The fourth-generation Hemmerle heir discusses the high jewellery brand’s legacy and what inspired him to bring the Munich-based family crest to Asia
The Hemmerle brothers, Joseph and Anton, created a new world order in 1893 when they purchased a local goldsmith’s well-established enterprise, which produced medals and orders of merit for Munich’s nobility. The renowned Bavarian Royal Family was among their list of elite clientele. Soon after that, they began experimenting with different materials and metals to develop a novel approach to making antique jewellery.
Christian Hemmerle, who leads the business with his wife Yasmin, added to his family’s long history of notable achievements with a visit to Hong Kong. This was a significant event for the Munich-based maison because it was their first step towards opening a boutique in Asia. As we spoke to the Hemmerle heir about the exciting news, he shared memories of his youth, gave us some advice on how to choose the right piece of high jewellery, and reflected on his fears—all over a cup of steaming tea.
What made you decide to open a Hemmerle boutique in Asia? And why Hong Kong?
I was born in Germany, studied in London, lived in New York and married an Egyptian, who did not speak a word of German when we met. So, we are an international couple, rather than German. When we thought of the Asian collector space, Hong Kong felt like the logical place to start. Yasmin and I have a special bond with Hong Kong: we spent our honeymoon here 16 years ago.
How do you see Hemmerle’s Asian presence developing in the next five years?
I would say it’s a growing collector space. You know, we are a small firm, and our best advertisement is our clients. Since we have a growing collector base, our clients will come with their friends, followed by their friends. I see the [Hemmerle] name widely distributed throughout the Asian countries and their communities, and that’s how I see the brand grow in the region.
What are you most excited about and what are you most afraid of about the move into Asia?
I am not [an easily] scared person. I think we live in a wonderful time where we have the amazing ability to reach people around the globe while remaining a family business. These are huge opportunities that we have that our parents’ generation didn’t have.
Are Asian jewellery collectors any different from those in Europe?
I don't like to discriminate by passport. I think real collectors understand when they see something great in their field; it doesn’t matter whether you come from Hong Kong, Singapore or the Middle East.
What tips would you give collectors who are new to investing in high jewellery?
When I was in India, a salesperson taught me something [important]: he said, “If you buy cheap, you cry all the time. If you buy something expensive, you cry once.” It is so true. If you buy quality, you will enjoy it for a very long time. So that is my advice. Get something which can be a classic of tomorrow, instead of just following a trend; like an evergreen heirloom that you can pass on from one generation to another.