Thursday's Google Doodle celebrates the 166th anniversary of Peter…
Eggs are the centerpiece of Thursday morning's Google Doodle, although these are of the jewel-encrusted variety once served to 18th century Russian rulers.
The doodle celebrates the 166th anniversary of the birth of Peter Carl Fabergé, the master goldsmith and jeweler who founded the House of Fabergé.
The search engine's logo is (half) covered beneath ornate shells, noting Fabergé's signature surprise inside, enjoyed by czars and aristocrats.
Fabergé, the son of a goldsmith, was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1864. After an art education that took him across Europe, in his mid-20s Fabergé took over the family business alongside his younger brother.
A series of awards -- and a stock of precious jewels -- caught the eye of Russia’s Imperial Court and Fabergé become the official jeweler in the late 1880s, with Alexander II and Nicholas II among its clientele.
Fabergé was given a great deal of freedom with his aristocratic designs: The story goes that even the czar wouldn't know the egg's motif, just that it would open up to a royal surprise -- a ship, miniature photo album or a resurrection reenactment.
Though Fabergé designed the eggs, it's believed that he didn't actually craft them -- that task was reserved for his expert staff, who might have been on the verge of cracking. A site dedicated to Russian history claims that if a creation, egg or otherwise, didn't meet his high standards, Fabergé would take a hammer to it.
The House of Fabergé made thousands of eggs and other decorative art from 1885 to 1917.
With the Russian Revolution, luxury lost its value and House of Fabergé was nationalized and lost in 1918.