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

With its novel collection, Hemmerle perfumes the fresh in-person TEFAF 2022 with the relaxing scent of a herb garden. Rose, rosemary, lemon balm, cinnamon, lavender and other messengers of nature provided the inspiration for the unique jewellery and spread a healing atmosphere in Maastricht.

On the way to Hemmerle’s workshops in Munich, I caught myself pondering again how much I missed exercising the freedom I had formerly taken for granted. Ever since I was a child, travelling has been natural to me and served as a great source of curiosity, joy and excitement. I firmly believe that at the level of scientific and civil development in the 21st century, we get more freedom even by consciously setting the framework of living around goals like sustainability. The obviously disturbing and nefarious events of the past two years have been burdensome and to cope with it I unwittingly hunted for everything beautiful, sensible and meaningful.

And while we systematically damage it, hardly anything helps to heal the wounded soul as much as nature – okay, probably art too. Even to me as a city-girl, the amazing shapes, colours and patterns of the myriads of species, the mighty expanse of forests, waters and mountains, or the scent of the flora and the fascinating behaviour of the fauna have been a refuge. Although probably hardly anything will save us from ourselves, I love the projects that showcase how the 21st century lifestyle can be realised (and even enhanced) without completely eviscerating the environment. For this reason, I like the approach and designs of the Danish Bjarke Ingels Group, such as the recently announced redefinition of Zurich Airport’s Dock A, made out of local timber (imagine the fantastic spatial experience before taking off!) while generating two-thirds of the electricity by itself.

Being influenced so much by nature, Christian and Yasmin Hemmerle were looking for a similar experience when in 2016 they hired Dutch Tom Postma to design their booth at TEFAF and he got approximately 3,000 intertwined walnut wood pieces and 16,500 aluminium rods floating above the surface within the late-’80s MECC exhibition hall.

 

“It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little.”
– Oscar Wilde, De Profundis 1897

With this thought starts the beautiful storybook that supplements and introduces Hemmerle’s new collection. Illustrated by Rosanna Tasker, Greta Bellamacina’s writing tells a tale about a little girl Bee, who lives with her Granny in the grey concrete city of Algorython, in an environment where the colours, flowers and bird tweets are totally forgotten and it’s constantly raining. When Bee gets sick, Granny mentions to her some healing flowers and herbs she used to grow in a park before the city ‘designed by numbers’ swallowed it. Wanting to cultivate plants herself, Bee puts seedlings in empty sea shells. Her garden spreads first to the balcony followed by an empty scrap-yard next to their building. Initially Bee and Granny’s lunch area, the yard, becomes a place where people from different cultures living in the neighbourhood meet and sing songs.

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Hemmerle 'Infused Jewels' book, illustrated by Rosanna Tasker and with Greta Bellamacina’s writing

Bee’s story rings true with what Yasmin Hemmerle said about how the jeweller has overcome the past two years. From the greyness of lockdowns and social distancing she wanted to escape by creating a Hemmerle herb garden that brings purpose and joy, and puts the upset mind at ease. With the workshop’s artisans they not only designed 13 unique herb ‘Infused Jewels’ but took a broader approach to it and collaborated with carefully selected local workshops for a more comprehensive experience.

Part of it is the imaginative story book which makes even the ‘efficacy-obsessed, number worrying’ grown up halt for a moment to think about what we should surround ourselves with. The drawings are cute and are in aesthetic unity with the second chapter’s encyclopaedic botanic illustrations that depict the 13 jewellery pieces and their floral inspirations: rosemary, cinnamon, orange blossom, rose, strawberry, lemon balm, perennial coneflower, cornflower, verbena, lemon myrtle, ginger flower, lavender, and linden blossom. 

Each piece is accompanied by a herbal tea blend prepared from the above ingredients specially for Hemmerle by city fellow micro business Kräutergarten München

The refreshing Infused Jewels tea blend is handed over to clients in a spectacular container, made individually for each piece by the 275 years young Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufacture. For each unique jewellery piece, the herb inspiration is hand painted on the porcelain jar. 

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Nymphenburg Porzellan, sample with test painting for Hemmerle porcelain jar

Don’t be confused by the great heritage of the manufacture. Nymphenburg Porcelain creates some of the coolest tableware and home decor, including figurines, tiles and even sinks. They work with designers like the Argentinian Ruth Gurvich, whose paper vases the manufacture casted in porcelain – can you distinguish the paper from the porcelain in the photo below (taken at Homo Faber 2022)? Or Michael Pendry, whose 470 piece bisque porcelain Doves spread the message of Art For Peace in the foyer of the Marathon Oil Tower in Houston, Texas. Nymphenburg also has a preference for inviting different visual artists, such as Ralph Rucci (fashion), Wim Delvoye (neo-conceptual artists), Naoki Takizawa (fashion) and Vivienne Westwood (fashion) to reinterpret the centuries-old figures of Franz Anton Bustelli (active in Nymphenburg between 1754-1763). Of course, the manufacture continues to create astonishing tableware characteristic of the time periods throughout its long existence.

Beyond the tea jar, artisans of Nymphenburg also created the white petals of Hemmerle’s Orange Blossom piece from bisque porcelain.

The 13 Infused Jewels

The unique world of Hemmerle has always attracted me. I love how the gemstones never take control of the design – more like form an organic unity with the rest of the piece. The manufacture realises sometimes astounding ideas, like setting diamonds upside down, creating large brooches depicting a spider or a moth, setting gemstones on metals like iron or now with the new collection, setting a large diamond on two cinnamon sticks. Yes, you can actually enjoy the gentle scent of the spice while wearing it. On the Lavender earrings they made the aluminium, bronze and white gold frame hollow and openable in order to let you fill it with lavender flowers and smell it while the jewel is rocking on your ears. 

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Hemmerle 'Infused Jewels', Lavender - aluminium, bronze, white gold and tanzanites

The pieces of the Infused Jewels were presented to us before the TEFAF at a dinner in Hemmerle Atelier’s private showroom. The jewellery was laid out on the table throughout the evening as part of the magical floral table ornament. The dinner was prepared by chef Thi Nguyen from Brasserie Thi using the same herbal ingredients for the dishes. 

The ingenious details of the jewellery as well as the well-thought-out collaborations show the holistic designing approach of Hemmerle perfectly. They embarked on this creation process to retain sanity in this insane period, but I am sure that the garden they grew will get people to marvel and halt for a while, and eventually make our ‘Algorython’ a more colourful place too. 

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Hemmerle 'Infused Jewels', Orange Blossom - aluminium, bronze, pearls, demantoids, white and yellow gold, and bisque porcelain made by Nymphenburg Porzellan

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