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”.
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.
Philip Birkenstein M. Inst.M., Dip. M.