Faces of Eternity: GIA Debuts Ethereal Exhibit in October

Photo by Pedro Grijalba.
“Chocolate with Peanut Butter” featuring petrified palm wood agate from Australia, vermeil and obsidian.

Museum spotlights 15 skull carvings made from large gem crystals

CARLSBAD, Calif. – 4 Sept. 2013 – Peruvian artist and master carver Luis Alberto Quispe Aparicio will debut a collection of 15 gem skulls on 18 Oct. at GIA’s (Gemological Institute of America) world headquarters in Carlsbad, CA. The “Faces of Eternity” exhibition, which will be on view throughout April 2014, was inspired by the juxtaposition of human mortality and the timelessness of gemstones. The intricately carved and polished life-size skulls are made from different large gem crystals and ornamental rock, adding character to each piece. 
“The magnificent gems and rocks used to create the skulls, combined with the skill of a master craftsman, give these unique pieces an ethereal beauty. From fossilised whale bone to rainforest jasper, and from pink opal to peanut wood agate, Luis Alberto chose materials from a gem lover’s dream,” said Terri Ottaway, curator of the GIA Museum. “Each skull has a distinctive look and feel to it, making this collection fascinating on both a gemmological and an artistic level.”
Aparicio—an engineer by profession and second-generation master in the object d’art—merges sculpting and jewellery fabrication techniques, creating unusual design work that is distinct from traditional European carvings. Along with his sister, Sylvia, he has helped to revive Neoart Peru, a family-owned company started in 1975 that specialises in ruby carvings and focuses on natural wildlife-inspired themes using rare and unusual gemstones from around the globe.
“The skulls collection was one of my favourite to create. By carving natural gemstones with a combination of lapidary art and metalsmith techniques, you can really see how the colours and textures in each stone brings each piece to life,” said Aparicio.
The complete collection is comprised of 26 pieces, each hand-carved from gemstones sourced from around the world and complemented by parts in silver and gold vermeil. The collection was designed and carved over the period of one year. Fifteen pieces make up the “Faces of Eternity” exhibition at GIA in Carlsbad, while the remaining pieces are in private collections in France, the US, the UK and Russia. 
Pieces exhibited are on loan from Luis Alberto Quispe Aparicio. “Faces of Eternity” will be on display from 18 October 2013 until April 2014. For more details, visit GIA’s website or call 760 603 4000.

About GIA

An independent non-profit organisation, GIA (Gemological Institute of America), established in 1931, is recognised as the world’s foremost authority in gemmology. GIA invented the famous 4Cs of Colour, Cut, Clarity and Carat Weight in the early 1950s and, in 1953, created the International Diamond Grading System™ which today is recognised by virtually every professional jeweller in the world.
Through research, education, gemmological laboratory services and instrument development, the Institute is dedicated to ensuring the public trust in gems and jewellery by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science and professionalism.