Infused Jewels is an experiential body of work inspired by the natural elements of herbal tea. Born out of collaborations with creatively aligned makers, Hemmerle’s fascination with humankind’s symbiotic relationship with nature has culminated in a multi-sensory project of ten pairs of earrings and three brooches, a bespoke tea blend, an illustrated modern fairy-tale, and a hand-crafted tea caddy. Taking shape over four years in total, the project inherently conveys the value of slowing down, contemplating, and savouring the moment.
Munich has been a centre for homoeopathy since the discipline developed at the turn of the nineteenth century. Reflecting on the diverse properties of herbs for enhancing health and wellbeing, a tea infusion formed the kernel from which the Infused Jewels project grew. With a desire to render herbs in unique jewels, Hemmerle first sought to create a bespoke tea blend by studying a plethora of botanical books, becoming immersed in abundant botanical gardens, and sampling a rich variety of flavours.
From East to West, spanning countless cultures, tea carries a ubiquitous, ritualistic significance, evoking a reflective moment for rejuvenation and sparking a spirit of conviviality and togetherness. To bring its ideas for the tea blend to fruition, Hemmerle worked with Romana Auth of Kräutergarten München, the first ecologically certified herb house in Munich.
With the tea ingredients selected, through innovation and imagination each element bloomed into a handcrafted, tactile jewel with a unique blend of materials. Exemplifying the meticulous yet experimental spirit of Hemmerle’s master craftsmen, a representational Rose brooch is sculpted from anodised aluminium – a process requiring extensive research, fine-tuning, and time. Achieving the desired colour takes utmost precision in the face of technical challenges, particularly in realising the subtle gradient observed across these petals. Surprisingly light in weight, at the brooch’s centre is an old mine-cut diamond.
For a second brooch, Hemmerle commissioned a hyper-realistic orange blossom in bisque porcelain from renowned porcelain manufacturer Nymphenburg which adorns a sculpted bronze base in a striking fusion of artistry. At the top of the delicate porcelain stamens, natural pearls replicate the flower’s anthers and its leaves are set with variegated demantoid garnets. This marks the first time that Hemmerle has collaborated on a jewel with a maker outside of its Munich atelier, where all other artisanal practices are carried out under one roof.
The striking Ginger Flower earrings are fully articulated and, as such, are acutely sensitive to the wearer’s every movement. Each diminutive bud is set with diamonds and delicately anodised, appearing almost hand-dipped with the flower’s vivid red hue. The Lavender earrings, meanwhile, are distinct for their abstract style with an intricate, allusive rendering of blue petals creating a bed for the central tanzanite. Integrated within the structural pattern of the reverse, a hidden latch reveals a cavity to be filled with lavender, imparting a calming, natural scent as an additional sensory experience.
Characteristic of Hemmerle’s process, all the pieces were crafted in a slow, sustainable manner. The jewels echo a period during which life for many dramatically shifted, prompting a more personal and mindful interaction with one’s immediate surroundings. With sharpened focus and creative impetus, Hemmerle welcomed the technical challenge of sculpting realistic shapes and forms with an unorthodox assortment of materials.
The healing power of nature sits at the heart of Infused Jewels. Seeking to add another dimension of resonance, Hemmerle commissioned two creatives to collaborate on an illustrated short story. Writer Greta Bellamacina shaped a poetic fairy-tale The Herb Garden which explores our collective influence on the world and the power of embracing community and nature.
It tells of the joy and colour to be found in reintroducing nature to the urban environment, creating an oasis in the heart of a desolate city, and celebrates the beauty of individuality. Imbued with symbolism and allegory, the reader is invited to embark on a meditative journey, forging a relationship with the story through subjective interpretation. The text is accompanied by Rosanna Tasker’s mesmerising hand-drawn illustrations. Her distinct style transports the reader into a dreamlike, fantasy world and encompasses the story’s themes in effervescent visual detail.
