A historian of jewellery is claiming that one of the Fabergé eggs in the Forbes Collection, purchased for an estimated $100 million last year by Russian oil magnate, Viktor Vekselberg, is a fake.
The egg in question, Spring Flowers, was already downgraded in the mid-1990s to a mere Fabergé egg. Previously it had been sold as an Imperial Easter Egg. The historian who came to that conclusion a decade ago was Valentin Skurlov, the same person who is now claiming that the egg is an outright forgery.
“I always thought this piece was poorly done”‚ said Mr Skurlov, who does consultancy work on Fabergé and Russian jewellery for Christie’s. “There are many inconsistencies with the Fabergé workshop marks on the piece and one which should be there is missing.”
A spokesperson for Mr Vekselberg insists that the object is genuine. Since purchasing the Forbes Collection, Russian media reported six months ago that the Vekselberg foundation had uncovered nine fakes, none of which were Easter Eggs.
Mr Skurlov said Spring Flowers has no provenance before 1961, when it first appeared on the market as an Imperial Easter Egg; a fact which in itself is very suspicious. He added that an Imperial Egg sells for $3 to $5 million, while a mere Fabergé Egg is priced at around $300,000. Mr Skurlov, who lives in St Petersburg, is co-author of several books on Fabergé with Tatyana Fabergé, a granddaughter of Carl Fabergé.