By Ashley Bailey
, Monday, July 09, 2007 12:00 AM
From GIA, Carlsbad, Calif. – An opportunity to meet Bernd Munsteiner, one of the world’s best-known gem artists, drew a capacity crowd to the GIA Museum on June 8. The gala event marked the opening of the new exhibit, “Reflections in Stone,” which showcases a retrospective of Munsteiner’s unique and distinctive carvings from the last several decades. The German artist sparked a revolution in the gem-cutting when he pioneered an entirely new direction in gem carving more than 40 years ago. Innovative and abstract, Munsteiner’s work will be on display in the Rotunda Gallery at GIA through March 2008.
Recognized by contemporary gem artists as the visionary who broadened their artistic horizons, Munsteiner is frequently referred to as the “Father of the Fantasy Cut.” Instead of only cutting gemstones for jewelry use, he is best known for turning agates and transparent stones into evocative images, objets d’art, and sculptures. His trademarks include the abstract use of angles, grooves, and curves that scale dramatically across the back of the gem, with the top or front often left smooth and polished.
Munsteiner’s trademarks include the abstract use of angles, grooves, and even curves that scale dramatically across the stone.
Munsteiner developed a radical approach to his craft that reveals the aesthetic qualities hidden in natural mineral formations.
“We are honored to have ‘Reflections in Stone’ here at GIA. This is the first time this exhibit has appeared in the U.S., and it is our pleasure to introduce the amazing work of this groundbreaking artist to a wider audience,” said Elise Misiorowski, director of the GIA Museum.
During the event, Si and Ann Frazier delivered the third presentation in GIA’s 2007 Museum Lecture series, “Bernd Munsteiner: Maker of a Gemstone Revolution.”
As gem and mineral authors and teachers, the Fraziers discovered Munsteiner’s work in the early 1970’s while traveling in Idar-Oberstein, Germany – a region that boasts more than 500 years of gem-cutting history. After cultivating a lifelong friendship with the artist, the Fraziers were recently invited to serve as contributing authors for his book, “Bernd Munsteiner Reflections in Stone.”
The GIA Munsteiner exhibit is open to the public. Reservations through GIA Guest Services (telephone 760-603-4000) are required. Museum hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
An independent nonprofit organization, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is recognized as the world's foremost authority in gemology. Established in 1931, GIA has translated its expert knowledge into the most respected gemological education available. In 1953, the Institute created the International Diamond Grading System™ which, today, is recognized by virtually every professional jeweler in the world. Through research, education, gemological laboratory services, and instrument development, the Institute is dedicated to ensuring the public trust in gems and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science, and professionalism. GIA can be found on the web at http://www.gia.edu/
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