This massive torque or diadem was found in the grave of a powerful woman, consisting of 40 individual parts. The two spheres at the ring terminals are held in the paws of lions. The two small winged horses are reminiscent of Pegasus from Greek mythology and bear witness to increased contact with the Mediterranean world.
The area around the village of Vix, in North east Burgundy is the site of an important prehistoric complex from the Celtic late Hallstatt period.(500 B.), the beginning of the Iron Age. Overlooking this tiny village (200 inhabitants) are traces of an important fortified settlement of an aristocratic, elitist society influenced by Greek and Etruscan culture.
In 1953 the treasure of the of "the Lady of Vix was discovered, the site dating back to circa 500 BC. The site had never been looted and contained remarkably rich grave offerings, including important jewelry and the magnificent bronze Vix Krater the largest known metal vessel from antiquity. The wealth of this Celtic tribe was derived from farming (with the iron plough) from collecting tolls at the point on the Seine where the river became navigable for transport.They also exchanged tin and copper, salt, furs, and Baltic amber for luxury goods-- fine bronze objects, Greek ceramics, and coral. The cargos were shipped via the Rhone River, south to Massilia (Marseilles) , to finally reach other Mediterranean ports.
The spectacular jewels buried with the :"Lady of Vix," mark her social position. For these Celts gold was a symbol of power. The gold of the Lady (or Princess, or Priestess) of Vix was meant to show those dwelling in the Otherworld that she was important and therefore deserved special treatment. For this reason one could easily speculate that she was a princess or druidess who would display her power to the gods of the Afterlife. The great cauldron, in this case the krater, was the symbol of immortality and abundance to the ancient Celts. There are no records that indicate if druid burials included ornaments of any sort in their burial chambers or even if they were buried at all. However, since they held the highest places in society, it is likely that their burials were elaborate. Although there are few early references to druids in early history, one of the first known mention was in the works of Aristotle, the teacher of Alexander the Great.
In 1917 Carl Faberge had already fashioned the Birch Egg for the Dowager queen, Tsarina maria and was fashioning a beautiful Tsarevich Alexei Constellation egg that was supposed to represent the sky at the time of the birth of Prince Alexei ( the Tsarevich) Tsarina's Alexandra's favorite but ailing son. This was never completed.
Only recently were pictures and models were found during a Russian exhibition.
The turn of events leading to the bloody revolution meant that the eggs were never delivered and in the case of the latter not completed. Carl Fabergé escaped from Russia and settled in Switzerland only to die in 1920.
While the legacy of Carl Fabergé continues by the House of Faberge his genius has been laid to rest.
The 1917 Birch Egg
This Egg was purchased by the privately owned Russian National Museum (a group of Russian collectors) and had not been exhibited on its native soil since 1927. The Museum purchased the Egg after it emerged from nearly 85 years of obscurity in 2001. Alexander Ivanov, the director of the Museum, declined to name the Egg's previous owner, who he said lives in London and is descended from a family of Russian emigres, saying only that the Egg cost the museum "millions of dollars". The Egg came with the key, the case and two documents, the authentic calculation of the firm Fabergé dated April 25, 1917.
The Constellation Egg is one of two Easter eggs designed under the supervision of Peter Carl Fabergé in 1917, for the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II. It was the last Fabergé egg designed. It remains unfinished.
Due to the Russian Revolution of 1917, the egg was never finished or presented to Tsar Nicholas' wife, the Tsaritsa Alexandra Feodorovna.
The egg, as it is known from 1917 document, was made of blue glass with a crystal base, and the Leo sign of the zodiac is engraved on the glass. (The heir to the Russian throne, Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia, was a Leo). There are stars that are marked by diamonds, and there is a clock mechanism inside the egg.