Destinations

From Inhorgenta in Munich: Convertible Jewels from Fruit Bijoux & Marcel Roelofs

Munich. March 19, 2020. Interchangeable jewels that offer multiple looks in one main piece are a jewelry lover’s dream! At this year’s Inhorgenta Fair in Munich, held in mid-February, convertible options were on offer at both low and higher price points.

Fruit Bijoux

Nine-year-old Fruit Bijoux out of Sopot, Poland, is the handiwork of Simon and Marta Ciechorski. Simon is a onetime product designer who experimented with myriad jewelry concepts until his screw-on sterling silver, 24k gold plate, and geometric-shape resin and metal rings took form.

“The concept allows you to have one band with multiple different tops,” he explained at the Fair.

The aesthetic—though not the interchangeability—carries over into earrings and necklaces, with nugget-like silhouettes also available. All jewelry is made in Poland, and retail prices start around €30. While the line is widely sold throughout Europe, you’ll have to travel to Pistachio in Chicago find it stateside.

Retail prices for interchangeable rings in sterling silver and 24k gold plate with geometric-shape resin or metal tops start at €30; email pistachiosjewelry@gmail.com at Pistachio in Chicago for availability and purchase.

Retail prices for interchangeable rings in sterling silver and 24k gold plate with geometric-shape resin or metal tops start at €30; email pistachiosjewelry@gmail.com at Pistachio in Chicago for availability and purchase.

Marcel Roelofs

Seasoned jewelry designer Marcel Roelofs (in business since 1977) makes high-end interchangeable jewels by way of the Vario clasp system, an invention by the Jörg Heinz company in 1974. Once Heinz’s patent period expired in the mid ’90s, firms like Roelofs were able to utilize it in their designs.

“The clasp is spring-loaded,” Roelofs explained at the fair. “You push it in and give it a quarter turn, and you can feel it lock. It’s like a little key.”

He made the convertible clasp concept his own through bold designs in 18k gold and platinum with graphic freeform slabs of one-of-a-kind gemstones sourced from vendors largely based in Brazil. U.S. stone cutter Steve Walters frequently provides custom-cut gems to Roelofs.

Some of Roelofs’ latest works include steel chains with black PVD coatings and the occasional 18k gold link to offer a lower price point. He’s not using sterling chains because the deep black color he loves eventually wears off on silver, though not in steel. Every chain requires one of his Vario clasps, some of which feature Murano glass instead of gems to keep costs lower.

While the Dutch-born artist works out of Dusseldorf, Germany, his favorite clients hail from the U.S.

“The U.S. mentality is that they are willing to show and wear what they have,” he says. “I can sell bigger pieces in the States.”

Necklace with natural-color pink freshwater pearls and platinum and 18k yellow gold Vario clasp featuring pink opal with colorless diamonds, $10,300; email info@marcel-roelofs.com for purchase

Necklace with natural-color pink freshwater pearls and platinum and 18k yellow gold Vario clasp featuring pink opal with colorless diamonds, $10,300; email info@marcel-roelofs.com for purchase

A closer look at how the Vario clasp system works. Shot at the Inhorgenta Fair in Munich in February at the booth of Marcel Roelofs.

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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Destinations

From Inhorgenta in Munich: Meet Barbara Haas & Her Über Feminine & Fairy-Tale Jewelry

Munich. Feb. 21, 2020. Fourth-generation German artist Barbara Haas Di Giorgi of Barbara Haas has combined all the talents of her family before her—a grandfather who made ornaments for canes and her painter mother—to create jewelry with a strong signature style.

An education in goldsmithing in Pforzheim, Germany (where she is now based), and sculpture in Italy helped her hone natural talents to create a keenly feminine and baroque-infused aesthetic in sterling silver, 24k gold-plated silver, and 18k gold, all with fired-on lacquer. “My jewelry is feminine, ornamental, and timeless,” explained Haas.

