Impressive Museum-Quality Multi-color Tourmaline Carving of a Fan-Tail Falcon

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Lot 1032
Impressive Museum-Quality Multi-color Tourmaline Carving of a Fan-Tail Falcon

Sold for US$ 137,000 inc. premium
Lapidary Works of Art
Impressive Museum-Quality Multi-color Tourmaline Carving of a Fan-Tail Falcon
By Manfred Wild
Idar-Oberstein, Germany

This is the largest falcon created by Manfred Wild who is known for his many bird carvings. Entirely carved from a single crystal of multi-color Brazilian tourmaline with hues of rare blue, purple, green, yellow and near-colorless tourmaline. The wings are perfectly book-matched with a rich array of colors, predominating in rare and valuable blues. Mounted with an 18K yellow gold beak and feet, the bird alights atop a perch formed of green nephrite, black onyx, near-flawless rock crystal quartz, yellow citrine quartz and centers on a large briolette-faceted smoky quartz, within borders of calibré-cut green tourmalines, the entire perch emerging from a pale lavender amethyst "rose" crystal cluster, which rests upon an inset slab of Russian nephrite, on an octagonal base of Russian black obsidian. This is a virtuoso carving worthy of any serious lapidary collector's attention. Height 18 1/2in


  • Born in 1944, Manfred Wild, an eighth-generation gem cutter, is one of the most renowned lapidary artists to emerge from Idar-Oberstein. At the age of twenty, during an apprenticeship with a gemstone merchant, he began his well-rounded educational journey in the areas of fine art, gemstone cutting, engraving and goldsmithing.

    Working in a family tradition of stone cutters established in 1630, Manfred Wild is one of the world's most famous creators of objets d'arts. He is best known for his virtuoso work in rare, precious and semi-precious materials carved as perfume bottles, animals, whimsical figures, flower studies, enameled eggs with concealed "surprises", cameos, chalices and objets de fantaisie made of precious stones, gold and silver.

    It is helpful, of course, to understand Wild's work within the greater context of 19th and 20th Century Decorative and Jewelry Arts. In addition to the influence of his own family and town, Mr. Wild follows the traditions established by René Lalique and Peter Carl Fabergé (Russian jeweler, 1846-1920) and a great number of parallels can be seen in their work. Fabergé had begun a new era in the Jewelry Arts. Prior to him, many jewelers felt the value of jewelry was intrinsic, based upon the stones (particularly diamonds) and precious metals. The artistic creativity and superior craftsmanship introduced by Fabergé made such objects transcend their "break value". Fabergé also used a number of decorative techniques attributable to French 18th Century goldsmiths, e.g. the art of guilloché, a surface treatment of metal that could make waved lines or striations in the design, either performed by machine or by hand. Atop the guilloché decoration was a translucent enameling that required the application of several coats and the "firing" of the object in an oven after each layer, a very labor-intensive technique. The limited palette of enamels used in the 19th century was expanded upon by Fabergé who, after much experimentation, arrived at over 140 shades. He also used natural stones often found in his local area or native to Russia, e.g. jasper, agate, rhodonite, bowenite and nephrite. Often his use of precious stones, including sapphires, rubies and emeralds was in an understated way, only for accents, and even then were used en cabochon. Diamonds, if used, were typically rose-cut. So many of the aforementioned decorative elements are seen the work of Wild even as they appear in the examples on these pages. When India Early Minshall, a wealthy collector of Fabergé who purchased an egg in 1944, stated "Fabergé was called the Benvenuto Cellini of the North, but I do not think any jeweler can ever be compared to him"—She could not know that someday the work of Manfred Wild would rival the work of the great Russian jeweler......

    Mr. Wild's works are displayed in museums throughout the world including: The German Gemstone Museum in Idar-Oberstein, The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., The Harvard Museum in Boston, The Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh and The Iksan Jewellery Museum in Korea, as well as extensive private collections in Japan, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States of America.
Impressive Museum-Quality Multi-color Tourmaline Carving of a Fan-Tail Falcon
Impressive Museum-Quality Multi-color Tourmaline Carving of a Fan-Tail Falcon
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