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Faberge, one of the world’s most recognized fine artist jewelers, have unveiled a new creation of their iconic Imperial Eggs. The lucky attendees of last week’s Doha Watch and Jewellery Exhibition in Qatar witnessed the first debut of the extraordinary masterpiece: the $2 million Pearl Egg.
Using a combination of white and yellow gold, the meticulously crafted egg features a total of 139 natural white pearls, gleams with a mother-of-pearl finish and adorned with over 3,300 diamonds and hand-carved rock quartz. The centerpiece is an incredibly rare, unique 12.17-carat natural grey pearl sourced from the Arabian Gulf. To reveal it, the outer egg shell is rotated on the base which allows the six sides to flower open simultaneously to reveal the treasure; reminiscent of how an oyster opens to reveal its’ cultured pearl.
The House of Faberge collaborated with the Al-Fardan family to create this egg in honor of the upcoming centenary marking the last Imperial Egg ever made. A renowned pearl collector and connouisseur, Hussain Ibrahim Al-Fardan personally hand-selected each pearl from his family’s collection to be used in making the Pearl Egg.
The Pearl Egg is the first imperial class egg made in almost a century – the last imperial class egg was created in 1917, under the supervision of Peter Carl Faberge himself. The Karelian Birch, also referred to as the “Birch Egg”, was commissioned by the last Tsar of Russia Nicholas II, intended as an Easter gift to his mother, the Empress Maria Feodorovna. The February Revolution began before the egg could be delivered, signalling the end of the imperial era of Russia and subsequently, Faberge’s eggs.
Tags: 18K, 18K gold, 24 karat gold, 24K, Birch Egg, carats, couture, cultured pearls, custom made, diamonds, Easter gifts, faberge eggs, freshwater pearls, hand made, haute couture, imperial, jewelry collector, Maria Feodorovna, natural pearl, objets d'art, Peter Carl Faberge, Russian revolution, Tsar Nicholas II
After one month and 64 soccer matches played, and it is Germany who achieves the coveted title of FIFA 2014 World Champions. Coming into the tournament as #2 ranked in the world, they captured the World Cup Trophy after scoring 1-0 in overtime in the exciting final game with Argentina.
The trophy comes as the second redesign in all of FIFA’s history. The original trophy – named the Jules Rimet Cup after the former FIFA president – was a miniature statue of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. The body was forged in sterling silver and plated over in pure 24K gold, which stood on a base of carved blue lapis lazuli. FIFA regulations at that time stipulated that any country that wins three times would be awarded the Cup permanently; just that happened in 1970, the year that Brazil won their 3rd championship and took the cup home. Unfortunately, in 1983 the cup was stolen in Rio de Janeiro and has never been seen again.
The current trophy has thus been used since 1974, but no longer carries the possibility of being owned by any one country as it remains the permanent possession of FIFA.
Silvio Gazzaniga, the Italian creator of the current trophy, describes the depiction as thus: “The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world. From the remarkable dynamic tensions of the compact body of the sculpture rise the figures of two athletes at the stirring moment of victory.”
According to FIFA’s official website, the trophy stands at over 36cm tall and made of a whopping 6.175kg of 18 karat yellow gold, which is worth approximately $175,000. The German team will be taking home a gold-plated replica of the trophy, while the actual trophy will remain at FIFA headquarters to only be used at the official ceremonies.
Tags: 18K, 2014 FIFA, 24K, carved, custom made, football, Gazzaniga, Germany, goddess of victory, gold plated, Jules Rimet Cup, lapis lazuli, Nike, replica, soccer, sports trophies, sterling silver, yellow gold
The Dom Pedro is a stunning example of March’s official birthstone, and is also the largest faceted aquamarine specimen in the world.
At 1,363 carats and nearly 36cm tall, the fantasy-cut Dom Pedro aquamarine can certainly hold its own – even when on display at the Smithsonian’s Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, which houses other highly valuable gems like the Hope Diamond and the De Young Red Diamond.
The Dom Pedro was cut from part of a meter-long, 45kg aquamarine crystal that was discovered in the 1980’s in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. While in transportation, the crystal actually fractured into three separate pieces. The two smaller pieces were eventually cut into many smaller gemstones, but the largest was kept intact as it embodied an exquisite greenish-blue hue and amazing clarity. This largest piece was sold to none other than legendary gem-cutter Bernd Munsteiner, known as the “Father of the Fantasy Cut” and “the Picasso of Gems”.
According to the Smithsonian, the first time that he laid eyes on the gem he proclaimed that it was love at first sight!
Munsteiner spent over four months studying the rough and making hundreds of sketches before he settled on the aquamarine’s final pattern. It was to be his most famous “fantasy cut” gem, a cutting technique where negative cuts are faceted into the back of a gemstone to reflect the light within.
