From Christmas onwards, chocolate Easter eggs start surreptitiously appearing in our shops, tempting those of us with little will power to begin an indulgence that culminates with the chocolate fest that is Easter. But have you ever wondered why we use eggs to celebrate this regular holiday and how you can indulge without adding to your waistline?
A symbol of rebirth
The custom of exchanging Easter eggs – a symbol of rebirth – goes back thousands of years. Ancient cultures including the Egyptians, the Persians, the Chinese and the Romans all used the egg as a central part of their springtime celebrations.
The origin of the Easter egg hunt
Then, during the Middle Ages, the Easter egg very nearly became extinct. The Church, in its drive to replace pagan objects with its own message of resurrection and rebirth, forced the custom underground. It is believed the modern Easter egg hunt is based on people hiding their eggs from the priests.
However, as Christianity spread, the eggs were gradually assimilated into memorial celebrations of the holy day that became Easter. These Easter eggs were often coloured red and had a cross on to symbolise the blood of Christ and his resurrection.
The custom of painting eggs and hiding them for the children to find is one that continues widely today; as is the tradition of giving chocolate eggs.
And whilst the saying ‘A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips’ may still be true for today’s tradition of chocolate eggs, jewellery eggs are a tried and tested way to get into the spirit of the season without damaging your figure.
Probably the most famous of jewelled eggs are those from the master craftsman Peter Carl Fabergé . In 1885, he was commissioned to create the first Imperial egg by Emperor Alexander III as an Easter gift for his wife, Empress Maria Feodorovna. Designed initially to contain a diamond ring, the finished version included a costly ruby pendant at the request of the Tsar Such was the success of the original, a second was commissioned the following year; a tradition that was continued by the family until 1917 when they fell from power and subsequently met their deaths.
In total, between 1885 and 1916, 50 eggs were commissioned, each containing an exquisite ‘surprise’. It is said that such was the Imperial family’s trust in Fabergé, they left the designs completely up to him.
In the spirit of Fabergé
Today’s jewellery eggs may be more modest in design, and cost, but many still look to the days of Fabergé for their inspiration.
Our own ‘Imperial’ style Easter egg takes its influence from the blue enamelled shell of the original eggs, with marcasite decoration echoing the embellishment of diamonds. Hung on a Sterling Silver box chain, this delicate piece is just £50.00
Our crystal and silver suite, reminiscent of the diamonds of days gone by, comprise earrings and a pendant and use traditional pavé setting to offset the intricate crystal and open design. The pendant is £45.00 and the earrings £40.00.
All can be found at Silver 54 at 54 High Street, Ware Herts
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