Stone is demanding in its application to art and architecture, requiring great effort and discipline to procure, move, and fashion. It is a subtractive process, where any mistake can prove fatal to the intended product, requiring meticulous care and attention to detail. The inherent properties of stone are that it is insulative, with generally low heat conductivity, and durable, with high compressive strength. As with all things in life, while it retains varying degrees of vulnerability to weathering and deterioration, stone is generally considered to be one of the most resistant materials in existence. These properties lend themselves to a compelling philosophical argument, that those who wish to live a life or build a world of enduring strength and beauty, should not only employ the use of stone in their craft, but model themselves after it as well.
Imagine for a moment, that you are a miner in Siberia at the end of the nineteenth century, slogging with your colleagues through the moss-laden, muck-infused waters of the mire in search of gold, only to stumble upon something far more rare. This is precisely what occurred in 1890, within the Sverdlovsk region of Russia’s Ural Mountains, when a team of laborers who were busy excavating a peat bog inadvertently discovered a strange and ornate wooden figure featuring an eerie human face. Resting at an approximate depth of four meters beneath the surface of the acidic, oxygen-low, and therefore anti-bacterial conditions of the bog that had preserved it, the mysterious object that would come to be known as the “Shigir Idol” (named after the Shigir bog it was found within) was discovered in a series of 10 fragments.
I’m a big fan of gold in all of its beautiful forms, from bullion and coins to jewelry and antiques. Then again, who isn’t? However, in my experience, as the president of the Tamoikin Art Fund and the founder of the Soviet Jewelry project, ancient gold or as I like to call it “ancient aurum” is one of the best assets to own. Why so?
How Professor Mikhail Tamoikin Survived Kidnapping and Torture in Ukraine, then a Mob Hit in Lithuania
In August of 2015 Mikhail Tamoikin was kidnapped at gunpoint in the center of Kiev, chained and dragged into a car, taken to a boat, where he was beaten and tortured. Miraculously he managed to escape by jumping into the river and swimming for 12 km to safety. After calling the local police, Mikhail quickly learned that the corrupt Ukrainian government officials and “on the take” law enforcement officers were responsible for his kidnapping. Prof. Tamoikin managed to barely get out of Ukraine, moving to Lithuania, but that did not stop this international criminal candidate. Just two months later a second attempt on his life took place. An unmarked car with a masked driver intentionally hit Mikhail in Vilnius city, and when he survived that, these criminals, dressed as policemen, tried to finish the job.
Art and terrorism seem to be worlds apart, however what most people perceive as heritage and culture – criminal organizations see as cold hard cash. Cash that is hard to trace and very easy to move undetected through the borders of any country. Authorities worldwide must weak up and treat this as a major security threat!
When I first learned that Saudi Arabia is purchasing the only self-portrait of Benvenuto Cellini for €107 million I was immediately intrigued by the sum. As a financial analyst I am interested in numbers, and especially pricing, so I decided to examine all available publications in order to create a price-timeline for this portrait.
Currently, you can purchase Soviet gold jewelry for as low as $200-$600 per item (still within the young investors budget) or as high as $1000-$4000. This practice is something more art investors are doing now. These assets can double, triple, or quadruple in value in a very short window of time.