Andy Warhol’s Gems 186 is a staple of his Gems portfolio, with deep reds and pinks that accentuate the image of a ruby gemstone. The piece is perhaps an homage to actress Liz Taylor, one of Warhol’s celebrity muses, who was also known to appreciate rubies. Recently, her ruby ring set broke the “price per carat” record when it was auctioned at Christie’s for 4.2 million dollars. The uniquely cut gem seems to glimmer in the light with its yellow and white highlights. Warhol gives the piece a truly pop art spin with surreal purple shadows that pop against the deep reds of the print.
Gems 186 as Part of Andy Warhol’s Larger Body of Work
Warhol became a collector of jewelry after his success and often wore elaborate pieces by Cartier or Harry Winston when he attended parties. The Gems series, featuring emeralds, rubies and diamonds, was created in the later years of Warhol’s life. Recently a German curator put one under an ultraviolet light. The light showed a fluorescence, a glow. This discovery was a pleasant surprise to those who know that Warhol was always hiding his own glow, the jewelry, underneath his clothes, giving the Gems series a somewhat autobiographical spin.