Alfred Dunhill 18ct Gold and Amethyst Lighthouse Lighter, 1975
Price Code: £££££
Alfred Dunhill, London
Dedication and great skill are what you need to create a unique piece of this extraordinary quality – a massive 18ct gold (over 1.5 kilos) and amethyst table lighter in the form of a Lighthouse. It is set on top of a solid section of amethyst geode, 112 pounds in weight, beautifully cut to emulate a rocky shoreline, consisting of 9 rectangular cut AAA grade cut and polished amethysts. The base of the Lighthouse, also in 18ct gold, is engraved to resemble brickwork, and even has a ladder leading up to a fenced ledge with a small door. The glazed lantern at the top, also has ‘windows’ of bevelled amethyst and the body of the lighthouse and the lantern illuminate from within. The lighthouse lantern hinges open to reveal a removable 18ct gold butane lighter of unique design, with corresponding brickwork pattern.
The components are hallmarked 18ct gold, Dunhill London 1975. Clearly Dunhill spared no expense in the conception and construction of this work of art, and the attention to detail is unsurpassed. Costing the same as 3 new Bentleys in 1975 (£750,000 today!) this unique one-off featured in Dunhill’s Christmas collection, and retailed for $56,000 over 40 years ago. It held the Guinness world record as the most expensive table lighter ever recorded, and a copy of the 1987 Guinness Book of World Records, accompanies the piece.
Literature: Guinness Book of World Records, Sterling Publishing Co. Inc, New York, 1987. P.253
Dimensions: 18ct gold Lighthouse: 18 inches (46 cm) tall
Amethyst geode base: 22 inches (56 cm) deep x 25 inches (64 cm) wide
Lighthouses have existed since Egyptian times, often regarded as inspiring structures – symbolizing for many the way forward, the way to overcome adversity and navigate a successful path through the world. What could be more appropriate in these bizarre times than this truly amazing solid 18ct gold table lighter, crafted in 1975 by Alfred Dunhill of St. James’s in the form of an Egyptian lighthouse, set with gem-quality amethysts and mounted on a huge and heavy amethyst geode.
The 1970s saw Dunhill emerge from their traditional fields of pipe tobacco and cigarettes, to astonishing, luxurious objets d’art such as this. A burgeoning and wealthy Middle Eastern market, fuelled by the hike in oil prices, appreciated the huge value in bejewelled and precious metal pieces of immense value – this very piece was priced at the equivalent of 3 new Bentleys in 1975, equivalent to over $1 million today!
Provenance: The Estate of Henry Dormann (1932-2018)
Described as “…an unusual man, interested in unusual and great things of the world”, Dormann was a hugely wealthy publisher and philanthropist, and founder of the Library of Presidential Papers. A friend and confidant of many world leaders, he was born in New York City, and resided in a palatial apartment on 5th Avenue.
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