The Faberge family originated in France, but the Protestant family fled after the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685. Eventually, some family members settled in Russia. Peter Carl Faberge was born in 1846. His education and goldsmith apprenticeship were in Germany. After establishing himself independently in 1866, Carl continued to refine his skills. By age 24, Faberge had inherited his father's jewelry workshop in St. Petersburg, Russia. For ten years as head of the business, Carl continued to produce goods similar to other jewelry makers. He also volunteered his time to the Hermitage, a treasury which stored all of the precious objects of the Russian czars, including gold artifacts and ancient treasures. All of these pieces Carl helped catalog, appraise and repair. He reorganized the business with the help of his able brother Agathon and forever changed the face of jewelry and art.In 1882 Carl's younger brother Agathon, a trained jeweler full of ideas, appeared on the scene. The two made copies ancient Russian treasures and sold them. Eric Kollin, a Finnish craftsman, helped the Faberge brothers make a number of pieces which they decided to feature at a fair in Moscow. Czar, Alexander III, and his wife, Czarina Maria were in attendance and made a purchase at the Faberge exhibit. There, Carl Faberge was presented with a gold medal honoring him as "...having opened a new era in jewelry art".Until that time, many felt the value of jewelry was intrinsic, based upon the precious metals and stones. Faberge felt that the artistic creativity and fine craftsmanship of jewelry made it art that transcended bullion value.
Goldsmithing became Carl Faberge's primary interest, and he hired Michael Perchin, a Russian goldsmith to assist him in his experiments with gold and enamel. Through careful examination of works of art, the two learned and attempted to replicate techniques of earlier artisans. Their efforts were so even the czar could not distinguish between the original piece and Faberge's copy of a snuff successful that box in his own collection. Soon after, Faberge became the Supplier to the Imperial Court.