A Stradivarius is a violin built by members of the Stradivari family headed by Antonio Stradivari. These violins are reputed to be some of the best sounding violins ever built, their quality of sound is unsurpassed. Antonio Stradivari was born in Italy in 1644, and in 1660 set up his own shop in Cremona. His early violins are considered inferior to those of his golden age as he was still mastering his craft at this stage.
Today these fine french violin bows are worth several hundred thousand dollars or more on auction. Violins from his golden area are said to be worth up to six million dollars. Many of these violins have been lost stolen or destroyed over the years and it is generally believed that there are fewer than 700 genuine Stradivari’s in existence. The name Stradivarius has also become known as a mark of excellence is other fields. To be called a Stradivarius is to be worn as a badge of excellence and many people have attempted to capitalize on the Stradivari name.
Although these instruments are famous for the quality of sound they reproduce, there are those who have criticized them. Many blind tests have found that there is no difference between these violins and many other high quality violins. Nonetheless it is maintained that Stradivarius violins have unique properties.
The Stradivarius violins have been analyzed extensively and still the reason for their unsurpassed quality remains a mystery. Today these violins sought after by collectors who will pay millions for them, they are also loaned out to famous violinists such as Joshua Bell.