That was the dilemma of Tsar Alexander III. Here is the king
Oddly, he does look a bit like he is pondering the question. The Empress was actually Danish
Of course! A Faberge egg! In fact, the Tsar had gone this route before.
(He gifted( the Danish Palaces Egg … to Maria Feodorovna on Easter, 1890. The surprise inside was a ten-panel folding screen with miniatures of the Tsarina’s favorite Danish and Russian palaces.
The Danish theme was a nice touch. And in 1892, the Tsar returned to it in his second Faberge Egg gift
… the Diamond Trellis Egg held an elephant surprise that was a virtually identical replica of the badge of the Order of the Elephant, Denmark’s highest chivalric order. The only differences are the materials — Fabergé used ivory instead of white enamel — and the automaton mechanism.
Here is the Diamond Trellis Egg
And here is the surprise
Things get a bit dicey after the gift. Alexander died two years later in 1894. BTW, he was the father of Nicholas II, who then became tsar — the last one.Then came the revolution.
The Diamond Trellis Egg and its elephant were confiscated from the Anichkov Palace in St. Petersburg, Maria Feodorovna’s home base, by the Bolsheviks in 1917. It was sold in 1930 by the Antikvariat, the agency tasked with selling off Russia’s cultural patrimony to raise money for the Soviet government, probably to Emanuel Wartski, although there are no records of the sale.
At some point in the saga the three parts of the egg, the base (now lost), the elephant and the egg got separated. In 1935 King George V bought the little elephant without knowing it was part of an Imperial Egg or even that it was made by Fabergé. It has been in the Royal Collection ever since, on display in one of the state rooms for decades.