Jeweler and Jewelry Designer Franz Hemmerle Interview

Franz Hemmerle, 70, is a jeweler and goldsmith in the fourth generation. He was about 33 years co-owner of the world famous and renowned jeweler Hamid on the Munich Maximilianstrasse and is working now as a senior partner and designer for the newly established Online jewelry store RENESIM.COM. One reason for me, more about it and also a bit about his father-in-law, René Sim Lacaze, to learn the eponym of the E-commerce project by Maximilian Hemmerle and Georg Schmidt-Sailer.

Mr Hamid, we find an easy entry. What is your favorite gemstone?

My mother had a cashmere used Sapphire, who was very long without a doubt my favorite stone. A stone in a wonderful, soft, velvety blue. Today I actually no favorite gemstone more. Rather, all stones like equally well. This is probably, that I in the course of time and with increasing experience knows how to appreciate the beauty of each gemstone and accordingly find just stunning to everyone for themselves. It always amazes me yourself, how much varieties and colors of stones in nature are found.

Allow us to participate in a curious history in your long career.

A curious event happened to me at the age of 22. We had our store (jeweler Hamid – NB Author), as also today still in the Maximilianstrasse, a very classy address in Munich. One day market was a woman from the Viktualienmarkt, exactly, how you imagine it, in our business. My staff thought that the market woman, not necessarily is the right clientele so yet elegant shop with her clothes, and they took me ´ ´ to help. I should the Lady either kindly hinauskomplimentiere, or just see what I can do with it. In the true Bavarian market woman said: “Mr Hamid, I want something nice when you buy”. Then I presented the most affordable brooch you, we had at that time in the offer. “No, no, it can be quiet something better”, replied the market woman. All right, so handle I purposefully to an expensive piece. At that time, we had a very nice, new Opal flower shop. It was cut from a Mexican Opal, filled with emeralds and worked in gold. She immediately took a liking and enthusiastically said “I’ll take that”. Spoke and their 3 or 5 skirts lifted at the same time and a bunch took out from the bottom “skirt drawer” money bills and laid me calmly, then proud, 11,000 DM cash on the table. With the bundle of money wedelnd I went then to my staff and said with a wink “that could have been your business! Better you not judge customers in the future according to their outward appearance”.

What jewelry piece that you ever were able to design, had you the most pleasure?

Once, my father was commissioned to design a tiara for the wedding of one of his daughters by a Frankish Prince. I had drawn until then never a DIAdem, and though my father order so called our former Cabinet master, you gave the head of the Studio, I was allowed to produce designs for this. I remember very well how I and others barge on Lake Chiemsee on the in the sunshine with my drawing pad sat and drew designs. Overall, I delivered five designs and was very proud of my tiara, I was occupied with aquamarines and diamonds. The Cabinet master has, however, only created a draft, something he never actually did but praised me for my work. Ultimately, the Prince but opted for the drawing of the Cabinet master. (laughs)

Describe us your favorite customer / your favorite customers.

Here I would attract like a customer, which I greatly appreciated for the following reasons. He had new requests on a regular basis. His demands on the quality and the uniqueness of the stones was very high. He wanted to buy accordingly always the best stone of its category. And he knew just always precisely formulated what he wanted, that is to say he had an idea and that has. For example, he came up to me and said: “today I would like to give my wife a frog. They make me beautiful designs for a frog, please.” In this task, I have asked my French father in law (René SIM Lacaze) for help, drew me a few frogs which I then arranged and that customers have actually fallen.

I like to have customers that what they want to know at least a little bit and high demands on quality of work. Such customers is me what she wants rather than those who come to me and has no idea about it. And is also too difficult to convince, because she always a distrust with him inside. A healthy distrust is not so wrong, but when a customer explicitly comes to me, then I presume just that he has confidence in me and my abilities.

To which existing (or even non-existent) project would you like to participate in? Except RENESIM.COM, of course.

Since I have to get out perhaps a bit further. In London, there is the Victoria & Albert Museum, which boasts a rich, wonderful jewelry collection. And in this respect I am thinking of the saying of the Munich gallerist Konrad O. Bernheimer, who once said: “Munich has an equally large and important collection such as the Metropolitan Museum in New York, however, may not exhibit them.” Also I have found consistently that several museums possess its own collection of jewelry. I would hope therefore a project in which the jewelry, which is at the us in five museums (including the Bavarian National Museum, the State Antiquities collection in addition to the Glyptothek, the Residenz Museum and the Danner’s Rotunda in the Pinakothek der Moderne), will be issued together and made available to the public.

There, you could go then too, sometimes with the customer, this a little influence and also see what jewellery line like him. I remember that on the Fabergé exhibition in Munich, which had a huge supply. It has can be seen very well, what interests people. An exhibition of such, as I hope they may be but also not to “Museum”. Hot, the exhibition should be so also in conjunction with photos or people carrying films of jewelry, are available.

Explain how the design to us.

