A priceless masterpiece

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The ORF contribution to the Scythians

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The most expensive rifle in the world

Franz Schmölzer and Franz Nott have never allowed a camera in their workshop before. They have been working there for 40 years on what is probably the most expensive rifle in the world. Almost five kilograms of gold have already been processed. After 60,000 hours of work, it’s still not over.

Five kilograms of gold used so far

Five kilograms of gold have been used so far. All the figures and scenes that adorn the rifle are based on a 4,000-year-old necklace worn by the Scythians, who lived in Russia as nomadic riders. The master engraver aims to capture this perfection and make the impossible possible, also with the help of special magnifying glasses. Schmölzer: “Fine gold is driven into steel and modeled at the same time. There are easily over 1,000 motifs on the entire rifle. I’ve been there for practically 40 years. Once you’re there, you can’t let go. I hope to finish next year.” Some parts are still to be made, said Schmölzer, such as the hunting sling and the rifle case, “there will be a few more hours to come”.

Most expensive knife around 300,000 euros

And while the hunting rifle, which costs several million euros, is being made in one part of the workshop, master goldsmith Nott is working on the most expensive knife in the world on the other side. Value: 300,000 euros. With passion comes perfection, Nott says: “The routine allows you to say you put a hole in the ivory and hardly anything happens. But if you got bogged down, you would have a big problem, because I can’t make up for that. With gold you could solder something to it. That’s no longer possible with ivory.”

Still a few hundred hours of work needed

With the help of a private sponsor, the rifle, knife and storage box can be completed. The world-famous knife maker Thomas Schurian is responsible for marketing the hunting rifle, which costs several million euros. He has contacts with celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vladimir Putin. A few hundred hours of work are still needed before the weapon is ready. A camera team is now accompanying the final work.

Still need one to two kilograms of gold"

Schurian: “We found a financier who gives us the opportunity to buy another one to two kilograms of gold to complete the project, and I’m trying to be the mastermind behind the marketing. But the real artists sit next door. I’m allowed to accompany it and try to get people to see it who understand and respect what arts and crafts mean in Austria.”

One more look, then the precious parts will go back into the bank safe until the weapon is assembled next year.

Original and rights at ORF: https://kaernten.orf.at/stories/3125630/

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