“A designer at the House of Rolls-Royce sketched an egg, igniting a fascination that will undoubtedly become one of the most collectable items of modern times.” These are the words of Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. He was referring to the ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ Fabergé Egg, the unique objet d’art commissioned by Rolls-Royce and fabricated by Fabergé. It is only the second Fabergé Egg to be commissioned in the ‘Imperial Class’ since 1917. The Imperial Class is a category reserved for Fabergé’s most illustrious creations, those that truly celebrate Fabergé’s storied history and heritage; qualities it has shared with Rolls-Royce for more than a century.
The original Fabergé egg was commissioned by Emperor Alexander III in 1885 as an Easter present for his wife, Empress Maria Feodorovna. This became an annual Easter tradition of the imperial household and was continued by his son Nicholas II, resulting in a total of 50 eggs being created for the Russian Imperial family between 1885 and 1916; a period when the company was run by Peter Carl Fabergé.
“The Spirit of Ecstasy’ Fabergé Egg was born from an intrinsic desire to further the realms of Bespoke personalisation,” according to Müller-Ötvös, and was in response to “the continuing demands of patrons in search of unique and cherished possessions.”
The design of the egg was conceived by Rolls-Royce designers Stefan Monro and Alex Innes and rendered by Fabergé’s lead designer Liisa Talgren. The resulting intricate design, which stands at 160mm and weighs just 400g, unmistakeably draws inspiration from Fabergé’s heritage. The challenge of bringing the design to life fell under the stewardship of Fabergé’s workmaster Paul Jones, with a team of seven exceptional artist jewellers and using the finest materials.
The egg rests on an engine-turned, hand-engraved, purple enamel guilloché base of 18 karat white gold. Arms of rose gold define the shape of the egg, acting as a protective chamber. The rose gold vanes, embellished with nearly 10 carats of round white diamonds, resolve into swathes of natural amethyst weighing over 390 carats, specially selected for its colour saturation and quality. The purple hue of the enamel and amethyst provide a playful nod to the use of colour found in Fabergé’s heritage. The star of the show, the beautiful figurine of the Spirit of Ecstasy, is hand-sculpted in frosted rock crystal.
Upon operating the movement via a discreet lever at the base of the stand, the boughs open like a blossoming flower to present an unobscured view of the Spirit of Ecstasy. The movement is a highly complex mechanism, conceived through computer-aided design and animation, and developed with micro engineering. The success of this mechanism, and in turn the piece as a whole, can be attributed to the goldsmiths’ skill and also their ability to meld this skill with technology. The piece, thus, embodies both the artistic design and engineering skill that one expects from a collaboration between Rolls-Royce and Fabergé.
“The creation of the ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ Egg represents the meeting of two masters of unrivalled quality and design, showcasing two globally recognised symbols – the Fabergé Egg and the Spirit of Ecstasy.” – Sean Gilbertson, Chief Executive Officer, Fabergé
The ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ Fabergé egg premiered at the House of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, England, to a host of distinguished guests and venerable patrons of the marque on October 23, 2018. The Egg will next be on public display in Fabergé’s London window over the Christmas period and is eventually “destined for the residence of a great collector of both brands.“