Pouring your evening cuppa out of that sophisticated electric kettle that you hauled a few weeks back on the online sale already, reclining on the sofa in a comfort emanating from the very cusp of your hands holding dear that brew of immensely universal and timeless appeal, you perhaps might be affording yourself the ultimate luxury of life. But just imagine the extent of luxury one would be entitled to when their cup of warmth flows out of no ordinary kettle but rather a gem studded one, glistening in the gleams of what decks it up in such extravagance that has earned it the coveted Guinness listing of being the most expensive teapot in the world! Indeed, the classic favorite that the beverage called tea has managed to command a position of prime importance as among the many heavy drinkers of the world renders it a brew that is intense as much in its flavors of intoxicating richness as it is priceless even in the mere anticipation of it soaking up the woes of the listless existences of the universe. But even then, who can really forego the luxuriant charm of a serving of tea that brews within the expanse of also the most luxurious teapot, that which is also as exquisite a vision of sorts in all its bejewelled claim to lavish fame?
This exquisite piece of stunning craftsmanship is quite the sight to savour, paired particularly well with the long sips of its brew, as this specimen of intricate, 18 karat golden beauty comes entirely covered in 1,658 brilliant cut D and E color grade diamonds and 386 equally brilliant cut round rubies, even as a central 6.67 carat Thai ruby framed in the shape of a sun steals the spotlight. A 20.70 karat natural ruby bead further shines in all its exotic glory from upon the top of the lip, producing an effect so stunning that has been likened to ‘the sun of Southeast Asia’ by the very designer of this masterpiece brimming with many an elements of unparalleled brilliance. A mammoth fossil ivory shapes up the handle of this piece of art that doubles up also as conveniently in the functional flair of it, brewing but only a single cup of tea within its priceless precincts, named therefore very aptly the Egoist that however harbours a purpose even more definitive than what its identity renders it capable of.
Crafted with the aim “to raise awareness globally of the historic and cultural importance of tea” is this $3 million potbellied vision of glitz and glamour that took a total of six months for the team of Milanese jeweler Fulvio Scavia to complete. Commissioned by Nirmal Sethia, founder of the N Sethia Foundation and Newby Teas of London, is this one of a kind teapot that forms a part of the Chitra Collection, itself boasting some 1700 pieces of likeminded uniqueness and presenting in its vision an overwhelming rendition of the love Sethia holds still for his dear wife Chitra. Unveiled back in 2016 was this Egoist teapot that which also was used by its owner at the grand opening itself to brew a rare Muscani tea from his Newby teas collection in the process therefore reviving the grand tradition of what has typically entailed tea ceremonies across different cultures of the world in different eras.
But despite the staggering extravagance of The Egoist that which had made it the Guinness Book of World Records’ certified world’s most expensive teapot, it most certainly isn’t the only one in the echelons of the million dollar club. And while that might come as a bit of a surprise, teapots have continually managed to cash in on the coveted millions of the world’s uber rich whose interests in the flavors of fortune are at times eclipsed by their immeasurable taste resident deep in the true exoticness that only a cup of tea can deliver. The same year the $3 million flourish of the bedazzling piece of beauty had the tea aficionados of the world craving a cuppa steeped in it, it was another magnificent display of art that fetched an even higher $3.5 millions courtesy its antique bestowing.
As a rare 250-year-old Qianlong Dynasty that in fact is an ode to Emperor Qianlong’s adoration of tea well surpassed its guide price of up to half a million dollars at a Sotheby’s auction, the manifestation continued of the Chinese prominence when it comes to the origins of not just the world’s most popular beverage but also the custom made pot dedicated exclusively to brewing the sips of intoxication. As concerns its design, the antique piece might not have sported any jewel or gem or even any tinge of sparkle along its elegantly beautiful body of porcelain but that did nothing to deter its bidder from settling for anything lesser. Featuring rather along its front a figure of possibly the Emperor himself being served the beverage had been this gem of artistic disposition that features also on its reverse an imperial poem written by His Majesty. And yet this hasn’t been in any way the only Chinese teapot to have commanded such jaw dropping count of the money generously splurged on it.
Achieving a similar such feat had been a pair of another Qianlong dynasty teapots that at one time had also been the holder of the coveted most valuable teapot in the world status. Authenticated by its flaunting of the iron red Qianlong seal marks are these rare ‘melon’ teapots that were hammered for a record 2.18 million dollars inciting awe and intrigue not however just for the sheer enormity of their winning bid but also in the sophisticated simplicity endowed upon them by their minimal and elegant floral design incised on white, complimented perfectly by the offsetting vision afforded by an enameled curving spout and handle.
This understandable continuation of the Chinese domination along the trajectory of the long whistles stemming from the teapot as it dutifully concerns itself with the exquisite art of brewing tea associates also with a 2010 auction when a certain Yixing Zisha teapot made record as the first of its kind to have a couple million dollars entailing to it. Already distinctive an assertion of the teapot are such Yixing clay teapots crafted exclusively out of a clay hailing from the town of Yixing in the nation, rested also in such attributes that lend the brew simmering to perfection within it a characteristic taste and flavour distinguishing it therefore from the others of its tribe. And with such a bevy of uniqueties accruing to it, the 1948 Yixing teapot in question indeed presented more than a favourable ground for making the millions its own, with its specialty residing also in it being a purple hued assertion of further rarity.
What therefore turns out is that the allure that teas and teapots hold ventures even outside the concerns of what they deliver in measure of the emotions encompassable in taste, to take into their folds such explorations of extravagance that elevates indeed the essence of their worth. And indeed, such stemming of importance is only but natural a norm of evolution for an element of lives inextricably linked to their continuation. Even as the many traditional forms of the teapot ranging from the Chinese Yixing Zisha to the Japanese Kyusu and the Turkish caydanlik or the native Russian but also Kashmiri Samovar as well as other Indian variants as also English and European beauties involved in this life art of brewing tea occupy their own place of distinction in this charming world of what we sip on as chai, as leisurely and luxuriantly as much as we do in hurried pace and stressful gulps, we still cannot help but celebrate indeed the more modern offerings decked up in as prominent identity as The Egoist does, as an ode indeed to this elixir of what sustains life and makes it all the more worthwhile, whether it be in pursuits of its rich legacy through history or its meanderings through the cultural expressions that shape up the world of the present times.