I have learned in the drawing Academy in Hanau and with three different teachers took drawing classes. The first I learned the technical, that is, how one can three-dimensionally represent a piece of jewelry. The second I learned rather how gems so to is, make them look like real. And my third teacher, the brilliant Director of the House, taught me how to get to imaginative creations. He said thus: “Hamid, look at the curtain rod and then you think about how you can conjure up beautiful anything from the knob.”

If I so should draw something for a customer, I tried always to think out something completely new. Over the years, it is but then safe in the taste and his ideas and no longer tries to invent something entirely new.

Earlier, I tried to draw a beautiful piece of jewelry, what looked then like a small image or a thumbnail. And the disappointment of the design had with then unfortunately sometimes until the completion and the astonishment at the client, who could have imagined otherwise slightly under the drawing, than what actually was realized. I am therefore today more modern techniques to apply, i.e., Illustrator, and Photoshop. In my eyes, it is to represent jewelry pretends nothing else than it will be later.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works” (Steve Jobs – 2003). Please interpret this statement for us.

In our previous, common time, my brother and I have always very precious materials used and produced very many pieces of jewelry, for example, from Platinum or 900 gold. We felt this very precious and valuable.

When I think about it today, I would say that this approach was not always the customer and his wishes of wearing contrary. Because the precious material alone is not always what a high benefit for the wearer or the bearer. And so I interpret even the testimony of Steve Jobs, especially bearing in mind that I am a huge Apple fan.

The design has to be undoubtedly good, but also very great importance to the function of the jewelry piece. That starts with the lock, which must be easy to use and continues not to weight, the ear of the customer down to hang up big toe nail.

Describe us your father-in-law, René SIM Lacaze, one of the most influential jewellery designers of the 20th century in Europe, and among other things from 1926 Co Chief Designer at Van Cleef & Arpels.

I’ve always admired him and greatly appreciated. Just because of its vitality, understanding of the jewelry industry and also because of its openness, in which he described everything. For me, he was a brilliant designer and father-in-law. Anyone who has taken me seriously and promoted. So I remember very well, as he has put together a small paint box trip me, with all the tubes, it was necessary to represent as artfully rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Shopped we have of course still real in a typical Parisian specialty store for artists to the Louvre.

My father-in-law partially introduced me into the mysteries of his designer art and showed me many little tricks and gimmicks. In addition he taught me, how each must work, if you have to be ready in three hours, or if you want to draw a high-class design.

In an American magazine I read about him, that he was the first, which it understood to represent three dimensional jewelry. He has painted his designs always on transparent paper and backed with black or matching foil. My father-in-law had always great emphasis that the jewelry was as beautifully displayed.

My beautiful memories of him have been freshened again this that I have inherited from him, without knowing it, his biography. None of the children wanted to have those biography, which he could unfortunately not longer even publish. These loose, handwritten sheet collection with numerous chapters, written in a beautiful French and peppered with numerous paintings, is really a great work. The foreword is written by the famous French actress Marina Vlady and all his friends were described by him in the biography. One and a half years ago I have made the effort, to tap it into the computer and to bring in bound form. Maybe the biography sometimes enters the Internet…da I’m not quite sure.

There you can read then surely that my father-in-law with 70 has ceased to draw jewelry and are then fulfilled a large, has always cherished, desire. And the painter to be. He pursued this second career up to the age of 95. He went every day somewhere, to paint pictures which he then sold for a good cause.

Her first reaction, as your son (Maximilian) subjected to you the business idea RENESIM.COM .

So, I have to say I liked the idea. Also because it was always a secret idea of me. If I could once again be jewelry, then I would hook up with modern techniques, such as just the Internet. In this respect it was out of the question by hand to support my son and his business partner in this enterprise and to pass on my knowledge, skills and contacts, and share.

How has the jewelry industry changed over the years?

I would like to turn to two changes I’ve observed over the years. Today jewelry pieces are brilliant designers no longer designed, but rather influenced by clever marketing people and designed by. I can explain that based on my personal experience. I was Yes 33 years in a family business since it bought a stone, because he liked one and you wanted to do now something beautiful out of it Maybe we still thought that it definitely would be something for the customers of X or Y customers. But this idea was not very pronounced. It was first and foremost to create a beautiful piece of jewelry. After that, I was for six years at Bulgari. There I heard up close, what influence has the marketing. That went so far that we had to sign as Managing Director of Bulgari shop of Headquarters, what the competition (E.g. Cartier o. Tiffany) offered in a certain price range E.g. ear plugs. And according to this information, jewelry has been since then. No wonder that Bulgari by 1950 or 1970 was a lot more interesting and individual than today. Fortunately there is a trend but again back to the individuality and its own, unmistakable design.

But also the behavior of the German customers has changed. The jewelry was something very desirable and important, a tool for self expression in the 60s and 70s. That has changed a lot so, that today jewelry instead has become a beautiful thing.

Mr Hamid, thank you very much for the interview.