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All jewelry can sparkle, but the unique and often fantastical haute joaillerie by the German house of Hemmerle is a cut above. On this episode, Dan speaks with Christian and Yasmin Hemmerle, the dynamic couple and the fourth generation to run the brand from its headquarters in Munich. The trio discuss the company’s storied legacy as a supplier to the Vatican and the Bavarian court, how it elevates unusual materials, and why some Hemmerle pieces can take up to six hundred hours to create.
Yasmin Hemmerle: I think it’s how you wear it. I think jewelry should never wear you. You should wear it. You don’t want earrings pinching your ears and you want to take them off, or a ring that’s itchy, or a bracelet that just feels too tight. You want it to become a part of you. You want your jewelry to live with you. You want it to become a part of you. Our creations are being worn and enjoyed daily and not being put away in a safe and just coming out for a special event. It needs to become a part of your life.
Dan Rubinstein: Hi, I’m Dan Rubinstein and this is the Grand Tourist. I’ve been a design journalist for nearly 20 years and this is my personalized guided tour through the worlds of fashion, art, architecture, food, and travel. All the elements of a well-lived life.
If you were to name some of the most exquisite jewelers in the world — Cartier, Tiffany, Van Cleef — you’d find them all in predictable places like Paris and New York, and often, now, part of large luxury conglomerates, but not the fourth-generation family-run house of Hemmerle. My guests today, Christian and Yasmin Hemmerle, are based in Munich. Together, they run one of the most delightfully unique brands in the world.
Christian’s family took over a goldsmithing business in 1893 that had been in operation since 1796, and in the 125 years since, the family has had a legacy of craft, precision, and originality that today remains one of the few such houses in family control. In the late 1800s, the company became a supplier to the Bavarian royal court, and in the early 20th century, a supplier to the Vatican. These most regal of clients have meant thousands and thousands of medals and such, keeping the house alive and well throughout the generations. But it was Christian’s father, Stefan, in 1970, who took over the company and began turning the traditional goldsmith and dealer into the fashion-forward brand that it is today. In 2006, Christian and his wife, and Egyptian native, Yasmin, entered the picture.
Hemmerle can be found at their headquarters in Munich, of course, but also at various art fairs around the world, including TEFAF in Maastricht, where I first came across their creations in person. And what creations they are. Far from the expected, they’re known for their inventive use of materials, such as iron, copper, and even wood. No two pieces are alike, and some of their better-known collections have included snail broaches made from diamonds and real snail shells, an example of which was shown at the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York, or green leafy earrings from their recent Infused Jewels collection, made from aluminum. More on that later. But most fans might know them today for their super-wearable Harmony bangle, first created in 1991. Simple in shape but sophisticated in construction, it’s become a house signature. I caught up with Christian and Yasmin from their headquarters in Munich to chat about their design process, Hemmerle’s amazing history, what the next generation of collectors are looking for, and how some of their more extraordinary works can take up to 600 hours to produce.
Yasmin and Christian, thank you so much for speaking with me. The house began more than 125 years ago when your great-great-grandfather purchased a goldsmithing company that itself was in operation since the late 18th century. What do you know about that early sale? Why did it happen?
Christian Hemmerle: I mean, the word purchase, and I think that’s the amazing introduction to my family’s history, is something we look at it today, 150 years ago, it was more who takes care of my company and who continues my legacy. And my great-great-grandfather actually did it in a very Hemmerle style. And what is the Hemmerle style? He took over the place he worked for, which was a couple called Elchinger, and he asked his brother to join him, and they took their sweet time to incorporate. So we found, when we looked at the old documents, they incorporated only a year and a half after they started to actually work. So they work before they did the paperwork, which is a lot like what we do today. We are more an artistic company.
We did a lot of research of the past, and when we looked into my family’s history, we found out that the people who ran the company before my great-grandfather, they actually had taken over from a person who had taken it over. So, the workshop can be traced back to 1796, and I think that’s something fantastic, that we continued that legacy and that one element of what they’ve done, which is making the medals for the Bavarian royal family. We still continue to today’s day.
I mean, we talk about these medals. What kind of medals from the royal family and from Bavaria were created at the time? What sort of things were needed?
Christian Hemmerle: They are many. I mean, I only found out later, but I think my great-grandfather must have produced in the hundred thousands.
Oh, wow. Okay.
