Here are some samples of the Fabergé at C&W Antiques (Photos: Southern Flair Photography)
Fabergé is the veritable holy grail of Giftware. Since the 18th century, when the French-born Fabergé family fled to Russia to avoid religious persecution and Peter Carl Fabergé began crafting exquisite ornamental accent pieces, the decór that bears his family name has been the stuff of kings and queens.
Now, thanks to the collective keen eye and persistent nature of two local art aficionados and collectors, Faberge is also the stuff of Arlington-area residents. And they can own a piece of history for prices from $95 to $22,000.
Jim Carpenter and Patrick Walsh, who have collected art and antiques for 18 years, opened C&W Antiques eight years ago and methodically acquired sought-after works of art and collectibles, the likes of which this area had never seen before. In their showroom at 2100 N. Highway 360, Suites 705 and 706 in Grand Prairie, Walsh and Carpenter routinely present visitors with a sensual feast. Those customers not only can have access to the array of glittering items resting on tables, they can purchase the tables themselves. It’s the ultimate toy store for adults with good taste and a desire to have or give the best.
Which brings us back to where we started: Fabergé. C&W, indeed, carries an extensive line of authentic Fabergé, but the photos complementing this article tell just part of the story. The fact is: C&W Antiques is the largest collector/dealer of Fabergé products in the state of Texas. “I don’t know just where we stand nationally,” says Carpenter, “but I’m fairly certain we’re one of the biggest in the country, as well.”
Carpenter and Walsh came about their collection as art dealers often do: They walked the aisles of gift markets and traveled the world to find not only what they liked, but what they believed customers would like – and purchase. One such trip to the World Trade Center led them to meet John Walker, one of the collection realm’s foremost figures – and a friend of the last living descendent of Peter Carl Fabergé, Tatiana.
Walker and the C&W Antique owners struck up a friendship, and soon the former started pointing Walsh and Carpenter to Fabergé of all manners: the famous eggs, clocks, tea sets, crystal and the proverbial more. Walker eventually retired and sold Walsh and Carpenter most of his Fabergé collection. Inside the showroom rests one of only 50 pieces of a Fabergé glassware design ever made. “Elton John owns one of the other pieces,” Walsh says. “We haven’t seen the other 48 anywhere.”
Carpenter admits that such a vast collection is a double-edged sword in that as much as the owners enjoy selling Fabergé, they also revel in owning it. “All this is really fun,” he says. “We’re privileged to be a part of history.”
C&W Antiques is open from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Thursday-Sunday this month. For more: (817) 637-7637.