He was born in St. Petersburg, Russia to the jeweler Gustav Fabergé and his Danish wife Charlotte Jungstedt. The family moved to Dresden in 1860, and shortly thereafter the teenager went on a study trip, learning the jeweller's craft at the House of Friedman in Frankfurt am Main. In 1864 he returned to St. Petersburg and joined his father's business, taking over management of it in 1872.
Peter Carl and his younger brother Agathon were a sensation at the Pan-Russian Exhibition held in Moscow in 1882. In 1885, Tsar Alexander III appointed him the Court Supplier, as a reward for the first of the Easter eggs (the Hen Egg). Thereafter Fabergé made an egg each year for the Tsar, who gave each to the Tsarina. Tsar Nicholas II ordered two eggs each year, one for his wife and one for his mother, a practice continued from 1895 to 1916.
Fabergé did far more than just eggs; in 1896 the company produced all the gifts given during the coronation ceremonies for Nicholas II.
In 1897 the Swedish court appointed Fabergé Court Goldsmith, and in 1900 his work represented Russia at the 1900 World's Fair in Paris. He became the Tsar's Court Goldsmith in 1910. Fabergé's company was the largest in Russia with 500 employees, and branches in Moscow, Odessa, Kiev, and London. It produced some 150,000 objects between 1882 and 1917.
But in 1917, in the chaos of the October Revolution, he sold his shares in the company to his employees and fled to Wiesbaden. He died a few years later in Lausanne, Switzerland, and was buried next to his wife Augusta in Cannes, France.
His sons Eugene and Alexander founded a successor company Fabergé; as of 2003 it was part of the jeweller Victor Mayer.