Barbra Streisand has worn this stunning art nouveau, vintage Fabergé diamond necklace on numerous occasions, including her appearance at the 1997 Academy Awards.
An avid collector of fine antique pieces, Barbra often wears her own jewelry to red carpet events. Barbra purchased this piece from Wartski in London, in 1994. Wartski is home to many unique, vintage Fabrigé treasures. The 150-year-old London antique dealer is best known for its “royal warrant of appointment,” as one of a handful of jewelers that supply goods & services to the royal family.
Fabergé was launched one hundred years before Barbra’s birth, in 1842, when Gustav Fabergé opened Fabergé as a jewelry store in a basement shop. He added the accent to the E in his name to give more appeal to Russian Nobilities Francophilia. Gustav would leave the store in the hands of his son Carl who became a master goldsmith.
After Carl worked to repair & restore objects in the Hermitage Museum, he was invited to exhibit at the Pan-Russian Exhibition in Moscow. Tsar Alexander III declared that he could not distinguish Fabergé’s work from the original. He ordered that specimens of work by the House of Fabergé should be displayed in the Hermitage Museum as examples of superb contemporary Russian craftsmanship.
In 1885, Tsar Alexander III commissioned the House of Fabergé to make an Easter egg as a gift for his wife, the Empress Maria Feodorovna. The tradition of the Tsar giving his Empress a surprise Easter egg by Carl Fabergé continued. They became more elaborate every year. Of the fifty eggs, 43 are known to have survived. The House of Fabergé also stocked a full range of jewelery and other ornamental objects. Barbra’s necklace is one of these items. Original design sketches still exist for many pre 1917 Fabrigé pieces of jewelry.
The House of Fabergé was nationalised by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Carl fleed for his life in Germany, and his sons were imprisoned. He died of illness in 1920. After escaping prison Carl’s sons opened Fabergé & Cie in Paris in 1924 which operated until 2001. The company has switched hands many times over the years. Headquarters are now in London.