The Getty Gem Show 2009

If your jewelry box is anything like mine — filled to the top with luxurious jewels — perhaps you have taken a moment not only to admire their handiwork as you swim around in your pool of money like Scrooge McDuck, but also wondered how they were carved into such detailed relief.

The J. Paul Getty’s exhibition Carvers and Collectors: The Lasting Allure of Ancient Gems at the Getty Villa leads you to the right spot to find out.  Featuring many intaglios and cameos, you discover what intaglios and cameos exactly are and the many techniques ancients used to carve into these stones to form portraits, icons, and narrative scenes.  Let me give you a hint  — it requires a few tools, an abrasive powder, and A LOT of time.

The show includes carved beauties by ancient master carvers so that you can see the real thing compared with some oh-so-close knock-offs.  (Usually a slight deviation in style or imagery gives the forged counterpart away.)  Sometimes forged carved gems are counterfeits of ancient masters made for profit; others seem to be created as a form of emulation to learn the craft of carving.  But considering you have hundreds…no wait, thousands of carved gems in your high security vault, you probably knew that already, Uncle Moneybags.

Break open that champagne and caviar, it’s Saturday!  And RSVP  your free tickets to the Getty Villa for next week.  Tell your assistant it’s high priority.

You’re lucky even if your schedule is booked until the end of August because this show closes September 7th.

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