The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal

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Lot 122
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal

US$ 150,000 - 200,000
£ 110,000 - 150,000

The Nature of Opals

10 Nov 2010, 10:00 PST

San Francisco

The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
By Ann Maree Willett
Deep Blue Sea, by Australian Master Milliner Ann Maree Willett, is a lavish fantasy of hand-blocked Australian wool felt, awash with swaying feathers and bejeweled with 26 gem-quality Australian opals weighing 1447 carats.
The piece made its debut in Milan, Italy, in February 2007 when Willett – whom Italian fashion house Borsalino has likened to the 'next John Galliano' – was selected to represent Australia at Corso Como Design Centre. Deep Blue Sea, inspired by the undersea life of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, was the centerpiece of Willett's seminal 'Climate' collection. In Deep Blue Sea, Ann Maree collaborated with opal miners Vicki and Peter Drackett of Lightning Ridge, Australia, to create what was to become an icon.
Following Milan, Deep Blue Sea went on to show at the L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, Australian Masters of Fashion Awards, the Australian Opal Exhibition, International Opal Jewellery Design Awards and NRA Australian Fashion Design Awards. It is now the most valuable hat ever to be offered at public auction.
Deep Blue Sea boasts 26 precious opals mined at Lightning Ridge in Australia, weighing a total of approximately 1447.51 carats and worked by acclaimed opal carvers Daniela L'Abbate and Christine Roussel. One-of-a-kind opal micro-sculptures by L'Abbate and Roussel are widely sought for jewelry or objet d'art, or acquired simply for their inherent value and splendor. Settings for the opals were created by Master Goldsmith Gerd Gerold Schulz, using 320 grams of sterling silver and 18K gold. The changing play-of-color and fluid shapes of the stunning opals (among which are crystal, light and black forms of the gemstone) recall the jewel-like quality of life on a coral reef. The piece has created a sensation wherever it has been shown.
This spectacular wearable sculpture is a unique collaboration between one of Australia's upcoming couture milliners and one of its most innovative opal companies, featuring work by two of the world's most accomplished opal carvers. Never before have so many precious opals, of such size, been assembled into a single couture item. This is a unique offering and a singular opportunity. Accompanied by a head half block of pine timber for display.
Made of Australian wool felt and feathers, featuring 26 opals weighing approximately 1447.51 carats and
Height approximately 54 cm
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
The most valuable hat ever offered at public auction: "Deep Blue Sea" – an extraordinary hat bejeweled with 1447 carats of gem-quality Lightning Ridge Opal
Auction information

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