French customs agents have uncovered a nest of 354 bejeweled eggs — and declared them counterfeit copies of the famed Faberge collection.
Customs officials say agents seized the eggs, coming from Russia, on Nov. 15 after suspecting they may be fake — despite a stamp on the boxes showing a two-headed eagle, the symbol of the imperial crown of Russia for which the original Faberge eggs were made in the 1800s.
Faberge confirmed that the eggs were not the real thing.
On Tuesday, customs officials at Charles de Gaulle Airport displayed the beautiful but fake treasure trove for reporters. The officials said the eggs were brought to France for sale at Paris' Christmas markets, particularly the crowd-drawing market on the famed Champs-Elysees.
It was not immediately clear who had shipped the eggs to France.
A St. Petersburg company makes replicas of Faberge eggs and other jewelry that sell for $25 to $100 at popular tourist markets in Moscow. The eggs, studded with glass gems, come packaged in jewelry boxes stamped with the two-headed eagle.