During the six months it took to hand cut the gem, he was never concerned about the final carat weight; he opted instead to cut for beauty and brilliance, rather than price. “When you focus on the carat weight, it’s only about the money,” said Munsteiner. “I cannot create when I’m worried about the money.”
The finished masterpiece was unveiled at the 1993 Baselworld Gem Fair, and later bought by private collector Jane Mitchell and her husband Jeffrey Bland. They gifted the stone to the Smithsonian’s National Gem and Mineral Collection in 2011, and by the end of 2012 Dom Pedro was added to the permanent exhibition and continues to be a top attraction.
Tags: aquamarine, aquamarine jewelry, aquamarine ring, Baselworld, birthstone jewelry, Brazil gems, brilliance, earrings, fantasy cut, gem cutting, gem fair, Hope diamond, March, mining, necklace, pendant, Picasso, smithsonian museum
We’ve seen many seemingly ordinary items bedazzled into creations of jewelry art: diamond studded shoes by Stuart Weitzman, Victoria’s Secret Fantasy Bras, and even Lady Gaga’s golden wheelchair chariot… but this is the first time expensive jewels are combined with Finnish flora to create a Christmas wreath.
Created by floral designer Pasi Jokinen-Carter, it takes the place as the most expensive wreath ever designed. With 32 diamonds and 16 rubies totalling 138 carats, the creation is priced at $4.6 million. Resting among the elaborate and rare greenery that includes Helleborus flower buds, hand-curled eucalyptus leaves, and blue Hedera berries, the gems add an unmistakable luxurious touch without overwhelming – they create a nice visual contrast with a little pop of color. Twenty-two loose round brilliant diamonds are nestled in the petals of one of the Helleborus flowers, and another cradles a 3.03 carat fancy yellow diamond. The largest gem in the wreath is a 17.49 carat ruby.
“I am passionate about my craft and this recent invitation to create an exclusive wreath, using natural materials and diamonds, has been an exciting and exceptional project,” says Jokinen-Carter. The wreath takes about a week to create, with most of the greenery and flowers sourced from his own backyard. All of the gems can be easily dismantled after the holidays, where they may find new (more permanent!) homes in jewelry pieces.
Tags: Burma, carat, custom jewelry, diamonds, eucalyptus, fancy yellow diamond, flower buds, Hedera, Helleborus, holiday decorations, loose diamonds, most expensive, natural, round brilliant, ruby
With its range in color from sunny yellow to bronze deep orange hues, what better stone to represent the falling leaves of autumn than citrine? One of the official birthstones of November, citrine is a member of the mineral family quartz.
Currently the world’s largest faceted citrine resides in the “Special Exhibit Gems” of the Art Natura museum in Spain, a natural science museum that is home to an extensive collection of colored gemstones. Known as “The Malaga” in tribute of its host city, this oval shaped gem is an enormous 20,200 carats – equivalent to 4 kilos! It neighbors another gemstone of gigantic proportions: the “Eldorado”, a 31,000 carat imperial topaz which also happens to be the other birthstone of November.
Despite its size, “Malaga” has very minor imperfections and is considered nearly flawless. Along with its exceptional color, even distribution, transparency and purity, “Malaga” is truly a world-class gem. Citrine crystals that are found usually measure only a few cm across, and the ones that are larger in size generally lack in quality and are used for decorative purposes rather than jewelry.
The rough that formed “Malaga” was originally discovered in 1990 in Brazil. Due to the complications of the process of cutting and polishing a stone this large, the rough was left untouched for nearly two decades until 2009 when a team of gem cutters took on the challenge. With all of the special considerations needed for a stone of this size, it took over a year to bring to its polished form.
Brazil is the largest producer of the world’s supply of citrines; other important sources include Bolivia, United States, and Madagascar.
Tags: amethyst, Brazil, citrine, largest gemstones, Malaga, mineral family, museum of natural history, quartz, tourist sites
As part of the royal tradition, Kate Middleton is rumored to receive a new mommy gift (or “push present”) for the birth of her first child, Prince George Alexander Louis. It can’t be easy to figure out what to give the mother of the future King of England, but Prince William seems like he has it all figured out.
It is believed that William has commissioned one of the royal jewelers to find a pink diamond that will become the centerpiece of a custom brooch for Kate. He is very involved in the design process, adding sentimental touches to make it that much more special. Due to the scarcity of colored diamonds, in particular high quality ones of a larger size, it may be a while before we see the completed piece. Originally he was contemplating giving her one of his late mother the Princess Diana’s jewels, but decided that he wanted something made just for her. Prince Charles had also presented the late Princess Diana with a gift when William was born – a necklace of diamonds and pearls with a heart-shaped center, and a gold ‘W’ charm for her bracelet.
