Luxury Chess Sets
Before the introduction in mid nineteenth century London of the wooden Staunton chess set design, chess sets were almost all luxury items reserved for the very wealthy. The new design could be created from a variety of woods and other materials, and made it possible for many more individuals to purchase a chess set.
The early Staunton chess pieces were carved in London from ebony and boxwood and modern Staunton wood chess sets are made in a variety of woods and styles, all acceptable for tournament play. What distinguishes an acceptable standard from the very finest wooden chess pieces is the beauty and rarity of the woods in the latter, as well as the quality and intricacy of the carving. Manufacturers together with designers are forever seeking to create unique and even more beautiful chess sets. Queening it!
A luxury set will more than likely contain four queens to fulfill the need for a second queen when a player succeeds in taking one of his pawns to the other side of the board; that is if he or she has not already sacrificed the first queen in a noble cause or through sheer carelessness, when a queen on the opponent’s side of the board can be a huge asset!
Luxury Chess Pieces
Luxury designer chess sets can come with a huge price tag. The modernist architect Frank Gehry, who designed the iconic fish sculpture for the Barcelona Olympics has also designed jewellery for Tiffany & Co. They commissioned a chess set that on first sight looks like an intricate paper sculpture reminiscent of Gehry’s buildings. It is in fact created from fine bone china. At $25,000 and made to order, this set will probably have to spend its life in a glass display case and be cleaned by well-insured specialists – never used for a game of chess!
Ralph Lauren is a name most would associate with sleek design and high-class luxury. The Ralph Lauren Hammond Chess Set is ultra minimalist, with pieces made of shiny, nickel-plated metal, all uniform diameter cylinders of varying heights and simple, symbolic heads. The accompanying board is also nickel, blackened for the dark squares, set on a cabinet base which houses a leather lined drawer to keep the pieces in pristine condition when not in use. A perfect gift for the man who has everything: a snip at $2,000.
Small luxury chess sets
Most traditional wood luxury chess pieces tend to be large; their grandness on display in a home or office will make a great impression. When you hunt out a luxury chess set the king size is more often then not about 4 inches high. There is also a demand for luxury chess pieces that will fit a smaller board for a smaller space in the home, or an existing antique or family heirloom.
Limited Edition Designer Chess sets
Many luxury and designer chess sets will be labeled “Limited Edition” and come with a numbered certificate of authenticity. Everyone to his or her own taste of course, as with any ornament or artifact you purchase for your home, the words “Designer” or “Limited Edition” do not automatically imply quality or high value to your purchase. Many limited edition chess sets can be purchased for less than $200 and many of these fall into the bracket of “novelty” sets. If you love the look, and it’s what you want to own, whatever else is written to describe it, just consider it as something with your name on it, not necessarily as an object of artistic merit that will accrue in value because of its rarity or creator.