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Sanctioned Russian Tycoon Transforms Palace Into a Faberge Mecca

  • Viktor Vekselberg spent $100 million to acquire the collection
  • Almost 700,000 people visited his private museum last year

When Arnold Schwarzenegger visited Russia in 2010, Viktor Vekselberg showed the California governor his famous Faberge collection on display at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow.

Three years later, the billionaire found a permanent home for the items at Shuvalov Palace in St. Petersburg -- the city of Carl Faberge’s birth -- spending $40 million to renovate the neoclassical building on the Fontanka River. Today, the Faberge Museum includes more than 1,000 pieces, making it the world’s biggest collection of works by the legendary jeweler best known for his imperial Easter eggs.