Arts Film London Review

Review: Fabergé – A Life Of Its Own dir. Patrick Mark

Fabergé_s “Winter Egg” of 1913

In the second film in a week we’re covering about Russian art, we’re once again transported back in time to St Petersburg. This time around though, we’re focusing on the glory days of the imperial family, when jeweler Carl Fabergé created some of the most iconic, intricate pieces of art, still revered for their craftsmanship and value even today.


Patrick Mark’s documentary examines the impact of Fabergé’s work over the last century, teasing out the man’s love for art and beauty over pure commercialism alone, and traces his life and art through his work and interviews with Fabergé specialists and even his own descendants. Taking us through the process of creating the Fabergé classic, the unendingly marvelous bejeweled Easter eggs, each one containing marvels greater than its shell, it’s no wonder Fabergés were loved amongst the royalty, the then King of Siam (now Thailand) a well known collector. One particular marvelous egg contains a mechanical peacock that moves and spreads its wings ever so slightly, the perfect marriage of engineering, luxury and art in a single masterful product.


What makes Fabergé such a great watch is its attention to detail, recounting some of the more interesting stories behind certain works, from their histories as love trinkets to finding out where they are now, and how they came to get there. It’s a film that’s as lovingly and delicately handled as a Fabergé product itself.

Screen shot 2014-03-15 at 16.30.07

It’s a shame then that following the Bolshevik takeover of Russia, the Fabergé factory since fell into disuse, his works a symbol of the imperial history of Russia, of course, shunned by the communists. In the 80s, since falling into decline, massive commercialisation took over the brand when companies began stealing the family name to use for perfumes and scents.


There’s some hope yet for the Fabergé name though – towards the end of the documentary, we see a renewed interest generated via Hollywood’s doing, from films such as Bond film Octopussy to Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s 12. Fabergé has since seen a resurgence, and with so many enthusiasts hoping to restore the glory of the name, it might yet see a revival. New innovations have allowed similar types of products to be created, with some jewelers even finding unfinished works and attempting to complete them, especially now that the brand name has been reacquired and properly applied to quality jewelry once again.


Fabergé is a gorgeous, eye catching film for the magpie viewers out there with a thing for shiny objects. It firmly establishes Fabergé’s work as one of the closest things to human perfection and makes a strong case as to why we should still care about such luxurious products, and why they remain an endless source of wonder and beauty. Celebrating Fabergé’s work, there’s a definite glimmer of life in every piece, and Mark’s film brings it out perfectly and lovingly.


Fabergé – A Life Of Its Own will be released On Demand, DVD & Blu-ray from 10th April

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