Fancy colored diamonds have a tradition for the English royal family, especially pink diamonds. Queen Elizabeth II owns one of the most famous pink diamonds in the world: the Williamson Pink, a flawless diamond of over 54 carats rough given to her as a wedding gift in 1947 by Canadian geologist John Williamson. The rough diamond was cut into a 23.6 round brilliant, which the Queen then had set into a diamond flower brooch.
Tags: british royals, brooch, Canadian gemologist, charm bracelet, Duchess, Duke, fancy pink diamonds, gold jewelry, kate middleton, King of England, natural colored diamonds, prince william, princess diana, Queen Elizabeth II, royal family, royal jewels, Williamson Pink
The most beloved First Lady of Argentina was as well-known for her charitable endeavours as she was her glamorous image. Eva Perón (fondly referred to as Evita), the wife of the former Argentinian president Juan Perón was a charming beauty who created her own legacy. She rose from humble beginnings in the rural town of Los Toldos to become a recognized actress before finally meeting her future husband. Soon after, she established the Eva Perón foundation, which focused on helping the common people and provided services such as healthcare, education, and community development nationwide. Being very hands-on, she made many public appearances in the name of her charity and was always impeccably dressed; often in French couture, fur, and elaborate jewels.
One of Perón’s most memorable pieces has surfaced again to the public: the headliner at the upcoming October 15th Sale of Magnificent Jewels by Christie’s, the historic brooch depicting the Argentine flag. Featuring brilliant colorless and yellow diamonds and “mystery-set” blue sapphires, it was a custom designed piece for the first lady by the house of Van Cleef and Arpels. The last time it was seen in public was in April 1998, where it sold at auction for ten times its estimate at an astounding $992,500!
Another iconic piece worn in her 1947 official portrait (which was also used in Argentinian stamps in that era) is a Victorian-era diamond necklace set with eleven oval Burmese rubies. It was also sold at auction in 2003 at an estimate of about $200,000. What is unusual, according to experts, is that the entire necklace remained intact – it was common during the 19th century for important pieces of jewelry to be dismantled and remade.
Very recently, Spanish police have recovered a hoard of stolen jewels estimated at approximately $6 million euros. They organized a sting at the hotel the thieves were staying at in Milan, and they recovered a collection of rings, earrings and a fantastic diamond tiara believed to have been given to Perón by the Dutch royal family.
Much like her life, there is a lot of mystery of origin surrounding Perón’s many jewels, which may also be why some of her most treasured jewelry pieces have wound up at high-end international auctions, fetching record-breaking prices for fascinated jewelry collectors and historic collectors alike.
Tags: brooch, Burmese, choker necklace, christie's, diamonds, jewels, magnificent jewels, royal family, royalty, rubies, tiara
“Faces of Eternity” is the new exhibition being displayed at the Gemological Institute of America’s headquarters in Carlsbad, California. The exhibition features a collection of 15 carved skulls by a Peruvian artist Luis Alberto Quispe Aparicio. The skulls are made from various large gemstone crystals, ornamental rocks and silver and gold vermeil. It’s inspired by the contrast of human mortality and the timelessness of gemstones.
“From fossilized whale bone to rainforest jasper, and from pink opal to peanut wood agate, Aparicio chose materials from a gem lover’s dream. Each skull has a distinctive look and feel to it, making this collection fascinating on both a gemological and artistic level,” said Terri Ottaway, GIA museum curator.
One of the skulls called “Everlasting Youth” was carved from Mozambican aquamarine with rock crystal quartz and gold vermeil. “Top Hat Gentle-skull” is made in rock crystal quartz from Madagascar with snowflake obsidian and gold vermeil. Another called “Chocolate with Peanut Butter” skull is made with petrified palm wood agate from Australia with obsidian and gold vermeil.
“The skulls collection was one of my favorite to create. By carving natural gemstones with a combination of lapidary art and metal smith techniques, you can really see how the colors and textures in each stone brings each piece to life,” Aparicio said.
His whole collection is comprised of 26 pieces all made within one year. The other 11 pieces not found in the exhibition are in private collections in the USA, the U.K, France and Russia. He works with his sister Sylvia at their family owned company called Neoart Peru established in 1975. The company specializes in ruby carvings with a focus on wildlife inspired themes using very rare and unusual gemstones.
Tags: aparicio, artistic level, carlsbad california, crystal quartz, crystals, eternity, family owned company, gem, gemological institute of america, gemstone, GIA, lapidary art, luis alberto, museum curator, natural gemstones, ornamental rocks, peruvian artist, petrified palm wood, pink opal, private collections, rare, rock crystal, silver, size, skulls, whale bone