Hemmerle interprets the enduring cultural and historical inspiration of Egypt in its distinctive style of high drama, emotionally-charged and allusive colour, abstraction and stylisation of forms and motifs, and inventive use of material.
The idea took root when the Hemmerle family visited Cairo to meet the family of Yasmin, Christian’s wife. They were enthralled by the ancient Egyptian artefacts in the Cairo Museum and captivated by their stylised simplicity, deeply imbued with meaning. An Egyptian-themed collection was designed that evoked the richness of ancient Egypt, and its deep reverence for the power of the jewel.
Meaningful symbols such as the lotus flower, temple, flies, gods and goddesses, represent the fragments of the past so often used by Hemmerle.
The sophisticated modernity of ancient Egyptian jewellery resonated with our own design language.Yasmin Hemmerle
Hemmerle’s unique style of magnificent modernity is always enriched with cultural and historical references, subtly and seamlessly integrated into powerful forms, emotionally-charged colours and intriguing, often provocative materials, all brought together by awe-inspiring craftsmanship, a blend of the engineer and the artisan and imbued with a sense of continual anticipation. So it is exciting to find that this collection turns to Egypt for theme and inspiration, not simply in the well-trodden tradition of Egyptian revivalist jewels of the 1870s, following Mariette’s archaeological finds and the opening of the Suez Canal, or 1920s, after the momentous discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, but with the added dimension of a fresh, personal narrative that gives potency and poignancy to the high-drama of Hemmerle’s distinctive interpretation.
The idea took root some six years ago, when Stefan, Sylveli and Christian Hemmerle visited Cairo, to meet the family of Yasmin, Christian’s wife. A private tour of the Cairo Museum, with its ancient Egyptian artefacts, seen up close, opened Stefan’s eyes, and heart, to the enduring, amuletic power of Egyptian jewels, their fascinating symbols and stories, their language of form and design, precious adornments created to soothe their owner’s path into the afterlife. Most of all, it was the stylised simplicity, so heavy with meaning, the reduction of line, the sophisticated modernity thousands of years old, that struck a chord with both Stefan and Christian, father and son, resonating with their own design language.
These arresting Egyptian-themed jewels pay homage to the romance and richness of ancient Egyptian civilisation, with its deep reverence for the power and sacred meaning of the jewel, and also to Yasmin Hemmerle and her cultural heritage. Allusive, evocative motifs, shapes and forms, the lotus flower, the temple, mighty gods and goddesses, as well as the splendour of sun-baked colours, the turquoise and blues, symbols of the sky and the universe, are all cleverly coaxed into Hemmerle style signatures. The geometric curves of the falcon-head of the god Horus form the green patinated tops of luscious tassel earrings, streaming with turquoise beads. The sun god Re, sovereign over earth and the underworld, and Ma’at, the goddess of truth and harmony (a witty reference to the Harmony bangle), with her single ostrich feather, face each other across a pair of spectacular earrings, crafted into gem-adorned copper cameos, as if depicted on a wall frieze. The Harmony bangle itself, in pock wood, is finished with lotus terminals of tsavorite garnets in two colour shades. The fish god recreated in intense green tourmalin and purple garnet; the fly, Egyptian symbol of courage, is abstracted into linear openwork earrings, diamonds in combination with black finished iron. A pair of rectangular earrings is set with late 19th century archaeological revival micro-mosaics, in Hemmerle’s own tradition of incorporating fragments of the past.
Satisfying that frisson of continual anticipation, these are vibrant, virtuoso contemporary creations that weave a thread of continuity from ancient to modern, connecting to Hemmerle’s own jewellery dynasty, a testament to Stefan’s advice to Christian and Yasmin, “walk with open eyes through the world.’’ // Vivienne Becker