For a few million, you can find out what the world looks like through actual diamond lenses.
Sotheby’s is offering two pairs of incredible gem-encrusted spectacles at its bi-annual Arts of the Islamic World & India auction in London on October 27. The outlandish specs, which each carry a high estimate of £2.5 million (approximately $3.4 million at the current exchange rate), come with an incredible backstory that’s just as complex and unique as the eyewear itself.
Scholars believe both pairs were commissioned by an Indian prince during the 17th century. To start, an artisan shaped two pairs of glasses out of precious stones: one was a diamond weighing more than 200 carats; the other, a brilliant emerald totaling at least 300 carats.
It’s thought that around 1890, the lenses were placed in new frames and decorated with a collection of rose-cut diamonds. (Even in the 19th century, you could apparently never have too much ice.) The end result is two sets of specs that serve as a testament to the technical skill and craftsmanship of the Mughal empire. Not to mention, they make one hell of a fashion statement.
“These extraordinary curiosities bring together myriad threads—from the technical mastery of the cutter and the genius of craftsmanship to the vision of a patron who chose to fashion two pairs of eyeglasses quite unlike anything ever seen before.” Edward Gibbs, chairman of Sotheby’s Middle East & India, said in a statement. “They are undoubtedly a marvel for gemologists and historians alike, and it is a real thrill to be able to bring these treasures to light and to offer the world the opportunity to wonder at their brilliance and the mystery behind their creation.”
The diamond pair, known as the Halo of Light, features flawless stones thought to be from the mines of Golconda in southern India. Sotheby’s says the two lenses, which were cleaved from a single natural diamond, together weigh 25 carats and showcase meticulous faceting around the edge for added brilliance and clarity.
The emerald pair, which is named the Gate of Paradise, sports two teardrop-shaped gems that are believed to have originated from one rather sizable natural Colombian emerald. The emerald lenses tip the scales 27 carats and feature detailed bevelling to keep the intensity of the stone.
It’s not just about the glitz and glamor, though. These glasses were designed as aids for spiritual enlightenment. Diamonds were thought to illuminate while emeralds miraculous powers to heal and to ward off evil.
Show us a pair of Ray-Bans that can do that.
Check out more photos below: