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"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." - Confucius

One of the most unconventional and most recognisable high-jewellery houses, Hemmerle exhibited for the first time at Design Miami/ Basel. Finally we got to see art, jewellery and design pieces in real life in Basel – so naturally, the booth of the Munich-based brand was the top on the list to visit. 

Art and contemporary art could be (and should be) pretty strong and disturbing sometimes. As I experience it on myself it is worth allocating enough time to such pieces and also to digest and let the message settle. 

So for me, to visit the Design Miami/ Basel fair – which was organised at the same time and same place as Art Basel, in the Hall 1 of Basel Messe – offers a slightly different viewing pleasure. The booths are more calm, the pieces are easier to take in and many times they are simply pure joy and beauty. 

Design Miami/Basel
Design Miami/Basel - booth view

Since I appreciate aesthetic, good proportions and craftsmanship very much, I find it somehow calming and reassuring to see these kinds of pieces. I can even relate to the saying of Gianni Agnelli (grandson of the founder of FIAT) – ‘I like beautiful things that are well made. I even believe aesthetics are equivalent to ethics. Something that is beautiful is ethical, and unethical things aren’t beautiful – from tax dodging to doing things in an underhand way. ‘

Design Miami/ is an international design fair, launched first in 2005 and founded by the London based design consultant and curator Ambra Medda and entrepreneur, real estate developer Craig Robins. The main goal of the show is to prove that design is as collection-worthy as art. There is a Basel, a Miami and a Shanghai edition (the first edition of Design Miami/ Podium in Shanghai is 4 – 14 November, 2021). These events feature selling-exhibitions of museum-quality 20th and 21st century furniture, lighting, and objets d’art from the world’s top, expertly vetted galleries. If you are a design fan but could not make it to any of the fairs, I strongly suggest you follow their online magazine, the Forum and live streamed Talks

Hemmerle 

The fifteenth edition of the fair welcomed Hemmerle for the first time. Their stand is the re-created version of what they are using at TEFAF for example – a great sculptural structure designed by the Dutch architect Tom Postma. The architecture, erected by intertwined walnut wood and aluminium rods, emphasises Hemmerle’s attraction to nature. 

The House showcased about 100 contemporary jewellery creations – pieces which are reflecting the family-owned company‘s dedication to craftsmanship, always looking for new techniques and the use and appreciation of very special or unusual materials. 

Many of the jewels are real show-stoppers but their artisans are designing many pieces destined to enjoy in your daily life. 

One of these creations are the Harmony bangles – the wife of Christian Hemmerle (the great-grandson of the founder of the fine jewellery house) is one of the most authentic ambassadors of the brand, wearing one piece of the already iconic Harmony bangle crafted in dark wood every day. 

The open-ended bangle celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2021, it remains just as a ‘forever-piece’ as when it was first created in 1991. Since then many different designs were created with different decorations, patterns and materials like ebony wood, iron, olive wood, bronze, copper, amber, aluminium and marble.

‘The Harmony bangle has always pushed us to be innovative, to experiment and rediscover what we thought we knew. It is anchoring so many milestones of what Hemmerle has achieved and as we evolved with our materials, the Harmony bangle evolved with us.’ – Christian and Yasmin Hemmerle

We saw another amazing version from 2021 – an aluminium and white gold one with diamonds, with the structure of concrete. 

Hemmerle Harmony bangle
Hemmerle Harmony bangle - aluminium and white gold with diamonds
Hemmerle Harmony bangle
Hemmerle Harmony bangle - aluminium and white gold with diamonds

Hemmerle is working on so called ‘projects’, like ‘Delicious Jewels’ or the [AL] Project – latter explores the unique properties of aluminium – a material very rarely used in high jewellery pieces – through innovative design and exquisite craftsmanship. 

Their jewellers often incorporate fragments of old jewellery or special elements – like artefacts, amulets or faiences – into contemporary models. Another project, the Revived Treasures was started in 2018 on the occasion of Hemmerle’s 125th anniversary. Layered with cultural and historical references, the Revived Treasures project is a body of work that pays homage to Egyptian civilization. 

The chain of the necklace is created with a special Austrian technique of knitting from the early 19th century. As Hemmerle describes, ‘each bead is hand-hewn and carved, hand-drilled, impeccably matched for colour, and often carefully calibrated and graduated to achieve a silky gem-mesh knitted in the round, on silk’. The centrepiece is made from two ancient artefacts from Egypt. 

Hemmerle necklace
Hemmerle necklace from the 'Revived Treasures' project

Jewellery with set stones in reverse pavé is still rare among high jewellery houses. Hemmerle has been reverse-setting gemstones for more than 15 years and creates very interesting, ‘spike-like’ pieces. The reverse pavé is not only very time-consuming and requires the utmost precision but the artisan has to understand the colours and hues of the gemstones very well. The earrings below are even more special – its design combines the reverse-setting with cabochon gems in order to create an attention-grabbing contrast.

Photo credits: Loupiosity.com.
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