Emerald, hardstone cameo and tsavorite garnet pendant necklace, Hemmerle. Courtesy Sotheby's
London – Rarely sighted at auction, Hemmerle’s sculptural creations blur the lines between jewellery, art and design. This month, Sotheby’s will present the largest single-owner collection of jewels by the long-established Munich jewellery house in its London Fine Jewels sale. Created over a decade at the turn of the 21st century and coming from the private collection of a European lady, the twelve one-of-a-kind contemporary designs are emblematic of Hemmerle’s distinctive style: the perfectly balanced use of high-quality gemstones and unconventional materials, vibrant colours enhanced by impeccable craftmanship, and the audacious melding of the ancient into a modern design.
Kristian Spofforth, Head of Sotheby’s London jewellery department, said: “Hemmerle jewels are a rare sight at auction and so it is a joy to be able to offer this unique single-owner collection. We often see clients collecting across the categories in our sales. The avant-garde designs of these jewels are sure to transcend the field of jewellery and appeal to seasoned collectors of fine art and contemporary design.”
Christian Hemmerle commented: “By blending the vocabulary of sculpture with the functional demands of jewellery design, we strive for a timelessness in our work that endures – we are pleased audiences will have the rare opportunity to reassess these historical works through the filter of the present. Collected by a single owner over a decade, these creations provide insight into our context and development as designers during an important and defining period in our history.
Recent years have also seen jewellery become more widely recognised as an art form, in turn growing the secondary market for contemporary collectible jewellery – we are pleased to see our creations become part of this development through this unprecedented sale.”
Highlights in the sale:
Materials are the starting point of all Hemmerle creations. The family travel the world, treasure hunting for intriguing stones and objects to seamlessly incorporate into innovative settings. The collection includes four jewels set with antique cameos – a tour de force that has become a signature for the jeweller.
Balancing monumental stature with low-key opulence, a majestic necklace with a blackened silver chain and tsavorite garnet links suspends a pendant featuring an early 19th-century cameo of Neptune in jasper surrounded by emerald beads and circular-cut tsavorite garnets (est. £15,000-20,000 / €16,800-22,300/ $18,500-24,600)
Emerald, hardstone cameo and tsavorite garnet pendant necklace, Hemmerle. Estimate £15,000-20,000 / €16,800-22,300/ $18,500-24,600. Courtesy Sotheby's
These diamond earrings in pineapple-esque mounts are set with two large old-cut diamonds of grey and orange-brown tint, each suspending a 19th-century cameo in a frame of diamonds: one in agate depicts a Moorish woman, the other, in onyx represents Maecenas – a patron to the poets Horace and Virgil. (est. £20,000-30,000 / €22,300-33,500 / $24,600-36,900)
Pair of cameo and diamond earrings, Hemmerle. Estimate £20,000-30,000 / €22,300-33,500 / $24,600-36,900. Courtesy Sotheby's
Celebrating yet challenging jewellery conventions, Hemmerle creates timeless designs that enhance the natural beauty of materials through a unique use of colours and textures. This is exemplified in the collection by a pair of diamond brooches, designed a laurel branch that can also be worn as hairclips (est. £20,000-30,000 / €22,300-33,500 / $24,600-36,900) and a pair of spinel and pink sapphire earrings (est. £10,000-15,000 / €11,200-16,800 / $12,300-18,500).
Pair of diamond brooches hairclips by Hemmerle. Estimate £20,000-30,000 / €22,300-33,500 / $24,600-36,900. Courtesy Sotheby's
Pair of spinel and pink sapphire earrings, Hemmerle. Estimate £10,000-15,000 / €11,200-16,800 / $12,300-18,500. Courtesy Sotheby's.
This remarkable collection will be offered alongside a stand-out selection of jewels dating from the 19th century to the present day, including signed pieces and a rich array of diamonds and coloured stones. All the jewels will be on public view in our New Bond Street galleries, from 22nd until 25th November.
Founded in 1893, Hemmerle is a fourth-generation family run jeweller known for its one-of-a-kind creations characterised by innovative material combinations and a dedication to craftsmanship and quality. Each jewel is layered with cultural references and is as original as a work of art. Today, Christian Hemmerle leads the company alongside his wife Yasmin and parents Stefan and Sylveli.
Renowned for its distinct aesthetic, signature styles include structural pieces with geometric lines, the open-ended Harmony bangle with its seamless closure, necklaces hung with a luxuriant tassel and diamonds set upside down in reverse pavé spikes. Hemmerle blends the vocabulary of sculpture with the functional demands of jewellery design, and the unseen sophisticated engineering gives creations dynamic motion.
In 2006, Die Neue Sammlung, Munich’s art and design museum, staged Myths: Jewels Today – Seen by Stefan Hemmerle, an exhibition of 145 Hemmerle jewels. Hemmerle is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Copper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. It produced the books Delicious Jewels (Prestel) in collaboration with food writer Tamasin Day-Lewis and Nature’s Jewels (MACK) in collaboration with poet Greta Bellamacina. In 2018, Hemmerle celebrated its 125th anniversary with two special projects: Hidden Treasures and Revived Treasures.