Lots by Hemmerle at Sotheby's
Founded in 1893, Hemmerle is a fourth-generation family run jeweller known for its one-of-a-kind creations characterised by innovative material combinations and a dedication to craftsmanship and quality. Each jewel is layered with cultural references and is as original as a work of art. Today, Christian Hemmerle leads the company alongside his wife Yasmin and parents Stefan and Sylveli.
The Hemmerle family travel the world treasure hunting for intriguing stones and found objects to juxtapose with unusual metals and woods. Vibrant green emeralds are set in textured bronze; deep purple amethysts are framed in violet aluminum; pink hues come together in blush tourmalines, pale opals and rose sapphires set in copper; and repurposed objects range from ancient Egyptian artefacts to 18th century cameos, from micro-mosaics to curio from Japanese netsuke boxes. With little hierarchy given to materials, Hemmerle apply the same level of craftsmanship to using pebbles and moonstones as to diamonds and rubies.
Renowned for its distinct aesthetic, signature styles include structural pieces with geometric lines, the open-ended Harmony bangle with its seamless closure, necklaces hung with a luxuriant tassel and diamonds set upside down in reverse pavé spikes. Hemmerle blends the vocabulary of sculpture with the functional demands of jewellery design, and the unseen sophisticated engineering gives creations dynamic motion.
Hemmerle’s creative concept was sparked in the 1990s by a client who ‘detested flashy gems’ and wore early 19th century Berlin iron jewellery. Stefan Hemmerle decided to set a diamond in a ring of iron for her. The combination of a ‘common’ metal with a precious stone was unfamiliar, yet the iron band enhanced the diamond's beauty and spearheaded a new direction for Hemmerle.
At Hemmerle’s atelier, a converted townhouse in Munich, jewels are handcrafted onsite bringing multiple crafts from patina development to stone setting under one roof. Forgotten techniques like knitting cut stones in the round over silk have been revived and new processes are extensively experimented with, like anodising aluminium to create new colours. Over generations, a philosophy has developed that brings a belief in pushing the boundaries of design to the forefront of thinking and enquiry. Hemmerle set no limits on the time it takes to create a piece, often dedicating over 500 hours of craftsmanship to a single jewel.
In 2006, Die Neue Sammlung, Munich’s art and design museum, staged Myths: Jewels Today – Seen by Stefan Hemmerle, an exhibition of 145 Hemmerle jewels. Hemmerle is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Copper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. It produced the books Delicious Jewels (Prestel) in collaboration with food writer Tamasin Day-Lewis and Nature’s Jewels (MACK) in collaboration with poet Greta Bellamacina. In 2018, Hemmerle celebrated its 125th anniversary with two special projects: Hidden Treasures and Revived Treasures.