Christian Hemmerle: So, they were given to many, many people. I mean, especially for military reasons, at the time. But the Bavarian king was strong in having a parade and having reasons to be a king. But it was more to decorate people. So, there were very different versions of it. And later on, we did medals also for the Vatican. So there were merits given, people loyal to the court, and so I think it was a big business model.
Yasmin, when you first met Christian and started to get involved in this amazing company, when you think back to that sort of heritage, what stands out to you, as someone who knows the world of jewelry so well and has such a passion for it?
Yasmin Hemmerle: I don’t know if I know it so well, but I’ve always loved jewelry, and Christian and I have met at university, so that’s a very, very long time ago. We met in 2002, and when I later found out that Christian’s family was into jewelry-making and he told me Hemmerle, I was shocked that I didn’t know it. And I said, “How can I not know it?” Jewelry has been a passion not only of mine, but it comes from both my mother and my paternal grandmother, my maternal grandmother, I think everyone, jewelry’s been something that we’ve all loved. And I don’t know if it comes from the tradition of being Egyptian and that jewelry’s always been a part of everyday life.
So, when I heard about Hemmerle, I was very intrigued. And when I saw the very first piece, I’ll never forget, it had wood and it was a Harmony bangle, and I was so fascinated not only by the combination of the materials, but also by the craftsmanship. It’s the Harmony bangle, if you’ve never seen it, it has a hidden hinge which twists the bangle, so you can open it by twisting it and then slowly putting your arm in. And I was amazed. I’m like, “Wow, how can you even make something like this?” And after that, I was introduced to many more pieces of Hemmerle, and I fell in love with each and every piece because each and every piece was so different and so individual. It had a lot of character and strength and it was practically like an object by itself.
And so you guys met in university. Where did you meet in university? What is the story of how you guys met?
Yasmin Hemmerle: We met in London and we went to…the university was called the European Business School, and we called it was the University of Life. I grew up in Cairo and moved to London because my brother lived in London and my parents were hesitant to have me go out into the world and be all by myself, and so I was also very happy to have my brother with me. And just six months later, Christian and I met, and we’ve been together, yes, ever since. So we’ve gone through a lot together.
Let’s say I had met you guys in person at the TEFAF art fair recently, where you guys have shown for quite some many years. Yasmin, how do you explain Hemmerle to someone who walks in completely fresh? They wander into the booth and they go, “What is this?” How do you introduce yourself to them?
Yasmin Hemmerle: So, when I first started working for Hemmerle, I had done an internship for a diamond dealer in Paris before. And since a child, I used to be going to this diamond dealer with my father and I was very lucky to always see the most beautiful diamonds and get to choose some things. But later, when I started working for Hemmerle, I remember it was actually just after our honeymoon, there was a trade show and I was there with my father-in-law and Christian, and I asked them, “So, what are we looking for?” And they both looked at me and they said, “We’re not looking for anything.” I said, “You can’t mean we’re all the way in Hong Kong and we’re not looking for anything? Doesn’t make any sense.” They’re like, “When you see, you will know.” It sounded very absurd to me, and now, looking back at it, I can understand why they said that. There are certain stones and certain materials that kind of speak to you.
So I say at Hemmerle, we put on our shoes and then we get dressed, because we do not create, we do not make a design and then try to put the stone into the design. We create around the stone. So, the stone is always the center point and the start of the inspiration. I would say that Hemmerle has a language that is an unspoken language, in a way, especially when buying certain stones or materials. If you would take my father-in-law, my husband, myself, and somebody else to a fair today or show us 10 different stones, 20 different stones, we will all come out individually having chosen the same ones.
I think that’s where Hemmerle is very different, is that the starting point is always the stone and we create around it. And also by not limiting yourself to a certain…we’re not trying to fit into a box. You grow up, you can do this, you can’t do that. Why can’t a circle be put into a square? Or does it have to be separate? And I think that’s the biggest advice my father-in-law ever gave us. He’s like, “Don’t try and think if it’s right or wrong, because it might be right, it might be wrong, but in creation, there is no right and wrong.” So that’s the language and that’s what I picked up the most. And also, that time, taking your time to create something, you need to give it all the time it needs.
Yeah. And then Christian, how would you describe this kind of Hemmerle language?
