British artist Damien Hirst, posing alongside his sculptured skull, which was set with 8,601 diamonds and revealed to the world in 2007.
In 2007, Britain’s Damien Hurst stunned the art world when he sold A human skull encrusted with diamonds to an investment group for $100 million. The bejeweled cranium, which was retrieved from the remains of a 35-year-old 18th century European man, and still featured his original teeth, was set with 8,601 diamonds, one of them being a large fancy pink stone in the center of its forehead.
Calling the piece, “For the Love of God,” HIrst said his piece of art paid homage to the Aztecs, who in ancient times would attached precious stones to skulls of people they sometimes has decapitated.
“Along with chutzpah,” noted a New York Times critic after the sale, “it shows that Mr. Hirst is a shining symbol of our times, a man who perhaps more than any artist since Andy Warhol has used marketing to turn his fertile imagination into an extraordinary business.”
Diamonds have long been used to elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary. The following are just some of the most recent examples.
THE HERMÈS HIMALAYA BIRKIN HANDBAG
On June 12, a 10-year-old Hermès Himalaya Birkin handbag with a diamond-encrusted white gold lock is expected to become the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction in Europe when it goes under the hammer at Christie’s in London.
Only three bags similar to it have ever come up for auction. This ones final sales price could exceed the £155,000 ($271,000) record amount paid for a designer bag in Europe, which was a navy blue crocodile skin purse, also made by Hermes Birkin.
The Hermès Birkin line achieved popular fame almost more than 15 years ago, after the character Samantha in the popular Sex And The City television series pretended that actress Lucy Liu was her client to get to the top of a waiting list for the bag.
In May 2017, a white Hermès Himalaya Niloticus was sold in Hong Kong for more than $377,000, making it the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction. It featured an 18 karat white gold and diamond setting, and it was purchased by an unidentified buyer after 15 minutes of lively bidding.
The Hermès Himalaya Birkin handbag with a diamond-encrusted white gold lock, which is expected to become the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction in Europe.
THE COCA COLA MINAUDIÈRE
For those who are not familiar with the term minaudière, it is a women’s fashion accessory, which substitutes for an evening bag. Essentially a case with compartments, it allows storage for several items, such as a makeup compact, lipstick, watch, spectacles or keys.
At the 2018 Baselworld show, Hong Kong jeweler Aaron Shum unveiled a Coca-Cola bottle-shaped minaudière set with 9,888 natural micro-diamonds, weighing 120 carats. Some 8,543 of them were black, providing the appearance of the popular soft drink.
The minaudière, which had been created over a period of 100 days by 15 skilled setters earned Shum a Guinness World Record for “most diamonds set on a handbag.” It was the third time he had won such recognition, having first set the record for the “most valuable guitar” in 2014, when he set 11,441 diamonds with a total weight of 401.15 carats in a Gibson electric guitar. In 2016, he set the record for the record for the “most jewels on a guitar,” when he set 16,033 Swarovski crystals on a Fender American Deluxe Jazz Bass, which later was played by Jermaine Jackson.
The Coca-Cola bottle-shaped minaudière, set with 9,888 natural micro-diamonds, weighing 120 carats.
BUCHERER’S HARLEY-DAVIDSON MOTORCYCLE
A joint effort by the legendary American motor cycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson and the Swiss watch maker and jeweler Buchererled to the construction of a custom-built Blue Edition bike, complete with diamonds and sophisticated timepieces, which took 2,500 hours to assemble. It was unveiled to the world earlier this year.
Fashioned on a Harley-Davidson Softail Slim S with a V-twin engine, its gas tank features armored glass domes, inside one of which can be see Bucherer watch, and in another a 5.4 carat diamond ringed by more diamonds.
All in all 360 diamonds are set in the vehicle, which also is highlighted gold plated gold-plated screws, hand grips incorporating Bucherer jewelry, and a retractable safe to store whatever other valuables you want to take along with you.
The bike, which was built in Harley-Davidson’s boutique workshop Bündnerbike, is valued at $1.8 million, and is said to be the most expensive motorcycle in the world.
The a custom-built Blue Edition bike, complete with diamonds and sophisticated timepieces, created by Harley Davidson and Bucherer.