Bruno Moser: Gem Sculptor (1928-2012)

Paladin | Pendant Moser PyroBruno was an independent and most extraordinary artist who worked mostly with precious gemstones. He predominantly carved opals in the most fantastic forms, but he also used other gemstones, such as Tourmalines, Ametrines, Moonstones and many other varieties to create gemstones that featured extraordinary artistic forms. Some of Bruno’s magic gemstone-sculptures found their way into one-of-a-kind CADEAUX JEWELRY creations. (The image on the right shows the CADEAUX JEWELRY pendant Moser Pyrocumulus).

Wilfried Bruno Moser – he preferred to call himself Bruno – was a professional goldsmith from Basel Switzerland. But Switzerland, he said, was too small, too organised for him, and as a very young man he decided to emigrate. He sent out letters asking for jobs to jewelers in many countries, and the one response he acted on was from Australia. He arrived there by boat from Genua/Italy in the 1950s, and spent several years working in the workshops of a Swiss jeweler in Sydney. He then changed into the raw sapphire trade, anr eventually decided to literally dig for his luck in Australia’s Andamooka opal fields.

IMG_1003 copyAndamooka is 600 km North of Adelaide and it was only in the 1920s that opal deposits were discovered in this otherwise barren country. Bruno spent years like many other miners living underground in old dug-out mines. Whenever he needed another room, he’d dig one. Perhaps it was Bruno’s personality, or perhaps it was the many years in the loneliness of the desert that mellowed his character and made him an esoteric person.

Cadeaux Jewelry 012 copyWhen Bruno began carving opals and other gems in the 1970s, he decided to let his art be determined by the power of transcendence. Apparently without fixing his mind on any distinctive form, he would let a stone find its shape while his mind was in meditation, leaving only his hands to feel out the forms in a gem. He once said: “The unique creations that I make are not my shapes, they are inherhent in the stones. All I do is hold the gem to the grindstone and cut away any extra material. My art is knowing when to stop, because if I don’t stop there will be nothing left.” Using this extraordinary technique, Bruno carved stones that virtually could not be copied.

Bruno created thousands of unique and wonderful miniature sculptures made of the most unusual gems. Several times a year he’d pack his creations in a duffy bag and get on a plane – to Switzerland, the USA, Hong Kong, Japan or Thailand – to meet jewelers, designers and consumers all over the globe.

Ring_033 copyIn the 1990s Bruno together with CADEAUX JEWELRY staged many exhibitions in Thailand. At these events his creations found new owners and Bruno was always on hand to present his creations to individual collectors. The one thing he’d never do was lower a price. If someone asked for a discount he’d tell the buyer: “If you bargain the price you cheapen your taste.”

CADEAUX JEWELRY acquired a number of Bruno Moser Stones in 1998 and worked many of them into unusual and absolutely unique pieces of jewelry. Some stones remain waiting to be turned into extraordinary pieces of jewelry.

Bruno passed away in August 2012. He is dearly missed but he will continue to speak to us through his beautiful gemstone sculptures.

The image on the left shows a newsletter published by Baechtold Limited in 1994 profiling Bruno Moser and his gemstones on the occasion of an exhibition held in Bangkok, Thailand.