Beautiful sculptures for the aesthete on your list

Technology has advanced so quickly in the last 20 years we take for granted that any machine or robot that will speed human production will be used, and that most goods on retail shelves are products of assembly line automation.

In the case of Lalique, you’d be wrong.

During a recent visit to Honolulu, Craig Zehms, national spokesperson for Lalique, said he was surprised when he first visited the renowned crystal maker’s Paris studios, where it still takes seven artists working together to create the house’s signature Grand Jardiniere Champs Elysees large bowl – inspired by the rows of trees lining the famed avenue – out of green and clear crystal.

It also takes about four artists to support the 40- to 45-pound weight of a Vase Passereaux Opale vessel during the glass-blowing process, a piece finished with finely chiseled sparrows in a limited edition of 188.

“It took five years to develop the molding process that went into this piece,” Zehms said.

Each Lalique work is created, he said, “out of a very dramatic process that we describe as ‘fire and ice.'”

The results are treasures that have withstood the test of time, since the late 1800s, when Rene Lalique gained renown for his elegant and romantic Art Nouveau designs.

Because of the fragile and unpredictable nature of the creative process, a good 14 percent to 20 percent of pieces never make it out of the studio.

From $295 perfume bottles to $23,000 floral vases, the rare nature of the collectible pieces make Lalique crystals a wonderful investment for those who care about their surroundings