Scheduled to reopen Fall 2023
The McFerrin Fabergé Collection is presented in the state-of-the-art gallery in the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals. This gallery is made possible by the generous underwriting of the Artie and Dorothy McFerrin Foundation. 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.
This special exhibition Everyday Fabergé highlights Carl Fabergé’s unique ability to transform even the most mundane items into ornamental accessories. As the clientele expanded from royalty to the nouveau riche, demand for fashionable accessories grew quickly. These Everyday Fabergé items were the desired gifts for royalty, dignitaries and the worldwide elite. Fabergé collectors and enthusiasts today are still struck by the practical yet innovative mastermind who was far ahead of his time.
The second half of Everyday Fabergé celebrates the highly skilled master goldsmiths who were hired to run their own workshops under the name of Fabergé. A Fabergé workmaster was a craftsman who owned his own workshop and produced jewelry, silver or objets d’art for the House of Fabergé. They collaborated as a part of a larger team under Carl Fabergé’s exceptional leadership with the goal of making each object unique and flawless, worthy of the Fabergé name. This part of the exhibit separates items by workmaster to show the different styles and specialties of each of these master goldsmiths.
There are over 70 eggs in the McFerrin Collection including the Imperial Diamond Trellis Egg (c.1892) and 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 jeweled figure, embellished picture frame with photo of a loved one, or perhaps the most cherished—a mechanical animal figurine.
Everyday Fabergé 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.