Sparkling new masterpiece nothing to be coy about
With a price tag of just over AUD $260,000, The Perth Mint’s 2022 Jewelled Koi is no ordinary coin.
“It’s a demonstration of the incredible skills we have accrued in more than 120 years of precious metal minting,” says Tina Kircher, Manager Retail and Licensed Products, who has managed the project internally from early concepts to its unveiling this week.
“As you’d expect with such a price tag, it’s a thing of genuine beauty and sophistication,” she expands. “We’ve found a market for such coins among high end collectors seeking exceptional releases - genuine numismatic art pieces if you like - who are prepared to pay for such luxury when there’s a real sense of exclusivity surrounding them.”
It’s for this reason that just eight Jewelled Koi coins will be crafted – which at first glance might seem an unusual number.
The story goes back to 2018 when the Mint was presented with a remarkable new opportunity to meld the ancient art of coin making with diamond setting skills using some of the rarest and most sought-after gemstones in the world.
The project’s genesis lay in the Mint’s professional relationship with John Glajz, a Singapore-based Argyle Pink Diamond™ Authorised Partner™ and regional ambassador for the Natural Color Diamond Association. Together, John and Tina developed the ‘jewelled’ coin concept to jointly showcase their respective products in the most stunning way possible.
John’s association with the Far East and the Mint’s popular Australian Lunar coin program provided plenty of synergy when it came to creative thinking. The theme would be animals significant in Oriental mythology. The pair could not go past the number eight, the luckiest number in Chinese culture, as the perfect mintage figure.
The first result of their collaboration was that year’s Jewelled Phoenix. Like no other piece issued by The Perth Mint, it was struck from 10oz of 99.99% pure gold with a three-dimensional representation of the mythical bird mounted on the reverse. Rare pink diamonds from Argyle’ s famous mine in Western Australia were used in a pavé setting to embellish its wings and tail.
Its success encouraged a follow-up in 2019 in the form of The Jewelled Dragon. By the time 2020’s Jewelled Tiger was released, the program was being recognised as the Mint’s most creatively inspired coin of the year, a reputation the 2021 Jewelled Horse strengthened further.
Tina says it’s a massive commitment to produce the series but that the time and consideration each release demands is worth it when she eventually gets to see the finished offering. “Ensuring we bring something exciting and meaningful to the market every year while maintaining the quality of the design and craftsmanship is extremely challenging,” she explains.
“Our reputation for pure precious metals and John’s unique knowledge of pink diamonds means we make a pretty powerful combination and that helps collectors have confidence they’re investing in a really authentic and timeless keepsake.”
Reflecting its status, the Jewelled series is now part of the Mint’s newly developed sub-brand - Masterpieces, containing only the most exclusive creations representing the finest and rarest combinations of numismatic and diamond artistry in the world.
The 2022 Jewelled Koi pushes the creative boundaries even further. “We’re very pleased with the result, which for the first time combines pink and fine white pavé set diamonds for a stunningly nuanced appearance,” adds Tina. “There are compelling reasons behind the choice of koi fish too.”
With strong significance in both Japanese and Chinese culture, they’re synonymous with harmony and happiness. Often portrayed in art beside the yin yang symbol, they’re widely thought to be lucky omens for marriage and fertility. With the Chinese pronunciation of the word yú (fish) sounding like the term for riches, koi fish are also strongly associated with wealth and prosperity, most notably when they’re golden in colour.
As they shimmer in sunlit water, it’s easy to imagine koi fish shining like diamonds!
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