Egyptian Story Bangle Bracelet, 2012
- Location: Germany
Circular bangle form with flattened sides leading to rounded ends that almost touch, the two part bracelet joined at a seam in the pockwood at the middle of underside, with one half rotating on a pivoting hinge of 18 K white gold, the pockwood with alternating light and dark striations terminating in a band of alternating dark and light turquoises set in oxidized silver, the ends with inset darker and lighter green tsavorites within oxidized silver
Hemmerle’s unusual mix of unseen technical solutions and pairing of precious and provocative materials, such as an 18-karat white gold pivot hinge in the wood section of this Harmony Bangle bracelet, along with the use of striated pockwood with stripes of two tones of turquoises set in a grid of oxidized silver, is a very different aesthetic than the work of most other high jewelry firms. The principle of reinterpreting old world skills in new ways, however, is related to the Van Cleef & Arpels example of combining gold and diamonds with Japanese lacquering techniques, as seen in two butterfly brooches in the museum’s collection.
Hemmerle’s choice of materials reflects German jewelry history, such as its use of steel, which was popular in Prussia in the first half of the 19th century and of which the museum holds some examples. Previous work by the firm includes combinations with steel and precious stones, which paved the way for an increasingly broad base of color selection.
The bracelet proposed for acquisition has a story, based on Egypt and the Nile, visible in the colors of the two turquoises and the sandy colors of the pockwood. The execution, which includes matching the lighter and darker colors of the wood striations to those of the two tones of turquoises and the two colors of green tsavorites (a semi-precious stone), is particularly skillful. The Egyptian theme represents a new concept for the firm, but the combination of turquoises, tsarovites, and wood is a variant of Hemmerle’s signature mix of materials with high-quality craftsmanship.
This bracelet is an example of a piece made in a historic center of premier craftsmanship, Munich, but designed with an eye to global appeal. The piece also incorporates some of the rococo design that surrounds Munich, such as the Schloss Nymphenburg. The bracelet’s austere lines reflect the Bauhaus, which the designer cites as an influence. This Hemmerle Harmony Bangle would enhance the museum’s collection of contemporary jewelry design by showing high jewelry’s innovative use of top level techniques, materials, and original designs.
Hemmerle also creates pieces of high jewelry intended to be worn with casual clothing. This is still a rarity, but one that may profoundly impact the future of jewelry as it is not only innovative in its combination of media but also in its fashion sense.
Egyptian Story Bangle Bracelet, 2012; Germany; carved pockwood, cut and polished turquoises and tsavorites, oxidized silver, white gold; H x W x D: 7 x 8 x 2.5 cm (2 3/4 in. x 3 1/8 in. x 1 in.); Gift of Fiona Druckenmiller; 2013-27-1
Gift of Fiona Druckenmiller