I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful - an endless prospect of magic and wonder. - Ansel Adams
If you haven't already read about the Millennium Sapphire, here's a must read on the topic. It is truly a legend and rockstar in the gemstone world! In 1995, a fantastically large Sapphire was discovered in Madagascar in Africa - it weighed 17.9kgs and was an astonishing 89,850 carats when it was found. No kidding! The discovery was so earth shattering that it caused political upheaval and the impeachment of the then President of Madagascar.
The stone travelled far and wide and was unanimously certified as a natural Sapphire by several gemologists and laboratories. Instead of breaking the enormous stone, the then owners (a consortium) decided to launch the Millennium Sapphire Project. Award winning Italian artist Alessio Boschi was put in charge to design the artwork and oversee the carving system. Alessio came up with an innovative, timeless design to showcase key milestones and personalities in human history. Genius!
Every historical period was deeply researched and key themes were identified to be carved on the raw gemstone. Among the intricate carvings on the Millennium Sapphire are pictures of human achievement ranging from historical wonders like the pyramids of Giza to modern day accomplishments such as Neil Armstrong landing on the moon. The personalities carved include Lao Tzu, Mahatma Gandhi, Mozart, Shakespeare, Columbus, Einstein among others. Who would have known we could see all these amazing people and events in the same frame, that too on a gemstone!
Rumour has it that the carvers practised the 134 carvings on Lapis Lazuli before performing the work on the actual Sapphire gemstone! Who can blame them for erring on the side of caution! Obviously, the result is simply breath taking! The Millennium Sapphire was acquired by the Chinese business Yulong last year who intend to take it on a world tour of museums. So, we can hope to see the world's largest carved Sapphire in person soon enough!