Christian Hemmerle: I guess what Yasmin said, we are about…or, my dad and my mother, who started to move away from what my ancestors or what my great-grandparents and grandparents did, they wanted, unintentionally, to create a language. They said they would like to be recognized for their work. And my father always compares to, not that we compare ourselves, but he said, “You know Picasso, if you send a little child to a museum and you send him over and over again, after a certain time, he will be able to identify Picasso.” My dad wanted that our language, our design, has one red thread so that not everybody, but people who have seen Hemmerle, can identify our work as Hemmerle. And I think that’s our biggest achievement over the last 40 years I that, really, our works can be identified as ours, and that has been a natural process.
When people come to us first, how do I describe it? I think we’re multifaceted, because we’re famous for using different materials. We use iron, we use copper, we use brass, we use, obviously, gold, because we’re a goldsmith. And we don’t use these materials for the sake of using them, but actually for finding the perfect home for each gem. So to go back to what Yasmin said, we start around the gem. We try to create the perfect home. We try to create a wearable piece of jewelry, because we’re a small firm. We don’t do big advertising campaigns, so our pieces are our biggest ambassadors.
And so, Christian, what is that design process like with you guys? Obviously, if you have this language, there must be something unique.
Christian Hemmerle: It’s a creative mess.
It’s a creative mess?
Christian Hemmerle: It’s a creative mess.
How do you describe this creative mess that is continually happening over and over again that produces such beautiful pieces? What is that language—
Christian Hemmerle: I think it’s the toolbox. It’s the toolbox. It’s traveling, finding the right gemstones or getting the right gemstones offered, collecting them. Sometimes not knowing what to do with them for years, I think, is a strong suit of ours. Sometimes we buy a gem, we put it in the vault, sometimes don’t look at it for years, we forget it, and then we take it out and then we have the right idea, and that stew. When we are excited, we feel the client will be excited. So, when you’re not excited, you need to understand to put it away again and to rethink it. I had once, or not had, but had this very interesting discussion with another creative person in a very different field, and they said to me, “Christian, we only like to do something when all the domino pieces fall perfectly into each other.” And I think that’s the right advice. When you feel something isn’t working out, put it away. It’s going to come back to you.
And I think that is one of an amazing ingredient we have here is that obviously, we have pressure, but that we take the liberty to put that pressure aside and to make a piece when we know it’s great. Because when we’re all convinced, it’s really teamwork. My parents have been strongly involved, Yasmin, myself, and our team, and all the craftsmen. Then you are able to create something so exciting that that magic, that energy, will be transported in a heartbeat to everybody who looks at our jewelry. And I think if that recipe works out, then the rest is not a problem.
Before this sort of modern era, your father took over at the company in the late ’60s, I think in the late ’60s, ’70s. What was the company like when he took over? I mean, obviously, I think that was when he was trying to struggle to evolve this very traditional company into as a pure jewelry house rather than a goldsmith that would make medals and honors and things like that. Can you describe what that was like at the time?
Christian Hemmerle: I mean, my dad started very young. My dad started in the early ’70s to fully work for his parents, and he was supposed to get more work experience, but my grandfather was in bad health, and so he called him and said, “Stefan, you have to start now.” And so my dad only had nine months with my grandfather, and he took over a business who was more a dealer with an attached workshop. So, we’ve moved in 1903 in our today’s premises on Maximilianstrasse in Munich, which is the premier high street. But we’ve only really made contemporary jewelry since the late ’70s. My grandparents and great-grandparents obviously next to making these ornaments had challenging times. There were two world wars. There was a pandemic, the Spanish flu. There were all these different obstacles. And especially my grandfather, they were really more dealers in silver and in objects and there were certain pieces which were commissioned to them by the royalties and by the local Munich people, but also, traveling, at the time, wasn’t as common as it is today. So, my dad took over a very different business, and obviously, to break three of these boundaries wasn’t an easy process, so—
When your father kind of switched gears to really becoming to be more of a producer rather than a dealer, what would you say was their first big success?
Yasmin Hemmerle: I don’t know if you heard of the story that…so, my father-in-law is one of the most creative people I’ve ever met, and he won’t just see something plainly. He’ll see it in three dimensions and he’ll see it in a very different way. He has just an incredible eye for creation. And also, when you think that there is nothing, there is really something behind it. And he loves challenges. If you tell him no, he will find a solution for anything.
