J.Grahl Design, Faberge Inspired Jeweled Egg

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It takes a village… or in this case, as in all the Eggs , a team.
For this one, each has been given their due in the text, but there is always a star, and Chris Eric is certainly of that quality.
I sketch, make parts, and love the details.
And I have a pretty significant background in engineering, however.
Chris and I together become as one, our talents and thoughts harmonizing in a way rarely experienced. Above that is his superior knowledge in gear cutting, exploratory mechanisms and tolerance for filling in the gaps from my designs.
My greatest thanks to him.

The following are out-takes of the mechanism, shifting between both Chris’s and my shop.
Poor old Polaroids, but at least a record.

Starting the rack and pinion to raise the flower vase


A sense of the scope of the parts, these are the gears that run off the “Sun” gear and open the picture frames.

This shot shows the rack and pinion to raise the vase and the sun gear to open the picture frames.

This is the cage structure that stabilizes the moving parts.

Here we have the top plate with the cantilever hinges (18K) installed along with the engraving of family names and birthdates. The nose of the rack is peeking through.

The posts are , when cut to size, raise the arms of the cantilever hinges, opening the leaves of the top of the egg.

Here are four views of the primary mechanism at it’s working state.
This is addressing the rotating out of the picture frames and showing the location of the rack and pinion gears to raise the vase and simultaneously, the outer leaves of the egg.

The egg bottom containing the mechanism is test fitted to the black Jade base.

The fitting process took about 3 months, here are a couple views while testing.
This whole project was finished in exactly a year, it would be the last of it’s kind to be done in that short a time frame.

Thank you for having the patience to look through this,
In 30 + years , you-all are the only ones to see this material. At the bequest of the owner, I was not allowed to share this until their passing, even with the team.
My best to you,
Dream big…
make small,

An interesting set of photos Jim, I wish I had taken a lot more photos when making my eggs in the past, Luckily I was able to photograph each finished egg so I do have a record of my creations, but I would love to have progression photos of the pieces. All I have to shown a slight progression is this old video made by CBC as an education video way back in 1982 when i was employed at a goldsmiths who made eggs for Asprey. This is the video on Youtube;- YouTube

It’s good to see the work of another egg maker though Jim,

Regards Jim
James Miller FIPG

Hi James,
Tried the link, I couldn’t find your piece, but there were some really interesting links associated with it.
Maybe it takes a different url from GB.
You might check with Seth, he may have way to grab the vid & post it on the site.

Hi Jim,
The video was posted by Peter Bond on YouTube and the film by CBC is called Hand and Eye,
This was the last egg I designed and made, it was a commission from Kutchinsky in London shortly after they had made their Argle Library egg.

Try this link Jim for the youtube video and see if it works;


Wow. . . just. . . .wow! I can only hope to achieve this level of craftsmanship one day. (Both Jim and James). It’s sad how truly rare this level of expertise is these days. Even if I wanted to, I’m not sure if I could find the right group to create something like this. It’s sad that so many people bemoan the lack of handwork/handmade high-quality items these days, but given the opportunity, they’ll still take whatever mass-produced, undercut to the point of structural issues, poor stone-set, pieces offered by many of the “mall jewelry store” types.

Truly exceptional work. You two are an inspiration! Thanks for sharing the pictures. (Incidentally James, I picked up your book about a month ago from Amazon. I loved reading about your journey to become such a well-heeled goldsmith. Your work is spectacular!)

All the best,

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Hello Jim, This is one hell of a piece of work. You should be very proud. All goldsmiths should feel good just looking at it. Have fun, tom

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