Archive for October, 2008

The Incomparable Diamond Goes On Display

October 29, 2008

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The world’s third largest cut diamond, otherwise known as the “Incomparable Diamond,” went on display this weekend at the Royal Ontario Museum. It weighs in at 407.08 carats, has been graded ‘flawless’ by the Gemological Institute of America, is kite shaped and has a beautiful golden yellow color — all of which combine to create its very unique and individual beauty.

The Incomparable Diamond was, interestingly enough, found in the Congo by a girl playing in a pile of rubble back in the early 1980s (how awesome is that?) and will be on display until March 22nd of next year as part of the museum’s The Nature of Diamonds engagement.

The World’s Most Expensive Vodka: One Million Euro

October 28, 2008

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What does the world’s most expensive vodka taste like? If you’ve got one million euro to spare please leave a comment, we’d love to know. Russo-Baltique Vodka was released at Top MarquesMonaco and the first bottle is already spoken for by Prince Albert. The connioisser creation is the brainchild of car maker Russo-Baltique and Princess Regina Abdurazakova of Kazakhstan.

1950’s TV: Josephine Baker “J’ai Deux Amours”

October 28, 2008

Goldtooth

October 28, 2008

Plantronics has showcased its one of a kind, 18k gold, diamond and pearl headset, to celebrities backstage at the MOBO awards in London.

The Discovery 925 Jewel, described as a “fusion of technology and fashion” has been made over by designer Phoebe Coleman, who apparently drew her inspiration from vintage lace.
Phoebe, comments, “This dynamic is typical of my work. I strive to make beautiful classic pieces of jewellery, with a vintage and modern twist. The Discovery 925 Jewel is a timeless piece that can be enjoyed as a piece of art and technology.”

The Discovery 925 Jewel has been valued at £50,000 ($77,800) and will be auctioned for charity later in the year. It is 18 karat gold and has 40 diamonds and 31 natural pearls.

Cognac for the Holidays

October 28, 2008

The last examples of a rare collection of cognac bottles designed by Art Deco artist Erté will be released this holiday season from Courvoisier. The spirits company is selling the final eight sets composed of seven different Art Deco bottles each, originally designed by artist Erté in the 1980s and stored by Courvoisier until now. Each depicts a different step in the cognac-making process, from Vine, Harvest, and Distillation to Aging, Tasting, Spirit, and the Angel’s Share, which symbolizes part of the aging process where some of the spirit’s volume is lost through evaporation. The bottles will hold a rare blend of the finest cognacs from the Grande Champagne region, including one dating back to 1892, the year Erté was born. Each collection is $10,000, and a small number of individual bottles are being sold for $1,450.

The Gilded Age Revisited

October 28, 2008

At the end of the Gilded Age, Peter Carl Fabergé, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and René Lalique were among the most coveted artisans of the era, imbuing their design influence into an array of luxury pieces from jewelry to lighting to object d’art. Their magnificent work, including many famous pieces made for the 1900 Paris World’s Fair, are the subject of “Artistic Luxury: Fabergé, Tiffany, Lalique,” a new exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art from October 19, 2008, to January 18, 2009.

“Fabergé, Tiffany, and Lalique were the first to market themselves as ‘artists’ and not just mere jewelers or craftsmen,” said Stephen Harrison, the museum’s curator of decorative art and design. “They hoped that by association their work would be considered on the same level of artistic achievement as painting and sculpture.” The exhibition features more than 300 objects from private lenders and public institutions worldwide including the House of Fabergé Siberian amethyst, diamond, and demantoid garnet necklace (shown), circa 1895-1900, from the collection of jeweler Neil Lane; a rare Imperial Blue Serpent Egg by Fabergé, on loan from His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco; and the rediscovered magnolia stained-glass window created by Tiffany for the 1900 Paris world’s fair, which was sold to a Russian institution in 1901 and never before seen in the United States. In addition to works by the three legendary brands are many pieces by their competitors during the period, including Cartier, Gorham, and Boucheron.

From Driftwood to Decor

October 28, 2008

Marsia Holzer spent two decades designing costumes for high-profile rock stars on tour, including the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and Elvis Presley, as well as for Broadway shows such as Hair, before finding her true passion in life―salvaging felled trees to create organic furniture and lighting for her own company, Marsia Holzer Studio. One might find the change in careers mystifying, but Holzer’s one-of-a-kind designs still require imagination and customization, this time between Holzer and the client requesting the piece.

Holzer uses recovered exotic wood that has fallen in storms to create slabs for tables, which she affixes to handcrafted bronze, steel, or glass bases. The wood retains the natural shape of the tree, often with blond sapwood running down the thick sides, creating the illusion of a live tree poking up through the floor. Kayaking near her home in the Hamptons, she scours beaches for driftwood that will later be cast in metals at a foundry in Scotland. These casts serve as the bases for table and floor lamps, complete with drum shades of parchment or fine Irish linen. Holzer works with clients from selecting the slab of wood to choosing a base and finish. The mesh chandelier with metal tree branches (shown) is $4,200. Pieces in her collection range from $6,000 to $28,000.

Crocodile Dandy

October 28, 2008

When Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana set out to distance themselves from other mass-marketed designer brands, they decided to offer an exclusive range of limited-edition and custom-made products that would appeal more to connoisseurs than status seekers. This winter they continue that mandate with the launch of a new collection of one-of-a-kind weekend bags produced entirely out of crocodile and limited to 20 worldwide. In the U.S. the company is offering two custom-made variations of the bags―a beige crocodile weekender in the shape of a vintage bowling case, $53,995, and a two-tone brown boxy overnighter, $45,695. To further differentiate the bags from other exotic-skinned accessories in the duo’s ready-made repertoire, each piece comes with a metal engraved plaque inside identifying you as its owner.

Fly Electric, At Last

October 28, 2008

Electric motors for airplanes are preferable to the standard petroleum-fueled piston engine for many reasons―they are quieter, vibration free, easier to maintain, emissions free, and cheaper to operate. The problem has always been that no electric motor could deliver enough power at a light enough weight to make it practical for small aircraft―but that’s no longer true. Aviation innovator Randall Fishman, of Cliffside Park, New Jersey, proved this summer that the era of electric flight has arrived when he flew his ElectraFlyer-C, a modified single-place Moni motorglider, before a crowd of thousands in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, at the EAA AirVenture air show. After an hour or so of fun flying, it takes about two hours to recharge the batteries, at a cost of less than $1 in electricity. Fishman is working to develop a two-seat version of the airplane. He also designed an electric-powered ultralight aircraft that can be flown by noncertified pilots, which he sells for about $19,000.

Sculpting History

October 28, 2008

Chicago’s Sculpture, Objects and Functional Art Fair (SOFA) will celebrate its 15th anniversary by gathering pieces from more than100 galleries in 16 countries. SOFA will be held November 7 through 9 at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall. New designs from Wendell Castle―whose works in fiberglass, stack laminated wood, and metal have already been sold to major museums such as the Cooper-Hewitt, Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and the Brooklyn Museum―will be represented by Barry Friedman Ltd., alongside sculptor and ceramicist Jun Kaneko, ceramics artists Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, and glass artist Dale Chihuly, represented by Hosten Galleries in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Chihuly’s glasswork may prove to be a popular exhibit this year, as Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Dr. Christopher Lightfoot will lead a lecture on “Early Glass Making Techniques and Their Influence on Contemporary Glass Art.”