And he was always attracted to beautiful stones, and he had one of his collectors, and his collector wanted to buy his wife a diamond, and his wife was only used to wearing Berlin iron jewelry and did not want a diamond. So, it set off Stefan on a tangent and it set him off and he said, “Okay. I am going to create a diamond set in iron.” So he went to his workshop, to the workshop, and he said, “We have to do this.” And it’s quite minimalistic, so it’s basically a diamond set in a very simple band, which takes the form of the diamond, and gold on the inside, and he was very excited, and he went back to his collector and said, “I have something for you.” And his collector loved it. He said it’s incredible, and he fell in love with it. And he showed it to his wife, and his wife was not as excited, so Stefan was a bit surprised, and he was so happy with what it had come to be.
And she did not end up buying it, but it set him off on this tangent where he said, “You know what?” This is the material that spoke to him at the moment. It was the zeitgeist at the time. He’s like, “This is what I’m going to start working with.” Days go by and the collector does end up buying a diamond set in iron, but not that one. And Stefan found that his other collectors were so amazed and intrigued and they found this look to be very strong but it had something… It gave them, I don’t know, a different feeling in comparison to all the other jewelry. And my mother-in-law, who was also very involved in the business and still involved in the business, said, “This is something we should develop further.” And so that was the first material that they used that was not gold or silver or wood, and it set them on a new path. A path of discovery. And ever since then, we’ve been continuing to use different materials and see how they work.
Well, I wanted…Christian, I heard your mom is still very involved in the business. What is her legacy with Hemmerle?
Christian Hemmerle: I mean, my mom, both my parents, will always be around. My mom has taken a little bit of a step down, but my mother and father were both integral as a team to the history of this company. And my mom’s entrepreneurial vision was amazing. I take my hats off to what decisions she took and at what age, how they brought Hemmerle to America, and how she influenced our style. I always say she’s a colorist. She had this beautiful sense of understanding which colors would suit, which color combinations would be great. I’d say they were an amazing team and my dad would not be there without my mom, and obviously, my mom would not be there without my dad. So Yasmin and I are both very thankful to all the work they have done to bring the company to that level.
Yasmin Hemmerle: And that they also gave us the space, they took us under their wings, but they also allowed us to try new things and, yeah, give us the space to try new things, and they weren’t telling us what to do, which is incredible, because it doesn’t always happen that way. They had the confidence in us.
And when they first brought Hemmerle to the United States, where did that begin? Who gave Hemmerle the first big break in the US?
Christian Hemmerle: Well, that’s a fantastic story. So my mom and dad, they brought, in the mid-’90s, Hemmerle to Florida, and they were showing in Palm Beach, and then day after another day, people came over and they said to my parents, “When are you coming to New York? When are you coming to New York?” And at one day, my mom said, “In the fall.” And my dad must have stood five, six meters apart and he heard her and he walked over to her. “Why did you say this?” She’s like, “Yes. Everybody’s saying, ‘When are we coming to New York?'” He’s like, “But we don’t have a plan. We don’t know where.” She’s like, “Don’t worry. Everybody’s saying we should come to New York, so we’re coming to New York.” And that’s what they did. And eight months later, they were in New York and they were showing in a hotel, and they, not invented, but, I mean, they were…My parents started to make trunk shows popular.
In jewelry, you mean?
Christian Hemmerle: In jewelry, yes. And they showed in New York, then we had a home for nearly 20 years, and then with COVID, we had moved to a new home.
Is going back…producing metals, right, for a court, requires a lot of precision. Everything needs to be exactly the same. It needs to sparkle like jewelry. It’s sort of a combination of design and craft and artistry, and you have to be quite efficient at it and quite technically good, from a layman’s sort of point of view, right? And you have now, since that first iron diamond creation, what kind of jewelry was it, by the way?
Yasmin Hemmerle: A ring.
It was a ring?
Yasmin Hemmerle: Mm-hmm.
And today, you see things, pieces made with wood, pieces made to look like a mushroom, pieces used with small bits of antiquities, reshaped into earrings or a brooch or what have you. Tell me about your workshops and the people that have been probably with you since as long as either of you can remember, and probably maybe their parents were working there, as well. What makes your workshop in such a way…What skills do you have or what team do you have that allow you to kind of create these objects that are always so completely one of a kind? You’re not just relying on the same skill or the same kind of thing that you can repeat, because it’s so situational to the design. Right?
Christian Hemmerle: Exactly. So, actually, the last employee of the time of my grandparent, he retired during COVID. So we go back, we have a history of having people working for us for quite some time. So 25% of our workshop is 25 years and longer working for the company. So I think the workshop is our backbone, and they’ve been through all the stages of the company. The part Yasmin was talking about before was the real breakthrough, where I think my dad and my mother were able to leave the past behind. However, the workshop has always been so supportive of creating new ideas. The Harmony bangle Yasmin was mentioning before was introduced to us 31 years ago, so it was developed in the ’80s. We developed a clasp for a watch.
