The McFerrin Fabergé Collection is now being presented in a new state-of-the-art gallery in the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals. This new gallery is made possible by the generous underwriting of the Artie and Dorothy McFerrin Foundation.
The first installation in the gallery is the new special exhibition Fabergé: Royal Gifts. Visitors will experience the design artistry and craftsmanship of the Fabergé workmasters in an intimate setting.
Currently numbering over 600 pieces, the McFerrin Fabergé Collection is the largest private collection of Fabergé in the world—a treasure trove of objects reflecting the artistry of the Fabergé firm.
Fabergé: Royal Gifts explores the international politics, diplomacy, economics and innovation in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Beginning with the magnificent crown jewels of Catherine the Great, the development of Peter Carl Fabergé’s techniques and inspiration are explored.
One of the unique treasures displayed is a Fabergé piece inspired by a Scythian gold arm band dating to the 4th century BC. One of only four known today, Fabergé exhibited this piece at the 1882 Pan-Russian Exhibition in Moscow. In 1885 the House of Fabergé was named “Goldsmith by special appointment to the Imperial Crown.”
There are over 70 eggs in the McFerrin Collection including two other Imperial-sized eggs made for special clients: the Nobel Ice Egg (c. 1913) created for Emanuel Nobel (1859-1932), and the Kelch Rocaille Egg created for Barbara Petrovna Kelch and presented by her husband Alexander Ferdinandovich Kelch in 1902.
Peter Carl Fabergé is known for equipping the Imperial Easter Eggs with a “surprise” inside for the recipient of the gift to find when he or she opens the egg. A surprise might be a realistic, jeweled figure, embellished picture frame with photo of a loved one, or perhaps the most cherished—a mechanical animal figurine.
Fabergé: Royal Gifts is organized by the Houston Museum of Natural Science. It is the premiere exhibition for the Dorothy and Artie McFerrin Gallery in the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals.