” she said. “Because there’s only one [egg], we do have to go through a bit of a natural selection process. It’s really about the life of this piece. And because ‘Game of Thrones’ is a global phenomenon, we don’t want it to be locked away in someone’s penthouse somewhere. We really would love it to be something that people can enjoy and look at.”
While the 18-carat white gold dragon egg has been fully designed; all the precious stones have been secured and selected, and Fabergé’s engineers and artisans have figured out how to make the crown rise up once the object is opened, it has yet to be realized in the jeweler’s workshops just outside of London. Around 8 to 10 centimeters in size, it is to be completed within this year.
Best known for its Imperial Easter Eggs for the Russian court in the 19th century, designed by founder Peter Carl Fabergé, the jeweler has a history with almost as many plot twists as what went down in that fictional land called Westeros.
In one striking parallel, the crown inside the “GOT” egg echos one of the very first Imperial Fabergé eggs, which had a plain exterior sheltering a golden yolk, which itself sheltered a ruby crown. Von dem Bussche-Kessell noted that some elements of that special creation have been lost.
Another eerie coincidence: One of 50 Russian Imperial eggs created by Fabergé was conceived as a pine cone but “is the mirror image of the dragon’s egg,” von dem Bussche-Kessell related over a Zoom call, also highlighting that Fabergé, like “GOT,” is practically part of popular culture in Europe, its jewels woven through so many family dynasties, from royalty to new money.
Owned since 2012 by London-based Gemfields plc, which specializes in responsibly sourced colored gemstones, Fabergé today markets a range of jewelry, timepieces and gifts online and through boutiques in New York, Houston and Dubai.
For Clapton, who won an Emmy for her costume design for “GOT” in 2012, it was her first time working in high jewelry. She marveled at the range of beautiful colors available in gemstones and enamel, and at the engineering deployed inside the eggs, though Fabergé has vast experience, having built tiny clocks, train sets and moving animals into these jeweled objects.
“A lot of the elements within ‘Game of Thrones’ were not fantastical, but the dragons were. And I think that’s why people remember them,” she said. “It’s a sort of fantasy that’s fulfilled.”
Von dem Bussche-Kessell said Fabergé typically makes only one Imperial-caliber egg a year, and sometimes none at all. In 2014, it made one for a collector believed to hold the world’s largest collection of natural pearls who handed over a perfect egg-shaped one, around which the jeweler’s artisans built — what else? — a pearly egg case. In 2018, Rolls-Royce commissioned a “Spirit of Ecstasy” egg that opens like a lotus flower.
HBO and Warner Bros. Consumer Products consider the Fabergé dragon egg the “crown jewel” of the anniversary celebrations, with the “narrative of the series continuing inside the egg in an imagined way,” according to von dem Bussche-Kessell. “It’s commemorating an icon of modern relevance and legacy.”