The workshop was always…I think they always had the ethos, where there is a will, there is a way. And that, I guess, is something amazing. And that spirit has been passed on from generation to generation. We have a great mix of young and old, so we had this elderly gentleman who actually joined the company before my father, so he’s worked nearly 50 years for my family. And we have very young people working for us. We have people who do an apprentice. We’re very lucky to be based in a place where the education, especially for youngsters, happens in a dual system, so people go to school and they come and work for a company. So we have this apprentice program which takes three and a half years in the workshop. So we always have young people around. We have old people around. I think we have this mix of energies, of positive energies, where the old guys, they look at some young people and they say, “Wow, this is how we can also do it.” And vice versa. The young people, they can look up to someone, they can see, “Wow, that can be achieved.”
So what we really do today is prototype building. And if you look back to the past, they made…How do I want to say? They did multiples. Today, we do singular works. But the precision work from that time is still alive, and I think that ethos, which has been kept in our workshop, is one of the pillars of why we are so…I don’t want to use the word successful, but why it works well.
What is that prototyping like? How many iterations of prototypes, or what is that process like from idea to—
Christian Hemmerle: Oh, every piece is a prototype. We have a workshop of 22 master craftsmen who do prototype building. And they have that language, that design, that shape, that shape, yes, formensprache. They follow that language of design and forms and shapes. But in theory, it’s all prototype building over and over again. So it’s very hard to predict how long a piece will take, how something will turn out. And I think the beauty of working with all these craftsmen so closely is that we are also able to pivot within the process. And that, again, I repeat these words, but this is one of the freedom which makes every Hemmerle piece so successful or so right within itself. It just works.
And, Christian, can you explain, briefly, how many pieces is the house producing per year, and how many are sort of one-off, one of a kind, versus things that are more in series?
Christian Hemmerle: So, we are very proud to say that we create every piece as a one-off. Not all are prototypes, but a piece never exists in the same color twice. So, we have this language and we want to be recognized, and they’re all unique pieces which leave our workshop, which are about 200, 190, sometimes 205. It’s very funny. The year has 12 months, and we seem to end up always at the same amount. Some pieces may take up to 600 hours. Others go, hopefully, faster, because otherwise, my workmen would probably not be so happy because that’s very hard work. So, yes, they’re all unique, and we are very proud that they are collected from LA to Tokyo, as I always say. So they’re spread around the globe. And I hope we find for each and every piece the perfect home.
And speaking of these incredible pieces, one of your recent new products is the idea of the Infused Jewels. Yasmin, can you take me a little bit through what that is and how it came to be?
Yasmin Hemmerle: So, Infused Jewels is our last special project, and actually, this nature-inspired direction really started when my father-in-law had created his first mushrooms, and so that was an eye-opener.
What year was that, the mushrooms?
Yasmin Hemmerle: I think 2002.
Yasmin Hemmerle: And ever since then, we’ve created a few different projects. We did Delicious Jewels, which was Christian and my very first project. It was based on vegetables, and we had a cookbook by Tamasin Day-Lewis. Tamasin Day-Lewis created a recipe for each of our pieces. And Infused Jewels was our last, and Infused Jewels was based on a herbal tea that we made. I love tea. I’m always very cold, so I like to drink something warm and soothing. And Munich is known for its herbalists here. And we wanted to create our own tea, and every ingredient in the tea is a piece of jewelry. But Infused Jewels has been our most multi-faceted project because we worked together with the manufacturers of Nymphenburg Porcelain, so it was the first piece we ever created, an orange blossom, and the leaves are made out of porcelain, so we worked very closely with the manufacturer Nymphenburg in Munich. And they have the most incredible porcelain, and when you see…So, they are porcelain. The way we see Hemmerle for jewelry is the way we see Nymphenburg for porcelain, so it was wonderful to collaborate with them.
