In November 1894, Emperor Nicholas II, who had ascended to the throne a little earlier, married Grand Princess Alexandra Fyodorovna, born Princess Alix of Hessen Darmstadt. Her engagement gift from Alexander III and Maria Fyodorovna was a splendid pearl necklace worth 165,500 rubles. In 1895, the young Empress received the first exquisite Easter gift from her august spouse, a golden egg in the Louis XIV style, coated with red transparent enamel on a guilloche background, that is now in the collection of the Fund 'The Link of Times'. Since that time, every Easter Nicholas II gave Alexandra Fyodorovna an egg made by the House of Fabergé. During the period of 20 years, she received 20 Easter eggs. The theme of love, as expressed by the last Russian monarch for his spouse, found embodiment in some of them. Using the refined and capricious language of jewellery art, these silent tokens can tell as much about the nature and relations of Nicholas II and Alexandra Fyodorovna as their letters and memoirs. Throughout their lives, they gave each other gifts with touching notes, encrypted messages and relative symbols.

One of such love tokens was the clock egg, crafted in the workshop of M. Perkhin in the last year of the 19th century. The golden diamond-studded hand of the clock looks like Cupid’s arrow shot from a bow. This Easter egg was designed to express the symbolic language of flowers. The egg was decorated with sumptuous agate lilies, which seem to grow right out of the wreath of multicoloured golden roses. The combination of roses (a symbol of love) with lilies, which signify purity and innocence, along with the burning torches of Cupid, whose fire turns into lavish plant shoots, is a testimonial to the virtuous flame of family love and the eternal blossoming of unquenchable feelings. The white enamel dial of the clock with diamond digits revolved horizontally, and Cupid’s immovably fixed arrow pointed the time.  Everything passes, as time passes, but love remains – that is the general idea of this Easter masterpiece.

The egg was created in 1899. This was the time when the modern style of art had reached the height of its popularity in jewellery, as exemplified by its triumph at the World Fair held in Paris in 1900. The source of inspiration for the Easter egg was the type of French clocks prevalent at the end of the 18th century, in the form of a vase, which was reproduced and refined, albeit in a rather dry manner, at the turn of the 20th century. The proportions and size were also modified: a large clock turned into a miniature jewel, a precious souvenir reminiscent of the long last poetry of the refined 18th century. The upper part of the Fabergé piece - a fabulous bouquet of lilies with diamondstamens and stems of the green gold, crowning the clock egg – is considerably enlarged and is an artistic dominant of this fragile construction, which is a synthesis of gem-carving, jewellery and enamel art forms. The skill of Russian stone-carvers astonishes – they managed to depict the tender semi-open buds and fully open flowers with bending semi-transparent petals. Equally superb is the yellow transparent enamel golden 'shell' covering, with its solar shading that spilt over into the carved guilloche surface. And, after all, the coloured gold, used in chased and plated patterns, completes this exquisite Easter gift.