Fabergé: Glittery, glitzy and over the top. Liberace loved the jewelry house’s lavish sensibility so much that he opened some of his mid-’80s productions by emerging from a giant Fabergé egg. It’s no wonder that their jewel-encrusted, gold-leafed and diamond-spangled extravagance appeals to Las Vegas, where flashy indulgence is our raison d’être.
So it’s fitting that Fabergé creations have been on display at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art twice. In 2003, the gallery presented Fabergé: Treasures From the Kremlin. On November 14, Fabergé Revealed arrives (10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily through May 25). The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts created the exhibition, which has traveled to Detroit and Montreal, among other cities, and will appear in Beijing in 2016.
The exhibit showcases more than 200 works—from elaborately carved picture frames and jewel-studded cigarette cases to gilded teapots and enameled parasol handles. The house of Fabergé also maintained its focus on jewelry, and Fabergé Revealed will include pieces such as the last Queen of Italy’s diamond tiara.
Also on display will be four of the famed Fabergé eggs, each a tiny elaborate masterpiece of adornment and engineering. The Imperial Pelican Easter Egg is a creation of intricately engraved gold, topped with a tiny, jeweled pelican in her nest of pearl eggs, and unfolds to display nine painted-ivory miniatures in ornate frames. Truly, it is the world’s most exquisite and expensive tchotchke. Additionally, the exhibit will feature a selection of “Fauxbergé” objects—forgeries once thought to be genuine pieces. They may not fool the experts, but most will find them every bit as impressive as the real thing.
The aura of decadence and extravagance is underlined by the fact that the Russian royal family was Fabergé’s best and best-known customers. The elite of the elite, nibbling on caviar and exchanging ruby-studded jade letter openers and miniature golden wastebaskets in their private palace, oblivious to toil and misfortune beyond the gates. Ignoring reality while basking in fanciful luxury? I guess that’s another reason Las Vegas loves Fabergé.