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Chess is one of the world’s oldest games. The earliest versions of chess have been discovered as far back as the 7th Century in India. Over the centuries, the game was spread to nearby China and Persia, and eventually found its way to Europe, where it became what we recognize now as chess.
In the 21st Century, there has been a recent revival of unique, luxury chess sets; the game has once again returned to popularity with the success of media and pop culture, like the recent Netflix phenomenon The Queen’s Gambit. Given chess’s longstanding history , its ability to enthrall players in highly competitive, cerebral and tactical games will remain for centuries to come.
As a war battle strategy game, each type of piece has its own set of rules, and different ways that it can move. The goal has always remained the same; capture the opponent’s king piece.
There has been a recent revival of unique, luxury chess sets; the game has once again returned to popularity with the success of media and pop culture, like the recent Netflix phenomenon The Queen’s Gambit.
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As one of the first games that differentiated pieces by their moves, it was crucial for the pieces to be distinguishable, and representative of the characters in the game. The best chess sets needed iconic characters. As such, even the earliest pieces had ornate carvings and sculptural elements depicting the roles of King, Queen, Knight, Bishop, Rook and Pawn.
Over time and across the world, the pieces developed different aesthetics. For example, in the Middle East, pieces took on a more abstract or geometric look. Depictions of humans or animals were banned in the region under religious law. In Europe, the game was adopted by the upper class and royalty, and soon lavish, luxury chess sets were in every castle and royal hall throughout Europe.
The tradition of these gilded, hand-carved, jewel-set pieces has continued through today, and the world’s most luxurious, unique chess sets are still being created. These highly sought-after sets can go for 5, 6, or even 7 figures. Take a look at some of these lavish sets we’re loving now.
A modern take on the traditional pieces and board, this playful and beautiful luxury chess set by L’Objet is created from the finest of materials, including lacquered Macassar ebony wood, marble, brass and shell inlay. $1,795
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The ultra-luxurious equestrian fashion house has put their own spin on the classic, best chess set, offering a miniature, magnetized version of the game that is perfect for travel. This Mahogany-crafted set even includes a signature Hermes brindle leather strap. $2,400
Another centuries-old French crystal manufacturer, Baccarat has a beautiful chess set of hand-cut crystal pieces in clear and black for a special chess set created in collaboration with design icon Marcel Wanders. The round, bauble-shaped pieces are finished with tiny gold crowns and sit upon an inlaid marble chess board. $18,000
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Another luxuriously appointed minimalist set, the Ralph Lauren luxury chess set is sure to please anyone with an eye for craftsmanship. The leather-tiled board is stitched together by hand, and the sleek nickel and gold-plated pieces are high on style. $1,995
The luxury jewelry and homeware brand has, of course, crafted their own take on the traditional chess game. This one is crafted from sterling silver and 24k gold vermeil, making it one of the most precious and valuable luxury chess sets available. The thin, sleek cut pieces are handcrafted by Tiffany silversmiths and take a full year to create. $100,000