Common themes are flowers, animals, and other nature motifs coupled with plump scrolls and vine-like flourishes and hearts. Haas carves each new jewel in wax before making molds, and gemstone choices include mined and synthetic gems. Styles include earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings as well as ample selections of charms and lockets, all which have helped to build up a large collector base given her 37 years in business.

“I have clients who get addicted to my pieces,” she added. “They can’t have just one or two.”

Haas’s designs are widely sold in Europe; Americans can order pieces from abroad. She doesn’t sell directly to consumers but is happy to point shoppers to specific merchants for purchase. Retail prices start at $100.

Jewelry designer Barbara Haas Di Giorgi of Barbara Haas at the recently held Inhorgenta fair in Munich

Jewelry designer Barbara Haas Di Giorgi of Barbara Haas at the recently held Inhorgenta fair in Munich

Bands in 24k gold-plated silver with lacquer, €500 apiece; email b.haas@barbara-haas.de

Bands in 24k gold-plated silver with lacquer, €500 apiece; email b.haas@barbara-haas.de

Locket necklace in 24k gold-plated silver with lacquer, €970; email b.haas@barbara-haas.de

Locket necklace in 24k gold-plated silver with lacquer, €970; email b.haas@barbara-haas.de

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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Destinations

Live from Inhorgenta in Munich: Gellner Debuts the Marutea Private Culture Collection with Rare Tahitian Pearls from Robert Wan

Munich. Feb. 17, 2020. Jörg Gellner of Gellner Pearls knows firsthand that when fine pearls go to auction, everybody wants to get their hands on the highly reflective multicolor ones. “We’re competing with Mikimoto, Tasaki—everyone wants those pearls,” he explained from the floor of the Inhorgenta fair in Munich yesterday. (Inhorgenta runs Feb. 14–17.)

So, to ensure he had improved access to ones from longtime peer, friend, and renowned pearl farmer Robert Wan, Gellner came up with a plan: If Wan would guarantee him access to a certain number, Gellner would brand them as unique in the world of Tahitian pearls. This is how Marutea Private Culture, named after Wan’s Marutea Sud island in the Tuamotu archipelago of French Polynesia, was born. Marutea debuted at the Inhorgenta fair.

“Diamond dealers charge more for fancy intense yellow stones, but we don’t really do this in pearls—market rare pearls as special,” he says. “Pearl sellers sometimes don’t even understand how precious some pearls are, like the top, most intense colors and metallic surfaces.”

Most Tahitian pearls grow in light-to-dark shades of gray (“The 50 shades of gray,” jokes Gellner) of the black-lipped Pinctada margaritifera cumingii oysters, making exotic peacock colors and metallic overtones unique and overwhelmingly available in only small quantities.

In Marutea, the color—not the shape or surface blemishes—is key. The hues are on the cool side and are super metallic in silver tones featuring variations of peacock shades of blue and green to pink- or violet-green, silvery-green, gold, red, violet, and deep silver. For sure, they glow under light.

The top 100 strands sold get certificates of authenticity signed by Gellner, who also sells even rarer Fijian pearls from Justin Hunter of J. Hunter pearls in Savusavu, Fiji.

Fijian pearls, too, have wildly vibrant hues, like cherry and deep green along with metallic overtones, but production and staffing is more limited and specialized than in Tahiti, resulting in prices that are several times higher than Marutea pearls.

In Tahiti, wild spat (baby oysters) is abundant in the remote and protected atolls and easily caught. In Fiji, spat grows in only a handful of hatcheries and requires special feeding and care until they grow to maturity and are ready for culturing. Also in Fiji, implanted oysters are mainly cultured in open oceans, not protected bays like in Tahiti, making Fijian pearls more susceptible to harm. Finally, there are the grafters who, in Tahiti, oftentimes have the reputation of being less skilled versus pricier ones from Japan who frequently work at Hunter’s farm in Fiji. Finally, there is the quantity of Fijians versus Marutea; Fiji grows a significantly smaller number of pearls because of the lack of producers there.

