To be able to pay for these extremely expensive eggs you had to be pretty rich though, and one of the families who could afford this was the Kelch family. Starting in 1898, Alexander Kelch gave his wife, Varvara, Fabergé eggs as Easter presents during seven years. These eggs were modeled on the Imperial series, and since Varvara was the one with money in that marriage, she was in the end no doubt the one paying for these "gifts" herself...
So, now to the first of the Kelch-eggs: the "Hen Egg", from 1898!
This egg is covered in strawberry red enamel, over a guilloché ground. It opens horizontally, with a diamond-set border encircling the whole egg. The opener is a table diamond, covering the year "1898".
The interior is enameled white, with a hinged matted enamel "yolk", lined with suede. When the yolk opens up it reveals gold, diamond-eyed hen enameled in translucent shades of orange, yellow, red, and brown. The feathers have white highlights, and the legs are naturalistically chased. At the tail of the hen sits even one more hinge, and when lifted it reveals a gold easel set with rose-cut diamonds - which legs and diamond and ruby-set crest can be folded in towards the back, to fit in the little hen. From the beginning the frame held a miniature of Varvara Kelch, but now this has been exchanged to a portrait of the Tsarevich Alexei wearing the uniform of the Fourth Rifle Battalion of Guards.
The Kelch "Hen Egg" can now be found in the Viktor Vekselberg Collection in Moscow.