This potent gemstone sculpture fulfilled a long held dream for Hans-Jürgen Henn, our creative director. It was in Ronda, during one of his exploratory trips across Spain, that an abstract idea evolved into a tangible concept.

Ronda_plaza_de_Toros Creative Commons_Elena Gissi

Plaza de Toros, Ronda, image attributed to Elena Gissi, Creative Commons

Hans-Jürgen was visiting the spectacular 18th century Plaza de Toros bull ring, the oldest in the world constructed only of stone. Outside the legendary arena he encountered a monumental statue, ‘El Toro de Lidia’. He was transfixed by this magnificent and realistic life size bronze bull sculpture and spent over an hour admiring and studying it in detail.

There was no sign of the artist’s name but after some research back in Germany, Hans-Jürgen established that it was by the celebrated Spanish sculptor of bulls and horses, Nacho Martín. It had been made in 2005 as a tribute to Ronda, famous for its fighting bulls.

El Toro de Lidia statue Ronda by Nacho Martín, image attributed to Amat Orta, Creative Commons

El Toro de Lidia statue in Ronda by Nacho Martín, image attributed to Amat Orta, Creative Commons

Hans-Jürgen arranged to return to Spain and meet Nacho to discuss his plan: the creation of a unique gemstone objet d’art, a ruby bull. “I knew that ruby was a natural fit for this piece and also that both the sculpture and the gemstone would have to be top of the top, perfect design and perfect quality. That is what we are known for, nothing but the best.” Nacho was immediately taken with the idea and agreed to hand carve a wax model of a bull’s head in his own studio. He personally delivered this masterful and evocative design to the Henn gallery in Idar-Oberstein.

Following Nacho’s visit Hans-Jürgen spent some time seeking out just the right ruby, one which would present the perfect tone of red in a top quality stone and in a size that would allow for the artist’s work to be recreated to scale.

Ruby, a variety of corundum, is one of the hardest stones and therefore challenging to work with, especially in this context. The piece required specialised equipment and countless hours of laborious and sensitive hand carving. Crafted by one of Henn’s inspired and experienced master gemstone carvers, Nacho’s bull’s head was translated into a soulful and accurate representation in precious ruby, adorned with 18ct yellow gold horns.
Hans-Jürgen felt that a pair of larger lifelike horns would add drama and create a natural frame for the central bull’s head. He sought out some obsidian in a rare pearly grey tone. Gold was used to link the elegant horns and to set the sculpture onto its simple black obsidian base.

Hand carved ruby 'El Toro' objet d'art by Henn Gems

Hand carved 12,825ct unheated ruby ‘El Toro’ objet d’art

The work had developed organically over time through a visionary process, as befits a fine art piece. Nacho, upon first seeing it finished, exclaimed to Hans-Jürgen: “I’m so happy. I can see my hand writing, the very marks left by my own fingers, my signature lines and detailed curves. It’s an absolutely perfect piece.” His delight was matched by Hans-Jürgen’s – another unparalleled gemstone objet d’art, this one a long held aspiration, had been created thanks to his masterful direction.

The El Toro hand carved gemstone sculpture is both sensitive and naturalistic, skilfully crafted in exquisite materials. It suggests the dynamic grace of a mighty bull and its powerful horns, a resonant new statement piece in ruby. For extra details about the piece including dimensions please visit the Objets d’Art section of our Gallery or search ‘ruby’ across this site.