I remember these 22kt Gold Eggs. In 1983, when I was 20, I had a summer job while I was at college. I worked with George Lukes in London, England. George was regarded as the best hand engraver in Britain. He was the hand engraver of choice for the top Bond Street Jewellers; Garrards, Aspreys, Cartier, Tiffany and Mappin & Webbs.
My task was to transfer the drawings and scribe them onto the gold for all thirteen eggs. I had to be very exact with this as George hand engraved the designs over my guidelines. The eggs were then enameled to create the colorful look that they have now.
THE GIANT. A 22CT GOLD AND TRANSLUCENT ENAMEL CONUNDRUM EGG FOR CADBURY'S designed by Alex Styles, 8cm h, by Garrard & Co Ltd, London 1983, cased, 252g
Exhibited: Goldsmiths' Hall London, Alex Styles Retrospective Exhibition, 1988.
The 1984 Treasure Hunt for which Cadbury's commissioned twelve 22ct gold and enamel eggs from Garrard & Co, each with a declared retail value of �10,000, was launched in January of that year to promote its Easter Egg range.
The promotion saw sales of the Cadbury Creme Egg (cost 14p) increase to a near monopoly market share of 94% as eager treasure hunters pored over the accompanying book by Don Shaw (with illustrations by Nick Price) and attempt to solve the twelve riddles as to the whereabouts of the twelve buried caskets each of which contained a scroll that entitled the finder to one of the golden eggs.
The Conundrum was based on the 1979 book Masquerade, central to which author and illustrator Kit Williams buried a jeweled gold hare. There were unintended consequences of both competitions as gold fevered prospectors armed with trowels roamed private land and historic sites throughout Britain. One Conundrum casket was located in a cemetery on the Isle of Man. Cadbury's decided to call off the competition in the face of complaints, risking the ire of frustrated treasure hunters, with several eggs yet to be won. It is rumored a number were eventually destroyed.
One was offered at auction at Bonham's, 28 November 2012 and the 'secret' thirteenth and heavier egg (326.6g), intended as the prize for a Cadbury retailer, was sold Batemans, Lincolnshire, 1 July 2017 (�17,200 hammer price).
The engraved egg was part of the Creme Egg Mystery Conundrum, a promotional treasure hunt by Cadbury's to find 12 eggs in 1983.
Seller, Clive Pinder from Dorset, found the egg 35 years ago at Cricket St Thomas, Somerset. He said: "It was astonishment that we had succeeded."
Mr. Pinder, from Wareham, said he had spent hours searching for the egg after solving the clues from the book and found it under a farm sign.
He said: "By chance, I saw a sign by the side of the road and this sign incorporated several of the clues in the picture in the book. I dug down about 12 inches and felt something really hard." He unearthed a casket containing a gold egg decorated with a cuckoo.
The eggs were designed and made by Garrard & Co, then the Queen's official jeweler, and were estimated to be worth £10,000 at the time. A "secret" 13th that is larger than the rest sold at auction in Lincolnshire in 2017 for £17,200.
This 13th, 22ct gold, enamel engraved Cadbury's egg was part of the Creme Egg Mystery Conundrum hunt in 1983 and held vital clues for treasure seekers.
It weighs 326.6 grams (11.5 oz) and was designed by the Queen's official jeweller at the time - Garrard & Co.
A guide to the Conundrum Puzzle Stories.
One of the 22kt Gold Cadbury Eggs was recently auctioned for $25,000 USD. Here is a link to the BBC News Story.
There were 13 of these eggs, the largest one was made from 327 grams (11.5 oz) of 22kt solid gold worth around $9000.
A golden ticket to claim an eggs was buried in twelve locations Britain. A national treasure hunt took hold of the nation, with clues found in the book called Conundrum.
The treasure hunt had to be called off as thousands of people were digging where they thought the clues led. Read more about the chaos here.
The 13th egg was engraved with a design encompassing 12 riddles that referred to the locations of the originals. This was the prize in a draw held for all of the Cadbury retailers in the UK.
This was one of the most successful promotions in British history. Here is a link to purchase the original Conundrum book.