Nine jewelled sculptures by 'American Faberge' for celebrity clients - in pictures

Flamboyant gemstone artist Andreas von Zadora-Gerlof will open an atelier in Dubai this year

Gemstone artist Andreas von Zadora has a background that’s as colourful as his creations. A Canadian citizen of Australian-German heritage, Zadora opened his headquarters in New York City in the 1990s, where he came to known as the “American Faberge”. His art form of choice, glyptics or gemstone sculpting, has its roots in Mesopotamian times. The British Columbia resident learnt goldsmithing at the Horology and Jewellery Institute in Quincy, Illinois, after which he set off to study in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, a centre of the gemstone world.

"I graduated from the Gemmological Institute there and began my apprenticeship in gem-carving and engraving. When I felt I had learnt all I could from the training, I returned home and spent the next two years practising jewellery pieces," recalls Zadora.

Click through the gallery above for details of nine objets de vertu Zadora created for some of his most famous clients.  

Nearly four decades later and having created pieces for royalty, celebrities, art collectors and galleries, and fashion and corporate houses, the artist has trained his eye on Dubai next.

Gemstone artist Zadora will open his Dubai atelier at the end of 2019

The first Zadora atelier will open in the Dubai Design District at the end of this year, complemented by an interactive online platform. The spaces will display the timepieces, figurines, clocks and jewellery the gem sculptor custom-makes, some of the pieces he has created for his VIP clients, as well as the sculptures he has made using the drawings of Maurits Corneli Escher as inspiration.

In fact, Zadora is the only artist who sought and got permission to transform the works of the famed Dutch graphic artist into bejewelled sculptures. Escher was known for his mind-bending mathematical drawings and woodcuts from the 1930s, which show people climbing up staircases on ceilings and other optical illusions. Zadora and his team have rendered these into large-scale sculptures made out of stainless steel, aluminium, and other metals.

"I am extremely happy to be in the centre of now: Dubai. This city is an incredible place to be an artist and express yourself," says Zadora. "MC Escher, too, was way ahead of his time. All I am trying to do is bring in a 3D element to his works – so they are fun for children and adults alike – and I cannot think of a better destination to display these designs than the UAE and Middle East market, which has a discernment for luxury and aesthetic products."