DAY 7 - FENCING & FABERGÉ
AT SEA- ENROUTE TO HERAKLION, GREECE
102 days, 31 ports, 18 countries.
Queen Mary 2 World Centenary Voyage
Ellen Frazer-Jameson reporting from The World Centenal Voyage - Queen Mary 2
Position and sea state / 18 January 2023
Queen Mary 2 (18 January) current location is at East Mediterranean (coordinates 36.30288 N / 15.47615 E) cruising at speed of 14.6 kn (27 kph/ 17 mph) en route to HERAKLION.
SEA STATE: 2.5 metres / 8.2 feet
"Time flies when you’re having fun and nowhere
does it fly by more quickly than on board QM2."
Tuesday 17th January 2023
Current position N36degrees 45 E013 degrees28
Sailed 1,214 miles from, Lisbon
600 miles to Haraklion, Greece
Passing by the coast of Tunisia off the ‘toe’ of Italy’s boot.
FENCING & FABERGE
Foil fencing is one of the most popular activities on board. All three Cunard ships offer
passengers the opportunity to try their hand at the sport. The Assistant Entertainment
Director on QM2 , Declan, is a qualified instructer in the ancient art. For safety reasons
a class of twelve is the maximum and there is often a waiting list to join.
Lined up in the Queens Room eager would -be-fencers collect their protective gear of a back to front tied white over-jacket and a full face and head mask. All classes are conducted to the highest safety standards as set by the British Fencing Association.
Foils are handed out. Then the students are split into two groups, facing each other. The long silver foils have a rubber tip and the instruction is given to keep them planted in the ground unless involved in a duel. When ready to engage in a fencing battle, the instruction becomes to point the foil direct at your partner’s chest.
Declan puzzles how one lady in a previous class managed to point the foil at her husband’s bottom causing minor damage. She claimed it was an accident, her husband wasn’t so sure.
When the order to engage is given, sabres are held up to the lips and a warning en guarde is Issued to the opponent. Battle begins and fencers eagerly lunge, parry and recover. At the beginner’s class there is a lot of laughing, and ducking and diving away from the weapon without attacking. Declan shouts out instructions, “Foils need to come together like two knitting needles, engage your partner, don’t run away. You’re all doing great, you’ll live to fight another day.”
Onward and upwards to a Faberge presentation and the promise of a glass of champagne. Philip, CEO of Faberge, travels the world with the Faberge Collection in the name of Theo Fabergé, the late grandson of Carl Faberge. The headquarters of one of the most famous international jewellery companies is in London, but here onboard QM2 passengers are able to view pieces including eggs, clocks, watches and exclusive jewellery.
A lecture by the CEO allows passengers to hear the stories of Faberge eggs. The British Royal family have more than 1,000 pieces of Faberge and King Charles reportedly just bought an Imperial Egg. The Thai Royal family also have a collection of some 800 pieces. Only an egg which can be authenticated as a gift from the Russian Tsar to Her Royal Highness, the Tsarina, at Easter can claim the Imperial title.
As far as is known, there are 50 eggs in collections of private individuals and museums all over the world, but six are still missing.
One lucky person found a genuine Imperial egg at a craft fair some years ago. An American scrap dealer bought the golden egg for a few thousand dollars, having no idea what it was worth. After authentication, he sold it for $33 million (20 million pounds).
The story goes that at his modest home in mid America, the golden egg was laid on a kitchen counter wrapped in a tea towel and surrounded by cupcakes.
Onboard QM2 the Faberge store have launched a diamond pendant commemorating the joint centenaries of Fabergé and QM2. Happy 100 years to you both.
ABOUT PHILIP BIRKENSTEIN
Philip Birkenstein is still the Managing Director of the original British businesses today. However, his fascination for Fabergé remains and he continues to give his talks throughout the world, whenever business commitments allow.British businessman and entrepreneur Philip Birkenstein, Chairman of the St Petersburg Collection, read an article regarding Theo Fabergé in an in-flight magazine entitled ‘Fabergé Back in Business’, some 30 years ago. This article was the commencement of a journey that was to take Philip through the Fabergé archives and a completely diverse form of business for him.
For many years a collector of fine decorative antiques, Philip’s first visit to Theo Fabergé’s studio left him for once in his lifetime speechless. He saw the most complicated creations which Theo had already supplied to collectors, and was fascinated with the creativity of this unassuming gentleman with a world-acknowledged name. Philip and Theo became close friends, and it was during a later meeting that the concept of Theo Fabergé producing objets d’art and jewellery for a worldwide market was discussed. A year later the St Petersburg Collection was formed, a unique combination of the design and production skills of Theo Fabergé and the marketing skills of Philip Birkenstein.
One of the areas where he found he had great interest was the research for a book regarding the Fabergé history. For the first time, the Fabergé family archives were used to bring together information for a book to go on general release ‘Theo Fabergé and the St Petersburg Collection’ now in its third edition. Philip’s increasing depth of knowledge of the Fabergé family, and his enthusiasm for the subject attracted invitations from various groups throughout the world for him to give talks, the subject being the Fabergé family.
Now twenty-nine years have passed since the foundation of St Petersburg Collection, Philip Birkenstein has talked to groups throughout North and South America, the Far East and Europe, spreading the word regarding the Fabergé family. His talks have taken him to diverse venues, from museums to schools and colleges, from exclusive VIP parties to blue chip corporate conferences. Many charities worldwide have benefited from partnerships with the St Petersburg Collection.
Television is an important part of both charitable work and informing viewers of the fabulous Fabergé stories. Philip Birkenstein has appeared on many TV shows including a six minute slot at prime time on national “Good Morning America”.
Some cameo shots from onboard QM2 / 17 January 2023
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Photo of the day (from the archives of JD Schwartz)
Further updates will be posted as soon as we get them from Ellen onboard Queen Mary 2.