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    Hundreds of fake Faberge eggs go on display


    by ODN


    French customs officials have displayed some 354 imitation Faberge eggs, recently seized at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport.

    Authorities found the bejewelled eggs last month after suspecting they might be fake, despite a stamp on the boxes showing a two-headed eagle, the symbol of the imperial crown of Russia for which the original Faberge eggs were made in the 1800s.

    Michel Horn from Roissy Customs Services said: "We were very interested because they were declared as (Faberge) eggs and we wanted to see them. When we opened the boxes we realised that in fact they were counterfeit products because it was very easy to see that the value of them was very bad."

    Faberge have since confirmed that the eggs are not the real thing.

    Hidden in two parcels amongst other handicrafts coming from Russia, officials said the eggs were brought to France for sale at Paris' Christmas markets, particularly the crowd-drawing market on the famed Champs-Elysees.

    The famous ornamental eggs were made for Russia's imperial family in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Russian Czar Alexander III commissioned the first of the elaborate eggs from craftsman Peter Carl Faberge as an Easter gift for his wife Empress Maria Fedorovna.

    The empress was so enamoured of the 1885 piece, an enameled egg with a gold yolk, gold hen, miniature diamond crown and ruby egg inside that the Czar commissioned a new egg every Easter.

    After the Czar died in 1894, his son Nicholas continued the tradition until the Russian Revolution in 1917. Faberge created more than 50 eggs for Russia's imperial family of which 42 have survived.

    The counterfeit eggs will be destroyed by the customs.