in The Business of Jewelry on September 20, 2016
It is a well known fact that the British have an irrational love of tea, however the “Egoist” teapot takes that love to a whole new level. The $3 million Egoist was officially certified by the Guinness Book of Records as the most valuable teapot in the world.
The official record event took place at Mosimann’s private dining club in Belgrave Square, London, the site of the oldest jewelry house in the world.
The diamond studded teapot was commissioned by the British charity the N Sethia Foundation. The gem encrusted teapot was sponsored by Newby Teas of London. The teapot was made by the Milanese jeweler Scavia and took over 1730 hours of work to complete. It is set throughout with 1,658 D and E color diamonds and 386 Thai and Burmese rubies. One side of the teapot is centered with a 6.67 carat Thai ruby in a featured setting designed as a sun. Sethia describes the overall dazzling effect as shining “like sun of Southeast Asia.” The top of the lid is detailed with an elongated, tumbled, ruby bead. The handle is composed of molded mammoth (yes, from the ice age) ivory. The frame of the teapot is 18 karat yellow gold and parts are gold plated sterling silver. The designer of this glittering treasure was the charity’s founder and Chairman of Newby Teas, Mr. Nirmal Sethia, who wanted to create a teapot as a tribute to the world’s finest and treasured teas. The effect is truly dazzling.
“I designed the Egoist teapot to raise awareness globally of the historic and cultural importance of tea, a magical refreshment that has lasted over millennia and is a part of the fabric of civilizations from the Tang Dynasty to the modern era” said Mr. Sethia.
Mr Sethia has donated the teapot to The Chitra Collection, which is dedicated to all things associated with this ancient brew and founded in memory of Mr Sethia’s late wife Chitra. The collection is one of the most important of its kind, boasting over 1,700 historic and contemporary teapots and other tea imbibing paraphernalia, including Lord Nelson’s own silver pot.
Mr Sethia plans to open the Chitra Collection to the public in 2017. The world’s most valuable teapot, the Egoist will be on display as well. The N Sethia Foundation founded by Mr Sethia in 1995 helps fund medical research, youth activities, disaster relief and supports the Chitra Sethia Autism Centre in Cambridge.
“As for it’s name,” Mr Sethia said, “this is a teapot just for one, that is why it is called the Egoist. This teapot is a tribute to tea provenance and stands in testament to this most ancient, culturally important and beautiful of drinks… It is hoped this object will help understanding, globally, of the art, heritage and historical and contemporary importance of tea. It will take pride of place in the Chitra Collection, the world’s largest private collection of tea accessories. I am honored that my contribution to tea heritage has been recognized by Guinness World Records”.
He has already brewed tea in the Egoist and for the occasion chose a rare Muscani tea from Newby Teas of London while lamenting having been outbid for a £5 million lot of even rarer Chinese Da Hon Pao rock tea from the Wuyi Mountains in China.
Admiring the resplendent vessel, Mr Sethia added, “This is a revival of the tea culture with proper grandeur. In 5,000 years no one has done anything like this. They did make gold or silver teapots in the past but nobody thought of adding diamonds.”
Astounding. What do you think? Would you like a cup of tea?