Nicolai Medvedev is a master of intarsia, a labor-intensive form of lapidary art that flourished in western Europe during the 18th century. Medvedev began reviving this intricate method of mosaic over two decades ago using modern technology and the finest gem materials. Whether creating delicate pendants or magnificent boxes lined with exotic woods, Medvedev demonstrates an unrivaled degree of accuracy and precision in his work which, coupled with a remarkable eye for color and design, produces breathtaking results.
Medvedev began his formal art training at the age of twelve and continued for fourteen years, including several years of impressionist painting at the prestigious Art Institute of Moscow. An interest in Middle Asian jewelry, with its inlays and gemstone overlays, and the Faberge-style craftsmanship he discovered at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg led him to try his hand at intarsia. Since immigrating to the United States in 1980, he has focused entirely on intarsia, developing his own approach and techniques, and is now widely considered to be one of the world's premier intarsia artists. Medvedev was born and raised in Ashkhabad, Turkmenia, a Russian city near Iran known for centuries as a source of beautiful jewelry and colorfully patterned carpets. He considers these handicrafts to be the greatest influence on his designs though the culture, architecture, arts, and daily life of the many regions he has visited provide inspiration as well.
Because intarsia involves such a high degree of intricacy and is created on such a small scale, the amount of concentration and time involved in producing one piece is incredible. Though usually in the midst of several pieces at once, Medvedev averages a few months of work on a smaller box while a larger box may take him up to two years to complete working 60 to 80 percent of that time.
Medvedev's art has been displayed extensively, including exhibits at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art in Chicago, and the Gems and Minerals Hall of the Smithsonian Musem of Natural History in Washington, D.C. His talent and work is recognized by collectors worldwide and can be found in private collections including those of several royal families. In 1991 he won first place in the category Objects of Art in the American Gem Trade Association's prestigious Cutting Edge Competition. He has been featured in numerous international publications including articles in Lapidary Journal, Rock and Gem, and Gems and Gemology.