In the world of fantastic and masterfully crafted collectors knives, there are many different aspects of a knife that can transform it from a great knife into something exceptional and worthy of being called a collectors item. Many knives possess more than one exceptional quality, but typically they are things such as having a highly refined base for the knife that can be iterated upon, the materials that were used to create the knife, and of course—the labor required to make the knife and confer any ornate qualities to it. Between all of those things, it’s easy to see why the time investment required to make one good custom knife costing a hefty chunk of change.
A type of collectors knife that tends to catch the most eyes right off the bat are art knives. And it is said that Buster Warenski was one of the greatest custom knife makers to grace the knife collecting world.
What are Art Knives?
As a loose definition: an art knife is a custom knife that is prominently featuring high intricate and ornate designs. You pretty much know an art knife when you see one, as they tend to be highly visually striking. For example, Bob Loveless is not someone you’d consider an art knife maker, his knives are what you might describe as the most exceptional ordinary knives you’ve seen.
I do not by any amount mean that as an insult, rather his knives look like something you could and would want to use. They take the basic concept of a knife and refine those constituent parts to the utmost. What this leaves you with is something extremely classy with a highly pleasurable tactile experience.
Art knives, on the other hand, look like the knife is the canvas for the art and a medium to convey that art. This could be something as “simple” as engravings on the knife or a print pattern on it, but it can also be the entirety of the knife, engravings, materials, form and all.
Buster Warenski’s Gem of the Orient
Buster Warenski’s Gem of the Orient is the most expensive custom knife ever made (pictured left). The knife was a project that took a decade to create—now that’s dedication to the craft! The value of the knife? $2.1 million. It costs this much not only for the incredible amount of time that went into creating it, but also the raw materials alone consist of 153 emeralds and 28 ounces of gold with 9 diamonds sprinkled in there for good measure. The handle of the knife has a gold filigree set over it to contrast the beautiful jade that lay underneath.
A true master of his trade, much of the work that was done on his knives was done solely by him such as engraving work and creating sheaths to accompany his creations. His wife, Julie Warenski—whom he met when he was teaching a class on engraving, was skilled at the work and after 1986 would aid him in his works that required it.
Rare Collectors Knives Online
The Exquisite Knives shop has been home to many custom knifemaking legends such as Warenski—though they seldom stay up there for long! At Exquisite Knives, we love all things regarding custom collectors’ knives from the type, the construction, the story behind the craft and so much more.
Visit the shop here and you’re sure to find something that catches your eye. Contact us today if you have any questions regarding a particular knife or if you’d like to know more about the name behind the knife—we love talking shop with all of our patrons because at the end of the day we’re all huge fans of custom knives.