Special Exhibition 2013

"Precious Egg Creations"

15th March - 12th May 2013

Garnet, ruby, diamond, aquamarine, crystallized quartz, tourmaline, lapis lazuli, amethyst, opal, aventurine... these are, but merely some of the gemstones from which stunningly beautiful and priceless egg creations are artistically carved out, by Manfred Wild from the gemstone region of Idar-Oberstein. A high degree of technical skill and a keen sense for witty details are what makes his work so special, and why they are now displayed in many of the world’s grand museums and private collections. 

The masterpieces found their way to the classiest addresses around the globe through internationally renowned jewellers. In about 40 years Manfred Wild has created three times as many egg creations as the Russian court jeweller Carl Fabergé, who produced the 56 legendary  “imperial Easter eggs” in his goldsmith workshop. Opportune for Easter, the selected egg creations of the gemstone artist Manfred Wild will be presented to the public at terra mineralia

Siddhartha egg

Siddhartha – that sounds foreign and leads us to the 6th century BC to the Indian prince, who decided to spend his life as an ascetic in meditation. He became Buddha – the enlightened One, the founder of the world religion Buddhism.

Manfred Wild dared to form Siddhartha in gold and precious stones, to immortalise him in high artistic mastery and thus created one of his most important egg creations.

Measurements: height 660 mm, base plate 280 x 280 mm, weight 25.94 kg; in total 948 brilliants (21.2 carat) and 4061 g yellow and white gold was processed.

"The precious egg creations of Manfred Wild"

The egg, said to have symbolic power, has always embodied the primal, biological perfection, fertility, resurrection, and continuity of the soul. And the white colour of the shell stands for purity and perfection. Therefore, the Easter egg became a resurrection symbol for Christianity, a source of awakening life in the plant and animal world. Therefore also the antique symbol – an object broken in two parts, which needs to be joined together in order to regain its significance, to unite the separated. Perhaps this was what inspired the famous court jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé to design his jewellery and art objects in the form of delicate eggs. The Russian jeweller took over the workshop of his father in St. Petersburg in 1870, after living for several years with his parents in Dresden as an adolescent and receiving cosmopolitan education and an understanding of art in Frankfurt, Florence and Paris. In 1885 he was awarded the title of the Imperial Court Goldsmith from Tsar Alexander III. (1881 – 1894) for his work. The tradition, that the tsar and his family gave Fabergé eggs during the orthodox Easter celebrations, lasted until 1916. In total, 56 artistic eggs and several hundreds of precious items were produced – a final shine of the glamorous world of Russian tsars before the October Revolution.

An artist produced proof that something of the like was still possible today in the German gemstone centre in the Idar-Oberstein region, whose artwork is now world famous: Manfred Wild. The gem merchant born in Kirschweiler, self-educated in the fields of art, engraving, cutting and gold processing, took over the renowned agate cutting shop Emil Becker with his wife Ute. He developed it – away from pure cutting operation – to one of the most reputable gemstone lapidaries in the world. His enthusiasm for gemstones, however, wasn’t exhausted in the routine work of cutting but took an artistic path.

Already in the mid sixties he had made his first gemstone object, a polar bear mother with child, from a pure quartz geode that he had found as a young boy in the Fischbacher quarry not far from Idar-Oberstein. Since then he has worked his way to the top and now counts among the “top 3” in the industry. “It is the attraction of what is possible that has driven me and drives me. I like to test the limits to the extreme; it is a kind of game for me.” That the whole gemstone world is available to him because of this and he knows how to exploit it in all its facets is no only a blessing, but also the gateway to limitless art.

Wild’s gemstone objects – boxes, perfume bottles, figures and animals, especially the deceivingly real floral still life and egg creations, of which now more than 150 exist – have found their place in private collections, royal houses and sultan palaces as well as in museums all over the world. A representative selection of egg creations now on display at terra mineralia honours both – Manfred Wild and the TU Bergakademie Freiberg.

Flower basket egg

The flower basket egg, shaped from pure quartz, which rests on a gold plate of aventurine, can be interlocked with a tourmaline clasp. One is enchanted especially by the flower arrangement that finds its place in a hand-woven flower basket made from 18 carat gold: blossoms from pink tourmaline and aquamarine with brilliants and fixed on a gold stem challenge each other for first place in the beauty contest. Even for the middle part, tourmalines and beryls were selected and there are small cultivated pearls in the middle as ornaments.

Measurements: height 20 cm, base 125 x 125 mm, height 265 mm, weight 1628 g; working time: approx. 280 hours.