“Tons of pearls come out of Tahiti, and Robert Wan has about 20 percent of the market share,” adds Gellner.

Still, the overall prices are exclusive as the product; Marutea pearls cost at least 30 percent more than other Tahitians. Average sizes of Marutea pearls are 9–14 mm.

Thus far at Inhorgenta, Gellner has sold 250 strands—nearly everything he brought, including an unheard-of 21.3 mm pearl. And while Gellner bought a lot of these special colors of pearls, he is not allowed to buy all from Wan’s inventory. “That wouldn’t be fair,” he notes. Plus, all the top, top-quality Marutea-color pearls end up in Asia where buyers demand perfect shapes and blemish-free surfaces. Marutea pearls are more accessible, with finished retail jewelry prices starting at €495 and strands starting at €1,500 retail and topping out around €100,000. 

Marutea pearls from Gellner and Robert Wan are exotic hues with metallic colors grown in Wan's Marutea Sud island in the Tuamotu archipelago of French Polynesia.

Marutea pearls from Gellner and Robert Wan are exotic hues with metallic colors grown in Wan’s Marutea Sud island in the Tuamotu archipelago of French Polynesia.

Marutea pearl jewelry starts at €495 for a cord bracelet and strands start at €1,500 retail, topping out around €100,000.

Marutea pearl jewelry starts at €495 for a cord bracelet and strands start at €1,500 retail, topping out around €100,000. 

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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Destinations

Live from Inhorgenta in Munich: Aurelie Dellasanta’s Urban Animal Jewelry Is Wild

Munich. Feb. 14, 2020. The creatures highlighted in Aurelie Dellasanta’s Urban Animal jewelry collection will appear familiar while still serving up a bit of shock value. That’s because the foxes, roosters, cats, rabbits, and pigeons (all animals found in the designer’s adopted hometown of London) that are rendered in sterling silver, gold vermeil, and black rhodium are all executed in a glorious scaled-down manner with the addition of punk effects. Think mohawks, spikes, chains, and collars in addition to one undeniably quirky (and necessary?) element: a tiny piece of metal poo. It’s too small to be instantly recognized, though, so don’t worry about judgmental eyes. Why is it there? It’s an equalizer, according to the artist.

“At the end of the day, we are all the same, so this is a reminder,” giggles Dellasanta.

The animals also feature fancy sapphire or diamond eyes as well as polished and matte effects. One whitish finish in sterling silver has a “depleted” look about it to give it a powerfully pale appearance. The jewels are carved in wax first and then cast and finished in London, while the actual animal silhouettes are modeled after tiny toy inspirations. Retail prices start at £200. This show marks the artist’s first exhibit at Inhorgenta (it’s also my first time covering it) and her third trade show to date. A fourth fair is on her wish list.

“I applied to Loot at the Museum of Arts & Design (MAD) in New York City, so I’m hopeful,” she says.

Punk Black Pigeon earrings in 18k gold vermeil with black-rhodium-plated silver and purple sapphire eyes, £295; available online at Aurelie Dellasanta Jewellery.

Punk Black Pigeon earrings in 18k gold vermeil with black-rhodium-plated silver and purple sapphire eyes, £295; available online at Aurelie Dellasanta Jewellery

Punk White Cock ring in whitened silver and black-rhodium-plated silver with pink sapphire eyes, £345; available online at Aurelie Dellasanta Jewellery.

Punk White Cock ring in whitened silver and black-rhodium-plated silver with pink sapphire eyes, £345; available online at Aurelie Dellasanta Jewellery

Punk Gold Doe necklace in 18k gold vermeil with pink sapphire eyes, £450; available online at Aurelie Dellasanta Jewellery.

Punk Gold Doe necklace in 18k gold vermeil with pink sapphire eyes, £450; available online at Aurelie Dellasanta Jewellery

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

This content is copyright protected and may not be reproduced.