The Renaissance Egg was presented to Tsarina Maria Feodorovna at Easter 1894 and it would be the last egg she would receive from her husband, Alexander III, before his death of kidney disease in October that same year.
The egg was made by Michel Perchin in St. Petersburg, probably to the specifications laid out by Carl Fabergé himself. The egg-shaped casket is carved from translucent bluish-gray agate raised on an oval gold foot. The egg has a hinged cover with white-enameled latticework set with diamond and ruby flowerheads at the intersections, and the red enamel oval at the top has the date of 1894 set in diamonds. The lower border of the top half is edged with scallop shells enamelled in red between white enamel scrolls set with diamonds.
The lower half has a red enamel border with rows of blue scallop shells and a fringe of berried green leaves along the bottom. Each end of the casket features a gold lion mask and loose ring handle, with diamond-set clasp.
The surprise inside the egg has long been lost, however a theory by Christopher Forbes, vice chairman of the Forbes Publishing company, suggests the surprise was actually another egg known as the Resurrection Egg. The Resurrection Egg, depicting Jesus rising from his tomb, was originally thought to have been a separate Fabergé egg, however it has no separate inventory number. The dimensions of the Resurrection Egg also make it a perfect fit for the interior of the Renaissance Egg.
The Renaissance Egg was confiscated during the 1917 revolution and was bought, along with nine other eggs, by the American millionaire, Armand Hammer. Hammer subsequently sold the egg in 1937 and after passing through the hands of several different owners, the egg became part of the Forbes Collection, The eggs belonging to the Forbes Collection were bought by Russian tycoon, Viktor Vekselberg, for almost $100 million and they were taken back to Russia. Viktor Vekselberg also owns the Resurrection Egg.