The holiday season is a special time of year to reflect on family and… jewels! Hemmerle’s Egyptian Story bangle is a particularly exceptional jewel. Not only does it evoke the firm’s distinctive voice, showcasing innovative techniques and material combinations to create a bold, modern jewel enriched with cultural references, but it provides a bit of personal narrative about the fourth-generation family-run atelier.
Hemmerle was established in 1893 in Munich, Germany, which for centuries has been a center of high-quality craftsmanship in gold, silver, and jeweled work. The firm quickly became renowned for offering technically sophisticated, high-quality jewelry and decorations, and was appointed purveyor to the Royal Bavarian Court. But it wasn’t until 1995 that Hemmerle took a dramatic aesthetic turn, pairing gemstones with unconventional, provocative materials including iron, copper, rare woods, even walrus teeth. Their bold, sometimes understated modern aesthetic has become a signature. It is this combination of high jewelry with a lean aesthetic that enables their creations to be worn with casual clothing, still a rarity in this field of jewelry. It is Hemmerle’s unusual material combinations and modern aesthetic, paired with innovative techniques, which make them a good choice for Cooper-Hewitt’s collection.
Hemmerle is currently run by Stefan and Sylveli Hemmerle with their son, Christian, and daughter-in-law, Egyptian-born Yasmin. In fact, it was a visit to Cairo to meet Yasmin’s family that sparked the inspiration for their Egyptian Story collection of jewels, for which this bangle was created. While the collection is part of a broader tradition of Egyptian revivalist jewels, each piece bears Hemmerle’s signature and distinctive interpretation of Egyptian references. The bangle, made of striated pockwood, features lotus terminals in two colors of green tsavorites, a semi-precious stone. The two tones of turquoise seem to evoke the Egyptian sky and the sandy color of the pockwood, the sun-baked Egyptian earth. The bangle’s invisible pivot hinge, as well as the matching of the lines of turquoises and green tsavorites to the wood striations, is an important and subtle design element. It is a jewelry design that celebrates the culture which inspired it, and, for the designer, the importance of family.