Andy Warhol’s four part Gems complete portfolio is a playful variation on still life, showcasing the individuality of every stone, each embodying the idea of beauty and glamour that resonates with the rest of Warhol’s 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 portfolio includes FS II.186, 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 Gems complete portfolio, featuring emeralds, rubies and diamonds was created in the later years of Warhol’s life. The Gems suite has a personal dimension to it through Warhol’s secret love of feminine things, which he sometimes concealed by wearing his jewelry under his clothes, despite his wealth and celebrity. Warhol’s appreciation of all things decadent, comes across in this series and other works he did around the same time, including After The Party, 1979, Shoes, 1980, and Reigning Queens, 1985. The Gems complete portfolio includes FS II.186-189.