September 18th, 2013
Inspired by the juxtaposition of human mortality with the timelessness of gemstones, Peruvian artist and master carver Luis Alberto Quispe Aparicio will debut an ethereal collection of 15 gem skulls October 18 at the world headquarters of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in Carlsbad, Calif.


Titled Faces of Eternity, the exhibit will feature intricately carved and polished life-size skulls made from unusual gem crystals and ornamental rock.

“From fossilized whale bone to rainforest jasper, and from pink opal to peanut wood agate, Aparicio chose materials from a gem lover’s dream,” said Terri Ottaway, GIA museum curator. “Each skull has a distinctive look and feel to it, making this collection fascinating on both a gemological and artistic level.”

Impressively, the artist designed and created his complete 26-skull collection during a one-year period. The 11 skulls not included in the GIA exhibit are now part of private collections.


Highlights of the exhibit include “Chocolate with Peanut Butter” (top photo) featuring petrified palm wood agate from Australia, vermeil and obsidian; “Top Hat Gentle-Skull” featuring rock crystal quartz from Madagascar, snowflake obsidian and vermeil; and “Everlasting Youth” featuring aquamarine from Mozambique, vermeil and rock crystal quartz.

“The skulls collection was one of my favorite to create,” Aparicio said. “By carving natural gemstones with a combination of lapidary art and metalsmith techniques, you can really see how the colors and textures in each stone brings each piece to life.”

The Faces of Eternity exhibit will be on display at the GIA from October 18, 2013, through April 2014.

Photos by Pedro Grijalba.