And we created tea caddies for every single piece of jewelry that were then painted. And we then went on to create a fairytale story and had it illustrated, and the message that we wanted to bring across with that is to savor the moment. I think to take the time to sit down with your tea, enjoy it, and just be taken and captured into another world, just for a little while. We all run around the whole day, and just to take that time for yourself, I think it’s the biggest luxury today is to have time. And so we just wanted everyone to maybe take a few minutes of their day and to be transported somewhere else. So, we created 13 pieces, and we had rosemary, we had orange blossom, we had lavender earrings, we had linden blossoms. So using different materials. We used emeralds, we used diamonds, we used aluminum was the main material that we used because of its weight, because it’s very light. And the colors were very fitting, even though we had a lot of trial and error, but.
Yeah. I mean, obviously, aluminum is not something I would think about—
Yasmin Hemmerle: With jewelry.
—when I think about high jewelry. So, how long does it take to figure out this kind of metal and then work with it and get it to the point where you are satisfied with it? Because that must take a long time.
Yasmin Hemmerle: So, the thing with aluminum is it’s not very forgiving. So, we need to do a lot of testing beforehand. Even though you test a lot, you really never know what you’re going to get. But it’s an exciting material to work with, and I think when we first started working with it at the atelier, there were a lot of people who were hesitant to work with it, because it’s very soft, and as I said, it’s not very forgiving. But on the other hand, you can create the most incredible forms, because it’s quite thin, and you can create the most incredible colors, which we didn’t know when we started working with it because it’s actually used in the car industry, and when we were trying to figure out what you can and can’t do, we found out that people were like, “You can’t get more than 20, 30 colors.” And we’ve achieved much, much more than that with the different nuances in color. And it’s one of my favorite materials.
I’m also fascinated by your 2018 project, which was part of your 125th anniversary, called Revived Treasures. And obviously, because I know you guys also through TEFAF, which, of course, is an art fair that sells a lot of antiquities. Where did this idea come from, and if you could explain it, Christian, to this collection? Because it’s still so super unique.
Christian Hemmerle: So, my dad always looked for antique pieces, artifacts, to be incorporated in his jewelry design. It started as basic as ancient coins and then later old, antique cameos and intaglios, and I think Yasmin and I, we just took that language further. And when we wanted to celebrate our 125th anniversary, we looked at different ideas and it’s so beautiful to continue someone’s legacy. And we do this in our business on a daily basis with my family, but we feel in a much more beautiful way we recycle little miniature artworks from the past. So maybe micro mosaics, maybe Egyptians artifacts. I’m a huge fan of Egypt, so actually was my idea to let Egypt live on in our jewels. My wife is the Egyptian in the family. The forms and shapes and the way…I always think it’s so amazing how people thought that hundreds of years ago about beauty and how we still consider these innovations as something so extraordinary. I think that’s something we should live and show on a daily basis. So nothing more beautiful than to incorporate miniature artworks into our jewelry.
And Yasmin, was there a piece from that collection that you love particularly?
Yasmin Hemmerle: I love them all very much. Each one was very different. I was fascinated. Egyptians wore jewelry every day. Not every day, but Egyptians, they had all these amulets that they kept, and Stefan had a collection of scarabs that he’d been keeping aside and that we’d been adding to very, very slowly. So we had a pair of earrings, like chandelier earrings, that were all out of scarabs. And then there was a piece that’s a lotus from the Amarna Period, which is the 18th dynasty, and just to see the condition that it was in was incredible, and it was actually during the ancient Egyptian times they used to use it as a necklace, but they had two of them. So, they would put the strands in between each one so that you had little holes at the bottom and you would string them through and it would be a necklace. And we were very lucky to come across one, and the colors, you had turquoise, you have a darker blue, and you have a burgundy color, all of the faiences. It’s just so perfect, you wouldn’t think that it’s such an ancient piece. And we gave it a new home, and it’s still a necklace, but it’s a Hemmerle necklace, so it’s combined with knitted beads and an emerald and sapphires.
Do you ever think about that next generation of clients? And obviously, you must see people coming and going from different generations, younger women coming in to collect and maybe to buy their first piece. What is that new generation of your youngest clients, perhaps even in their 20s, what are they looking for from you that maybe is different from generations past? Or from older…The more our generations, we can say?
Yasmin Hemmerle: I think they’re looking for something to wear and enjoy and for not everyone to have it. Something unique.
Christian Hemmerle: No, I guess, our jewels are not…They are usually not a first jewelry purchase. I think to understand what we do, you need to have seen a bit more than your first jewel. However, we do see a trend that jewelry is collected by younger people, especially by an international crowd, and they are much more detail-driven. They understand that they are looking at something unique and at something different. And I guess that’s what they’re looking for, something unique that stands out and that’s different.
