In Good Hands

Perfection takes time. And when you’re talking about the beauty of a piece of handcrafted jewelry by Vhernier, that type of perfection takes months, if not years.

Since the house was founded in 1984, its modern, elegant creations—their designs inspired by contemporary artwork, architecture, or nature—have been sculpted by hand by the most expert artisans. These highly experienced master craftsmen work wonders of precision and engineering, using only the most beautiful natural materials. Stones like jade, carnelian, and lapis lazuli are selected based on their vibrant colors, and cut specifically for each individual piece of jewelry. These, as well as the rock crystal Vhernier uses in its “trasparenze,” or transparencies, must not have even the slightest defect, “otherwise any imperfection would be magnified and compromise the beauty of the jewel,” says the house.

It’s the artisans’ ability to combine traditional jewelry-making skills, such as the melting and shaping of gold, with incredibly innovative techniques that sets Vhernier apart. The craftsmanship is born from the desire to create designs that are radically different from anything else the market has to offer. For example, colored titanium (used in the house’s Velvet collection) and the Eyeliner pavé (shown on these pages) are created using new and unconventional techniques, within a very traditional atelier near Milan.

And that work takes time. Even the less-elaborate pieces, all sculptures in their own rights, can take 60 days to produce; others, requiring more complex work, take weeks, months, or even years more. In order to create the house’s innovative jewelry, the artisans devote much of their work to researching new techniques. For working with less common materials—for instance, titanium—it took three years to develop ways to work with such a durable metal and transform it into elegant and lightweight jewelry. Titanium is renowned for its incredible strength, but this strength makes, for example, setting diamonds challenging; Vhernier’s artisans eventually developed the necessary techniques. When working with the metal, however, unlike gold, any time there is an imperfection, the artisan must start from scratch and discard what’s already been done, rendering the work a very painstaking process.

Above all, it’s the artisans, their skills and workmanship, that matter in creating the jewels. Carlo Traglio, president of Vhernier, says each artisan’s movements are paramount. “It’s not just the use of the hands,” he says, “but the gestures the artisans make. A fast gesture or a slower one, a more marked gesture or a softer one; that makes all the difference.”