How Hemmerle Has Propelled Its Heritage And History Into The 21st Century
The year is 1893. Thomas Edison constructs the world’s first motion picture studio in the United States. New Zealand grants women the right to vote. In Japan, Mikimoto Kōkichi cultivates the first cultured pearl. And in a quiet corner of Bavaria, history is made for another reason: brothers Anton and Joseph Hemmerle acquire a small Bavarian goldsmith, giving rise to what would become Hemmerle, now an internationally renowned, fourth-generation jeweller.
In 1900, the house exhibited a precious golden Bishop’s Cross at the World Exhibition in Paris that became a highlight of the show and garnered one of its top prizes. Hemmerle went on to supply papal medals to the Vatican and, from 1905, earned exclusive rights to make the Bavarian Maximilian Order, awarded for excellence in the arts and sciences.
Hemmerle ring in iron and white gold set with a more than 12 carat D/ IF diamond (Photo: Courtesy of Hemmerle)
Hemmerle earrings in aluminium and gold set with diamonds, from The [AL] Project (Photo: Courtesy of Hemmerle)
Third generation Stefan Hemmerle, who assumed control in 1970, has been instrumental in preserving not only his family’s heritage, but also the skillset of its artisans. The house revived a 19th-century Austrian technique involving hand-carved and drilled gem beads woven and knitted together to create a mesh effect.
Hemmerle and his wife, Sylveli, who joined the company in 1995, sought to expand their presence overseas. Hemmerle made its debut at TEFAF in Maastricht in 1995, and has since exhibited at other prestigious fairs, including at Palm Beach in Florida and PAD and Masterpiece in London.
It was during this time that Hemmerle designs began to push boundaries. Precious gems were juxtaposed with more unconventional materials like aluminium, copper and wood. The notion of value was turned on its head—the focus was less on monetary value and more on aesthetic integrity.
Hemmerle Harmony bangle in bronze and white gold set with over 1,400 emeralds weighing a total of 94 carats (Photo: Courtesy of Hemmerle)
Hemmerle earrings in aluminium and white gold set with sapphires (Photo: Courtesy of Hemmerle)
Hemmerle earrings in stainless steel and white gold set with aquamarines weighing over 33 carats each )(Photo: Courtesy of Hemmerle)
With its recognisable aesthetic, Hemmerle seeks to create one-of-a-kind high jewellery symbolic not only of the brand, but the women who wear it. Across languages, cultures, ages and backgrounds, Hemmerle women share certain characteristics—they are, like the jewellery itself, understated, powerful and confident. Perhaps nowhere is this as clear as the Harmony Bangle, an open-ended piece with a seamless closure that’s seen several incarnations through the years. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the bangle is an example of creativity and craftsmanship that has stood the test of time. The Harmony Bangle features in the permanent collections of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, while the Bishop’s Cross is part of the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
With Hemmerle’s son, Christian, and his wife, Yasmin, joining the company in 2006, two generations now work in partnership, and the brand’s signature craftsmanship has evolved to reflect the moments when inspiration strikes.
A trip to Cairo, where Yasmin’s family is from, inspired both the Egyptian Story and Revived Treasures collections, celebrating the ancient civilisation’s reverence of jewels. A previous project, Delicious Jewels, brought to life a vegetable-inspired collection and featured a book published in collaboration with food writer Tamasin Day-Lewis. The [AL] Project reflects the brand’s appreciation of unorthodox materials. Through a process called anodising, rich hues are created to both complement and contrast the natural beauty of coloured gemstones. Each design is made at the atelier and can take seasoned craftsmen more than 500 hours to complete, which is why the brand releases only 200 pieces each year.
The Hemmerle boutique opened its doors on the prestigious Maximilianstrasse in Munich in 1904, where the house has retained a presence for more than a century. While the beauty of a Hemmerle design speaks for itself, it is best appreciated in person. Private appointments can be arranged anywhere in the world (or held online when travel is unmanageable).
In its storied, 128-year history, Hemmerle has grown from a small family-run jeweller and purveyor to the Bavarian crown to a globally recognised brand that bridges tradition with innovation. Four generations have been continually inspired to interpret their surroundings in new and innovative ways as the brand’s identity has evolved, all the while retaining its reverence for its heritage—a trait likely to be passed down for generations to come.
Learn more about Hemmerle here