Yasmin Hemmerle: If I can, something that someone recently told me is that they loved the use of materials. That’s what caught their eye.
With all of these different projects and collections that are all doing new things and new techniques and new materials all the time, we only sort of touched upon the mushrooms a little bit, and all of that which are so incredible and so unique. I just left Milan Design Week and saw the presentations from lots of different types of companies and people speaking about craft and design and beauty and how people are evolving to meet the needs of this new modern world that we find ourselves in, in this sort of post-pandemic moment. As two people running this beautiful, ancient company, what kind of advice would you give to anybody in the creative world today for remaining relevant and for producing things like this? What kind of advice stands out to you?
Christian Hemmerle: To stay true. Stay true to the passion and not to compromise. Only do something when you feel it’s 100% right. I know that’s huge luxury, but I guess that’s something…I think that’s huge advice Yasmin and I can give. We were just privately in Japan and we saw the deliberately process of slow making and taking time, and I guess that’s the advice we would give. Because it’s so difficult to maneuver in these days, and when you really believe in something and stay true to yourself, don’t cut corners. The outcome can only be amazing.
And how do you purchase a piece from Hemmerle? What is that process like? Because obviously, it’s not online shopping, although you do have a beautiful website where you can see things, but it’s not everything that you have and sort of available in inventory. How does that process work?
Christian Hemmerle: Yasmin always says our jewelry needs to be tried on. So, we hope that…I mean, we try very best to be available in certain points. So we show in London, we show in New York, at TEFAF in London at PAD, and then, obviously, to Maastricht, the mother of all fairs, and then we have private viewings in Asia, and we hope that they can make it to see and observe.
And you have a showroom in Munich?
Christian Hemmerle: And we have a showroom in Munich, yes.
Of course. And so, obviously, Munich is this sort of character in this tale of Hemmerle that you kind of can’t separate the two. Tell me a little bit about Munich and what sort of role that it plays in the family story?
Christian Hemmerle: Munich is home. I mean, we travel the globe, but I’m a proud Bavarian, and I think even for Yasmin, Munich has become a little bit of home. It’s our roots. It’s where we’ve always been. I think it’s the energies of this company.
Yasmin Hemmerle: It took me a while to get used to Munich after the hustle and bustle of Cairo and living in London, and now it has become home. We travel a lot, and it’s nice when you come here to be in a slower pace, to be right into English gardens in two minutes, and it has a very unique feel to it, Munich, and it has beautiful architecture. Even though it’s a city, it still feels like a village, sometimes.
And if someone listening to this, you really wanted them to, when they finish listening to this and you wanted them to understand something about the company and who you are as a jewelry house, what would be that one thing that you wanted them to understand?
Christian Hemmerle: That we’re passionate about what we do.
Yasmin Hemmerle: I think we live and breathe what we do.
Yasmin Hemmerle: So, I think, in our aesthetic, the way we are in our job, it’s not a job for us. I think it’s the way we are at home. I think it’s the…Yeah, it’s our life.
Christian Hemmerle: Hemmerle or doing what we do is nothing you switch on or switch off. You do it either wholeheartedly or you don’t do it. And I think that’s the beauty about who we are, that everybody in our team feels the same way.
Yasmin Hemmerle: And also, we couldn’t do this alone. We’re very lucky to have a team who supports us and who does it all with us, because every single person who works for Hemmerle is just as important as the next, because without one thing, you cannot create the next thing.
And I’m just curious, are you still producing honors and medals or anything like that for—
Christian Hemmerle: For the Bavarian government, yes.
Christian Hemmerle: Until today. Yes.
Okay. And what kind of things are you making for the Bavarian government?
Christian Hemmerle: We make the merit of honor of the Bavarian government.
And what’s next for Hemmerle? What does 2024 or the second half of 2023 look like?
Christian Hemmerle: So, Hemmerle is working on its next big chapter, which, unfortunately, we can’t reveal yet, but we’re working on something very big.
A new collection, or something even different entirely?
Christian Hemmerle: Something big.
Thank you to Christian, Yasmin, and Tefkros for making this episode happen. The editor of The Grand Tourist is Stan Hall. To keep this going, please follow me on Instagram @danrubinstein to learn more, and sign up with our email for updates at thegrandtourist.net. And don’t forget to follow The Grand Tourist on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen and leave us a rating or comment. Every little bit helps. Until next time.
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