Yasmin Hemmerle Pays Tribute To Her Egyptian Heritage With A Sea Urchin-Inspired Jewellery Collection
As a child, I spent numerous summers with my family holidaying along the Red Sea Riviera. Famous for its ancient rock art and breathtaking ruins, it’s also where you’ll find some of Egypt’s best diving hotspots, and it’s where I first discovered the weird and wonderful sea urchin. These creatures have razor-sharp teeth that chomp through stone, carving out hideaways on rocky shores. They also have spiny shells smothered in spikes to ward off predators.
They look tough and aggressive, but every now and then their brittle spines break off to reveal pastel-coloured shells that come in soothing shades of amethyst, apricot and baby blue. To me, sea urchins represent the life cycle of transformation. They repeatedly regenerate. There’s something beautifully symbolic about that, something we’ve been trying to incorporate into our work at Hemmerle.
We haven’t designed parures, or full sets of matching jewellery, for more than 50 years. The reason behind this is that we pride ourselves on creating unique jewels that can be mixed and matched in various ways. However, in a rare development, we’ve been inspired to launch a sea urchin-inspired demi-parure that includes a bracelet, earrings and a ring.
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A single Hemmerle jewel can take up to 500 hours to create, and we unveil about 200 pieces each year. Sea urchins remind me to never judge a book by its cover, and this complements Hemmerle’s attitude towards jewellery design. Our creations are often centred around an artefact or stone, and we experiment with unconventional materials such as hand-sculpted aluminium to bring out beauty in unlikely circumstances.
Nature has always inspired us, but this new demi-parure marks the first time we’ve used so many different coloured diamonds, which are set into anodised aluminium. When I think about these jewels, I’m amazed by each piece’s numerous layers, which bring energy and life into this unusual collection. Each piece is incredibly complex but looks simple.
It’s also hugely meaningful that I’m able to impart some noteworthy memories from my childhood into our jewellery. I’m Egyptian, and incredibly proud of my country’s culture. My husband Christian and I now take our son to visit the Red Sea Riviera and, as a company, we’re fascinated by other cultures and civilisations. We travel around the world treasure-hunting for rare stones and materials. Our interaction with people from different cities heavily influences our work.
I always dreamt of working alongside my husband and hoped we’d one day build something inspirational together. We met in London as university students, and both joined his family’s business in 2006. Throughout the years, I have learnt to be bold and take risks. We collaborate with my parents-in-law to create jewellery that’s unique, and we set no limits on what can spark our imagination.
This is an ongoing series in which we ask jewellery experts to weigh in on industry trends, innovation and more. Yasmin Hemmerle is part of the fourth generation that leads family jeweller Hemmerle.
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