The concluding element of Infused Jewels is a bespoke tea caddy, designed with Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg. Along with rapt attention to detail in their craft, Hemmerle and the esteemed royal porcelain manufactory share a long tradition as Bavarian makers: operating since 1747, Nymphenburg is the last of its kind where everything is created by hand. Over the years, they have collaborated with various renowned artists and designers initiating experimental, original concepts and continually redefining the limits of possibility. The tea caddies connect back to the ceremony and ritual of tea and are masterfully adorned with sumptuous decoration. Herbs are rendered in relief, bestowing them with a tactile quality, and painted with slip porcelain in lavish detail.
These inter-connected forms of artistry contextualise one another in a balanced and evocative body of work designed to bring people together in appreciation and expression. With tea as the conceptual anchor, art and nature intertwine through Infused Jewels, channelling the universal importance of maintaining an active relationship with the natural world and accentuating the ample benefits it offers in return.
"Working with creatives from around the world, became natural, mutually respectful, and creatively inspiring and our collaborations enriched our perspective of the project in ways we did not envisage when we first conceived Infused Jewels".Christian and Yasmin Hemmerle
About Greta Bellamacina
Greta Bellamacina is a renowned English poet. Her poetry is focused on uncovering the magic in the every day and finding the sacred hidden inside the mundane. Her work is known for breaking conventions and pushing the structural limits of the English language. Of The Herb Garden, she says: “I wanted to write a hopeful story but with the ‘archetypal tone’ of the great fairytales – something timeless, set in a world similar to ours, but slightly more magical and magnified, equally enjoyable for adults and children”. Bellamacina’s poetry collection Tomorrow’s Woman was published in 2020 by US publisher Andrews McMeel alongside a volume of feminist poetry she edited titled SMEAR, garnering international acclaim. In the same year, her Collected Poems was translated into Spanish and published by Valapaiso Ediciones. Bellamacina is also an actress and filmmaker; her 2020 debut feature film Hurt By Paradise was nominated for The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film at the Edinburgh Film Festival. She is a long-term collaborator of Hemmerle and in 2014 edited the poetry collection Nature’s Jewels for a special project of the same name.
About Rosanna Tasker
Working as a freelance illustrator from her Shrewsbury studio (Shropshire, England), Tasker creates semi-surreal scenes and narratives, with a particular passion for the magic of the natural world. Delicate lines and rich handmade paper textures are woven together to depict elegant, elongated forms, complemented by a limited colour palette of gouache. Walking the line between reality and fiction, her works often take on a whimsical, dreamlike persona whilst remaining familiar and relevant to our lives and realities. A longstanding relationship with narrative is rooted in Tasker’s illustrations, and a strong connection to the written word is one of the main influences on her work. She believes great book illustration takes on its own identity in harmony with the story; embellishing the details, characters, atmosphere and tone while allowing the beauty of the words to breathe. Through her paintings, Tasker hopes to provide a visual platform that encourages the reader to delve deeper into their imagination. Her clients span publishing, editorial, branding and advertising, with names including The New York Times, Condé Nast, Heart Research UK, The Washington Post, Hearst, and The Guardian.
About Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg
Nymphenburg is the last manufactory of its kind where everything is made entirely by hand. The fine art of porcelain production has been cultivated in the manufactory of the Bavarian royal family since it was founded in 1747. To this day, “Manu Factum” for Nymphenburg still means entirely made by hand using techniques that are passed down and preserved from generation to generation. The master workshops at the Nördliches Schlossrondell in Munich produce style-defining objects that are ahead of their time, as well as bespoke interior features – designed to this day by renowned artists, architects, and designers including Pae White, Vivienne Westwood, Christian Lacroix, and Carsten Höller.
About Kräutergarten München
Founded by Romana Auth in 1999, Kräutergarten München is the first ecologically certified herb house in the city with a selection of over 1,000 herbs and spices. As an alternative practitioner, Auth found that she was struggling to source good suppliers of medicinal herbs; she, therefore, decided to open a store to make healing herbs and spices more easily accessible to a wider audience. Products on offer from Kräutergarten München include teas, cosmetics, incense, essential oils, and nutritional supplements. Along with her team, Auth strives to spread herbal knowledge around the world.
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A Chinese (Mandarin) translation of the above is available here.