With a strong history of craftsmanship and a wealth of talented creatives – from designers to goldsmiths – Munich is often seen as Germany’s capital of jewellery. The city is home to many of the nation’s most respected names, and when it comes to highly individual handmade pieces, Munich’s jewellery brands are leading the way.
Labour of love
Patrik Muff is one of the most exciting young jewellery brands in Germany. Its eponymous founder was born in Switzerland to a family of craftsmen and, perhaps naturally, always felt a real passion for great workmanship and luxurious materials. Having trained as a goldsmith and also studied art, he eventually found his home in Munich, where he set up his studio with his wife, Bele. Patrik designs and creates the atelier’s standout creations, while Bele oversees the showroom and the image of the brand. This is a family business, and a real labour of love.
Patrik Muff’s jewellery is typified by artistic touches. In the words of Patrik, it is the jewellery’s ‘diversity’ and the unique touches of the ‘neo-baroque’ that make the atelier’s ‘own specific signature’. He is known for taking inspiration from cultures and ideas across the world. His Afro collection, for example, is inspired by the handcrafted jewellery of the Tuareg people of North Africa, and features handmade amulets, earrings and rings in a variety of precious metals. His pieces are designed to be timeless: ‘Every single piece I have designed is still offered in our showroom,’ he explains.
Patrik Muff is also famous for its collaborations, often with iconic German brands. A limited-edition collection with Birkenstock features handcrafted sterling silver Patrik Muff buckles on the brand’s world-famous Arizona and Gizeh sandals. Stunning hand-painted porcelain pendants, made in collaboration with Nymphenburg, take the shape of koi carp or fragments of coral.
Patrik Muff jewellery is bold and creative, and the same can be said for that of Sévigné, another Munich-based jeweller. Founded in 1979 by Renate Schrems and Jonas Fink, the brand is known for its thoughtful and often extravagant jewellery designs. ‘The creations are a tribute to confident women with an extraordinary taste and a sophisticated style,’ says Schrems of her designs, which she describes as ‘unconventional’. Indeed, Sévigné pieces are not for the shy: inspired by everything from flora and fauna to religious iconography, the brand’s bold creations always tell a story.
One of Sévigné’s best-loved collections is Madonnen (‘Madonnas’), which was inspired by Schrems’ spiritual leanings and has become almost an icon for the label. ‘[It] protects our company and employees with its positive energy,’ she says. The range beautifully juxtaposes the traditional motif of the madonna with modern shapes and luxurious materials – from chandelier earrings dripping with colourful precious stones to chunky yellow gold sovereign rings edged in diamonds. As with all Sévigné pieces, these are handcrafted in the brand’s atelier using exemplary materials and, the key thing that Schrems feels sets the brand apart, ‘the highest quality craftsmanship’.
It’s not just modern brands that are pushing the boundaries of jewellery design in Munich. Now run by the fourth generation of its eponymous founding family, Hemmerle came into existence in 1893 when brothers Joseph and Anton took over a goldsmith specialising in medals and orders. They gave their new brand a distinctive style, which swiftly led to it being appointed Purveyor to the Court of Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria, firmly establishing it as one of Germany’s leading jewellers.
Never content to rest on their laurels, the members of the family have been looking to the future for over 120 years. In 2006, husband and wife Christian and Yasmin Hemmerle began running the company alongside Christian’s parents Stefan and Sylveli. As Christian states, Hemmerle is ‘very much a family affair’, and between them the four have cemented a strong vision. ‘We blur the languages of art and design to create jewellery defined by powerfully audacious modernity, underpinned by our dedication to the highest levels of craftsmanship,’ explains Christian.
Handcrafted to perfection
The team at Hemmerle is not afraid to take risks. Visitors to the boutique on Maximilianstrasse will find stunning handcrafted pieces to suit every taste, from the modern to the more traditional. For formal occasions, look out for sparkling earrings formed from complementary precious materials – white gold and tourmaline, or bronze, white gold and diamonds. Thick bangles carved from wood – from olive to ebony – and finished with precious metals and stones such as diamonds or jade will add a fashion-forward touch to any outfit.
Each piece by Hemmerle is a one-off, a testament to the fact that the team sees high jewellery as an art. The same view is held by Patrik Muff and Sévigné, and it is this approach that makes all three brands stand out. From the smallest creation to the most extravagant, a level of thought, time and – crucially – love has gone into every piece of jewellery that can’t help but shine through in the finished product.