To see a World in a Grain of Sand and Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand and Eternity in an hour.
—William Blake, from Auguries of Innocence
That’s just one of the extraordinary poems featured in a limited-edition book published by the famed Hemmerle Jewellers to accompany its new collection.
As part of its new Nature’s Jewels collection, made up of innovative and gorgeous designs that exalt the beauty of nature, the classic German house brought in British poet Greta Bellamacina to edit a volume of nature-themed poetry from different eras and regions, including works by Alice Oswald, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Octavio Paz, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Arthur Rimbaud.
The poems are presented in their original calligraphy, along with English translations when needed. Reading lines from Longfellow or Basho in the same script they were written in long ago gives the reader an appreciation of the lyrical beauty of the words in a new (or rather, old) way. Hemmerle tries to create a similar experience in the physical beauty of its jewellery.
“Our own philosophy resonates with poetry—originality, beauty, boldness, creativity, and technical understanding also go into making a Hemmerle jewel,” says Christian Hemmerle, the fourth generation of the mason, who, along with his wife Yasmin, heads the company.
There is a sense of worldliness and adventure evident in every piece of Hemmerle jewellery. “As a family, we travel the world treasure-hunting for intriguing stones and found objects to juxtapose with unusual metals and woods, making sure to find the perfect materials for each of our creations,” Christian says.
In Hemmerle’s Munich atelier, near its Maximilianstrasse boutique, 20 master craftsmen shape the pieces, sharing Hemmerle’s distinct “visual language.” They push boundaries not only sculpturally as the jewellery replicates the intricacies of nature but even more so with the materials they travel the earth to find, such as Melo Melo pearls, found only in the sea snails of the same name that live in the South China Sea, or Sri Lankan padparadscha sapphires, or rubellites and carnelians.
The Nature’s Jewels collection features gorgeous pieces based on various fruits, flowers, and nuts, such as hazelnuts, physalis, and pomegranates. The designs transcend convention and capture the ephemeral beauty of nature.
Stylized nature is commonplace in jewellery, but Hemmerle’s dedication to realism and exotic materials will make you do a double take, thinking the cleverly incorporated iron, silver, copper, and white gold really is a sprig of black olives.
The designs bloom as methodically and gracefully as their living counterparts. A creation could take over 500 hours to complete, and the master craftsmen produce only about 200 pieces a year.
“We prioritise innovation and creativity, so wish to give a certain freedom to our master craftsmen to do their incredible work,” Christian says.
Hemmerle also has new collections that breathe life into ancient history, such as the Revived Treasures collection, which pays homage to the wonders of Ancient Egypt. And to celebrate Hemmerle’s 125th anniversary, the Hidden Treasures collection harks back to the family’s past as medal makers for the Bavarian royal family.
As Hemmerle continues to push the boundaries of style and material, you can see in its jewelled flower brooches that same sense of heaven that the poet William Blake saw in nature.