Exclusive Interview: Faberge CEO, Sean Gilbertson
Tomer Ben, CEO & Founder of Solomon Mines with Nancy Spielberg
Why have you acquired Fabergé and how does the fact that Gemfields is a mining company contribute to the long-term growth of Fabergé?
Fabergé was acquired by Gemfields plc, the world’s leading supplier of responsibly-sourced coloured gemstones, in January 2013. Gemfields acquired Fabergé to further its ambition of creating a globally recognised leader in precious coloured gemstones. Fabergé provides Gemfields with direct control over a high-end luxury goods platform and a name with exceptional heritage. Fabergé works closely, but not exclusively, with Gemfields when sourcing exceptional precious coloured gemstones for its contemporary jewellery collections. Gemfields currently supplies responsibly-sourced Zambian emeralds, Zambian amethysts and Mozambican rubies from its world- class coloured gemstone mines.
Overt the years several companies used Fabergé's trademark to sell products such as barbie-dolls, sunglasses, ties and perfumes. This was not the vision of Peter Carl Fabergé over one hundred years ago and it does not correspond with the brand identity and philosophy. Which steps have you taken to correct this historical injustice and protect the brand?
One of the main aims of Fabergé today is to perpetuate the spirit and philosophy of Peter Carl Fabergé, restoring the authenticity and dignity of the name. When we acquired Fabergé in 2007, we initiated the process of shedding all of the former product licenses and reuniting the Fabergé name with the Fabergé family, which were effectively separated in a legal settlement back in 1951. This allowed us to re-launch with a clean slate and re-establish Fabergé’s reputation as the leading artist-jeweller. Today Fabergé takes inspiration from its storied past to create eternally original pieces that when worn, convey breathtaking individuality. By painting with the world’s finest coloured gemstones, Fabergé explores the art of colour through creations, which are designed to become future heirlooms. Celebrating the concept of the artis-jeweller ion today’s world of luxury, Fabergé traces the legacy of excellence in creativity, design and craftsmanship to introduce a new era of enchanting and enduring personal possessions and gifts for contemporary connoisseurs.
Can you describe how the great-granddaughters of Peter Carl Fabergé, Tatiana and Sarah Fabergé, are involved with the company?
This new chapter in the Fabergé story reunited the Fabergé name with the Fabergé family in 2007. Tatiana Fabergé and Sarah Fabergé, great-granddaughters of Peter Carl Fabergé, sit on the Fabergé Heritage Council which counsels the Fabergé team on many aspects of Fabergé’s history and heritage. Tatiana Fabergé is one of the world’s leading experts on Peter Carl Fabergé and she recently published one of the most important Fabergé reference works entitled ‘Fabergé: A Comprehensive Reference Book’. Providing vital insights into the ethos of Peter Carl Fabergé, Tatiana and Sarah are closely involved in maintaining the spirit, values and integrity that are pivotal to the brand today.
Today Fabergé fascinates people from all over the world as it did over a century ago. Why?
Simply put, Fabergé is all about history, heritage, legend and legacy. No other name conjures quite the same magic. Fabergé is revered as the pinnacle of the jeweller’s art, with connoisseurs indulging in the unique fusion of design and craftsmanship. The legend has been carried across the decades by movies such as James Bond’s Octopussy in 1983 and Ocean’s Twelve in 2004, ensuring that Fabergé continues to reach and surprise a wide audience. The manifold exhibitions of Fabergé’s work, taking place internationally at any one time, also undoubtedly play a key role. And then of course, the eye- popping auctions of Fabergé items at Bonham’s, Christies and Sotheby’s highlight the value placed on his creations with, for example, in 2007, the Rothschild Fabergé Egg was auctioned at Christie's London for £8.98 million. This was a record price paid for a piece of Fabergé as well as the highest price ever paid for a Russian object and the most expensive price for a timepiece. In 2014 the Rothschild Fabergé Egg was given to the Hermitage Museum in Russia by President Vladimir Putin in commemoration of the museum’s 250th anniversary.
What is Fabergé’s upcoming collection?
Our current collections focus on three key categories: jewellery, timepieces and objects d’art. The key collections, which we are currently expanding are: The Devotion Collection: The Devotion Collection offers both ornate and sleek designs, catering to both contemporary and classical tastes. It exemplifies ‘the art of colour’, seamlessly fusing extraordinary coloured gemstones, artistic ingenuity and exceptional craftsmanship. Creative fantasy is paired with technical perfection and a sumptuous colour palette. This collection celebrates special lifetime events, milestones and memorable moments with inspirational gemstone-set engagement, anniversary and celebratory rings. Fabergé’s vibrant gemstones are chosen for their exquisite colour, cut, clarity and character.
The Emotion Collection: Infused with intense colour, explores the intellectual and artistic richness of Fabergé’s world. These bold and daring jewels, pushing the boundaries of design and craftsmanship in true Fabergé spirit, illustrate the Fauvist view of colour as an emotional force and an expression of feeling. They comprise painterly abstract compositions of random pavé work in blocks of colour-rich precious and fine gemstones, with each ring featuring over 300 unique gems.
Timepieces Collection: The new Fabergé watches are contemporary creations that introduce unexpected materials and functions. The design of these simple or complex watches for men and women are based on one core quality: the unexpected. The timepieces represent a bold move in new directions, constantly adapting to the trends of the times, harnessing the power of technology and innovation to create wonderment. combinations of shapes, materials and functions. For the first timepieces of this new era, Fabergé called upon the skills of Agenhor, APRP, and Vaucher Manufacture. Respectively, they have produced the movement for the Lady Compliquée Haute Horlogerie collection, manufactured the calibre of the Visionnaire I men’s Haute Horlogerie model, and equipped all the models in the Lady Fabergé collection with self-winding movements.
What is your long-term vision for Fabergé?
Our vision is and has always been to restore this noble name to its rightful position at the pinnacle of luxury. We want Fabergé to be associated with the most innovative and ingenious contemporary jewellery and objects, hinting at the past in a most contemporary way, and always looking to the future in the true spirit of Peter Carl Fabergé himself. Fabergé is steadily growing and we now have boutiques in Geneva, London and New York, with another 20 retail partners in cities around the world. This expansion of the global footprint in key cities will continue as we seek to become the jeweller of choice for the world’s most discerning and elite clientele. We are providing the pleasure that only Fabergé can bring, to a new generation, creating jewels and objects that will be prized as the heirlooms of the future.