A million dollars for an egg? But of course, not all eggs come from chickens. Malcolm Forbes recently paid $1 million for an “egg” by Faberge at a sale of Russian art at Sotheby’s in New York City. The cliche has it that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but why then are the jewels attractive to men?

It was Czar Nicholas, the last Romanov, who set the standard for quality jewels among the elite and the aristocracy, a standard aspired to by members of the House of Windsor, as well as by Americans like Mr. Forbes. Easter eggs, a holiday excitement for children today, acquired a rare status in Imperial Russia. Created and crafted by Faberge, an astute jewelry designer, Russian Easter eggs deserve to be seen. If it is at all possible, the connoisseur must touch these works as well, to recognize the feel of an art object that is exquisite to both the eyes and the hands. Mr. Forbes currently holds 11 of the Imperial Russian Easter eggs; the Kremlin has only 10. Encouraged by his success in acquiring these treasures, Mr. Forbes reportedly whispered after his latest acquisition, “Eggs come by the dozen.”

Not too long ago, A. Kenneth Snowman curated an exhibition of Faberge creations entitled “From the Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Other British Lenders.” Most of the works on display were those of royalty, including the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth, and the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles. Mr. Snowman has also prepared an illustrated catalog, Faberge: Jeweler to Royalty, highlighting the Windsor collection. Although there are many books on Faberge, and some of his work is on display in a few leading museums, the Windsors cherish their private art collections rather zealously. As such, the Snowman exhibition and catalog shed more light on the collecting instincts of the Windsors. In fact, the British Royal Collection of Faberge went on view for the first time in the United States. This exhibition was shown at New York’s Cooper-Hewitt Museum. During the American Bicentennial, the Cooper-Hewitt became the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Design.

The Snowman catalog surveys some of the finest of the over 200 rare and unusual works from the Faberge workshops that were on loan from the Royal Collection. Included in the Windsor loan were selected works from other distinguished British collections, such as those of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, the Duchess of Westminster, and other lenders. The works of art in this catalog reveal the imaginative genius of Faberge and the unmatched skills of the hardstone carvers, enamelers, and goldsmiths who fashioned these intricate, invariably delightful objects, admired and collected throughout the world.

The catalog illustrations reveal delicately carved animals; flower studies in gold, enamel, and rock crystal; tabletop accessories ranging from letter openers to miniature picture frames and several of the famous eggs originally exchanged among members of the Russian royal family at Easter. Mr. Snowman also includes an extensive group of miniature animals that form part of the Queen’s Collection at Sandringham—animated and lifelike portraits of favorite dogs (including Queen Alexandra’s pet Pekingese) and horses, seals, kangaroos, ducks, cats, and frogs.