Jewelry & Watches

A Trove of Rare Hemmerle Pieces-One of Jewelry's Holy Grails-Comes Up for Auction

Sotheby's London will offer 12 one-of-a kind Hemmerle pieces, the largest single-owner collection of Hemmerle ever to go on the block.
IMAGE COURTESY HEMMERLE
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So how does one actually get their hands on a piece of Hemmerle, one of the jewelry world's most elusive and coveted prizes? The Hemmerle jewelry dynasty began in 1893 when Christian Hemmerle’s great-grandparents bought the business of a local Munich goldsmith and soon became purveyors of jewels and medals to the Bavarian royal family. Today there are no official royal medals to be found in the one-of-a-kind collection, but owning a piece of Hemmerle is a kind of an award in itself.

Partly because the materials used are so singular—ancient Egyptian artifacts, coral from a shipwreck, antique cameos, iron, aluminum, steel—but also because Hemmerle is officially sold only one place in the world, at the Hemmerle store located at Maximilianstrasse 14, Munich, Germany.

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Photo by COURTESY HEMMERLE.

There are, of course, the twice-annual private appointments held at the Ho?tel Plaza Athenee in New York, one of the calendar's great jewelry pilgrimages. And there are select art fairs like TEFAF, but sourcing Hemmerle is never easy—and that's by design. “We do what we do on our own time frame,” Christian Hemmerle once told me. “I still have gems from my grandparents in the vault. I don’t feel pressure to use them until we are ready. If we come back from a buying trip with only five stones we can be happy we found five extraordinary things, not worry that they won't be enough to fill up all our stores.”

But sometimes we just get lucky. On November 26, Sotheby's London will offer 12 unique Hemmerle pieces for sale, the largest single-owner collection of Hemmerle ever to appear at auction. The offerings include a necklace with a blackened silver chain and tsavorite garnet links, with a pendant of an early 19th-century cameo of Neptune in jasper, surrounded by emerald beads and circular-cut tsavorite garnets. There are diamond earrings in pineapple-esque mounts set with two large old-cut diamonds of grey and orange-brown tint, holding the 19th-century cameo in a frame of diamonds.

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Hemmerle Pieces Up For Auction at Sotheby's London

Photo by COURTESY HEMMERLE.

Emerald Hardstone Cameo and Tsavorite Garnet Pendant

Photo by COURTESY HEMMERLE.

Pair of Diamond Brooches/Hairclips

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Photo by COURTESY HEMMERLE.

Pair of Spinel and Pink Sapphire Earrings

Photo by COURTESY HEMMERLE.

Pair of Cameo and Diamond Earrings

Reading the descriptions of the jewels out loud and a sense of Hemmerle’s mission will become clear. It was once called “modernity and magnificence”; Hemmerle himself explains it this way:

“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.”

Do you know what might be really nice this year? Thanksgiving in London with a 19th-century jasper and emerald cameo.

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*This article originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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Stellene Volandes
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