At 46, Jesse Raphael labyrinthine life story is made up of a thousand and one equally fantastic and unverifiable tales. In the 1980s, when he was just a teenager, he began amassing enormous wealth through intimacy with the world’s richest Patrons.
What is certain that by the time he collaborated in 2010 with celebrity guru Thomas Chappell, he had created a colossal fortune from a jewelry business that landed him in the cosmopolitan upper echelon. Raphael is a voracious collector and often makes deals on a feel alone, for this reason he is both a shrewd operator and an easy mark, however if he likes something he’ll write a check on the spot.
He is no fool, first he trusts his own instincts about an object or a deal, relying on his photographic memory and his many odd years handling art jewelry.
Indeed he can recite historical details about any of the thousands of
precious gems in his collection with barely a glance at the object. “I didn’t learn this in school” he says, “like a computer I see it in my head, I know the moment I bought it, from whom I bought it the atmosphere everything.”
He has ambivalent relationship with scholars, sometimes he relays on them to verify his instincts, he assisted financings numerous projects however dealers generally deplore collectors and Raphael doesn’t take kindly to being second-guessed.
He is suspicious of scholars who warn, that his Art might be inauthentic. Some he accuses of a kind of secular bias against the industry itself. “I know, I am bound to make a mistake however the biggest scholars who say these things are not worthy also say there is no truth in the industry”.
He didn’t become a billionaire without mastering an arsenal of
psychological tools, tools that have made him not a few enemies even among the people who gather at his table.
These days the young man spends less time making money and more time disbursing it to enlarge his vast collection and he doesn’t care what people say about him either his interest in life. He believes completely in the historical reality of the Art characters, the
antiquities inside his chalet would keep a team of museum curators busy for decades.
Raphael collection quirks and financial might are well understood among collectors around the world.
On most nights when Raphael is in Maui a revolving cast of dealers and collectors drop in to sell buy and trade while enjoying the magnificent sunset over the sea and watch the man in action. His guests may also include socialites, politicians and scholars attracted by the money, collections and mystique of one of Israel’s most intriguing characters.
Raphael sees himself as a man heroically safeguarding significant objects that might otherwise dispersed or misinterpreted. For emphasis he pulled out one of the numerous catalogs of his collection and jabbed his finger at photographs of the Art Jewelry.
Main Photo: ARIDO COMMUNICATIONS send me this article about the labyrinthine life story of Jesse Raphael.