KaDeWe spotlights these gem highlights

Germany, I have noticed for some time, has some of the world’s most innovative and original jewelry designers. My assumption was recently proven while I was in Berlin. At Germany’s largest department store, KaDeWe founded in 1907, (very much like London’s Harrod’s but easier to navigate), a new indoor “luxury boulevard” for jewelry gave me a quick resume and the proof was in the vitrines. Of course, there were other jewelry-filled boutiques including Bulgari, Dior, Cartier, Gucci, Chopard, Blancpain, but what was far more enticing were the designs of two German companies…Bunz and Wellendorff.

The jewelry of Bunz was particularly interesting. When Georg Bunz started the Bunz Collection in 1975, yellow and white gold was then the consumer’s choice. About twenty years ago, Georg Bunz entered into unexplored territory. He had a particular admiration for platinum and decided that the role of this precious metal with a former glamorous heritage would play a crucial part in his work. The trained master engraver set up Atelier Bunz and focused on jewelry primarily made with platinum. . He reached his goal since the finished products reflect his creativity and are so distinctive that his groundbreaking technical innovations now have numerous patents and international design copyrights.

Bunz’s collection of interchangeable pieces, a sort of mix and match with diamonds, coloured gem stones and different shape set mainly in platinum, gives his clients a unique experience of originality. Here a customer could actually add her own design talents and personality to a neckpiece or bracelet and actually create a different look every day.

Half moons come in onyx tipped with platinum, others platinum tipped with gold and vice versa often set with a trim of pave diamonds. The convenient space of the moon is the perfect place to insert a coloured round marble gem stones or platinum or gold ball, both available in several sizes. A crescent shape often edged discreetly with pave diamonds, can also be integrated on the well- crafted narrow platinum chain. Pave encrusted is a variation and again can be worn alone or fitted in the open spaced curve with a bauble. Oblongs and slightly twisted elongated shapes are another part of this unusual but sensuous collection. Certainly, if one wanted to make a jewelry statement, it would be to add several coloured gem balls and a handful of shapes for real impact. My favoured piece was a grouping of various sized platinum and gold balls, all with a central diamond stud, on the well crafted platinum or gold neck wire or stunning black silk rope.

But there was even more. Gold and platinum ‘tubing’ some about an inch long, could be divided by a hanging pearl topped with a diamond loop dropping from a black silk rope. There are smaller pieces of platinum or gold ‘tubes’ divided by an assortment of small roundels, centred with a large hanging gem stone. Peridot, pink quartz, moonstones, citrines, blue topazes are some of the gem palette shown. With Bunz, there’s an opportunity to have jewelry to suit your personality and philosophy.

And if that wasn’t enough to make Bunz a favoured designer, he then decided to develop a new diamond cut. The Octus, a typical double pyramid seems which disperses more light and sparkle. It became the key element in the Bunz tension ring which he pioneered as a setting technique enabling the stone to be anchored between the ends of the platinum ring with the end result looking like a floating diamond.

Now included in Bunz’s repertoire is The Bunz Wristwatch. Here he mounts a diamond in the watch glass and uses an invisible setting which gives the impression of the weightlessly floating diamond. The end result is a union of design and modern technology.

Also in this airy renovated new boutique at KaDeWe are 18 karat gold designs by Wellendorff. Any family company that has stayed in business for over 113 years, has my seal of approval. It’s very difficult to walk by the goldsmiths’ perfection of sleek, braided gold offerings.

But what really caught my eye was the enameling. Since Faberge, many have tried, few have succeeded in creating great enameling. But Wellendorff has done just that.

Enamelled rings banded with a row of diamonds and a twist of gold are often enhanced with diamond centered flowers. Enamel comes in a wide range of colours from burgundy red to blue and chartreuse green. Another important element for Wellendorff’s bracelet collection is the folding clasp which is easily opened but utterly secure.

A superb multi-braided gold collier is studded with bezel-set diamonds and chic woven multi braided bracelets often has a gem drop. The very popular twisted gold bangles, some with enameled detailing, are so well crafted that they feel like silk against the skin.

Wellendorff’s designs have genuine value as the company professes and are indeed unforgettable. And only when the signature “W”, their trademark featuring a small diamond, is attached to the piece of jewelry do consumers know it has met Wellendorff’s high standards.