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Design Portfolio: Second Nature

Nature’s Jewels collection by Hemmerle appears to have been foraged in the woods rather than cast in a workshop...

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Unlike most jewelry inspired by flowers and other flora, the Nature’s Jewels collection by Hemmerle (www.hemmerle.com) appears to have been foraged in the woods rather than cast in a workshop. An autumnal oak brooch of blackened silver and gold, for example—complete with weathered leaves slightly nibbled by insects—looks as if it were discovered on a forest floor, while another brooch in the shape of a cluster of rose hips might have been plucked from a late-summer garden, though in fact its buds are sculpted in matte copper and gold and capped with delicate diamonds. The 16-piece collection­—which debuts at the TEFAF Maastricht art and antiques fair in March, with prices starting at $50,000—portrays the organic beauty of fruits, plants, and seeds with a degree of realism seldom seen in fine jewelry. Christian Hemmerle, who represents the fourth generation of his family to run the Munich-based business, created the collection with his wife, Yasmin; his parents, Stefan and Sylveli; and a team of metalsmiths who employed sculpting, burnishing, and sandblasting techniques. A restrained scattering of gemstones artistically combined with ordinary materials, such as copper, bronze, and aluminum, has become a signature of Hemmerle’s aesthetic, which places greater emphasis on the color and texture of elements than on their monetary value. The one-of-a-kind pieces in this collection show the family’s design sensibility in full flower.

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