A White Angel from the Golden City, close to the Black Forest, descended on Basel
Angus Davies writes about the Wellendorff Angel’s Wings Collection after meeting the brand at Baselworld.
I joined other guests at the Wellendorff presentation at Baselworld in March. I must confess I have never been a great lover of jewellery for men and sadly for my wife, a watch has always taken fiscal precedence over feminine finery. However, I have noticed the original design of Wellendorff jewellery in magazines and thought a visit to their exhibition area was worthwhile. I was not to be disappointed.
Wellendorff is the family firm from the City of Pforzheim, adjacent the beautiful Black Forest. Pfrorzheim has an illustrious history of jewellery manufacture dating back to the 18th century and leading to its nickname of the “Goldstadt”, City of Gold or Golden City.
The Wellendorff family also have a long history of manufacturing jewellery. The company was formed in 1893 and remains in the hands of the family to this day. The fourth generation of Wellendorffs continue to operate the company and have not lost touch with their client base.
The company operates its own Boutiques across the globe, as well as supplying other prestigious retailers with its jewellery bearing a unique aesthetic appearance. Precision, craftsmanship, quality and fabrication from the finest materials are synonymous with the “Made in Germany” appellation. Yet Wellendorff not only conforms to this national stereotype, but offers its own form of style.
Wellendorff jewellery is contemporary, yet is not subject to fickle fashion. Its pieces are elegant, sometimes delicate in appearance, yet harness strength, facilitating everyday use.
The moment had arrived
I stood in a room at Baselworld with fellow guests of Wellendorff and the lights dimmed. There was a sense of expectation. Nothing prepared me for what happened next.
A piece of white, silk-like material fell from the ceiling and then a statuesque figure descended from the heavens, clasping the material in elegant embrace. Angelic in appearance, the Fraülein performed a mesmerising balletic routine which captivated those assembled.
She concluded her performance by passing her beau, a necklace from the latest Wellendorff collection, “Angel’s Wings”. The light entered the room and the finest gold jewellery was revealed to the excited attendees of this original product launch.
Amulet Eternal Night
Wellendorff are famed for their necklaces and this year’s collection did not disappoint. The fine twisted gold rope design for which the brand is known has a delightful delicacy and was presented with the new Amulet Eternal Night. The amulet features a flawless 2 carat diamond at its centre. It is then encircled by two rings, set with diamonds in a seemless form.
The inner of the two rings, has two rows of diamonds, whilst the larger outer ring has one row of diamonds.
The outer ring has enamelling on its vertical sides in a hue of midnight-grey, but with an almost transparent quality, allowing the engraved Angel’s wing to be revealed their exquisite ethereal beauty.
The wearer also has the flexibility to remove one or both of the rings, or reverse the rings to provide a different look. This is an example of the practical versatility which distinguishes Wellendorff jewellery. It is eminently wearable.
The one product which stood out for me was the Crystal Wings ring. I have never seen a finer ring. I was captivated by its charms. It was probably because of my love of haute horology and the artisans who work in watchmaking that I immediately identified with this product.
Firstly there is the white enamelling. I am used to seeing grand feu enamelling within watchmaking where temperatures in excess of 800°C are employed by skilled enamellers to achieve a beautiful lustre of which I never tire. This enamelling was referred to as cold enamelling employing temperatures of approximately 170°C. Its appearance was stunningly sublime.
Predominantly pure white enamelling, congruent with the angel theme, affords the ring a beautiful shimmer and allows the angel’s wing motif beneath, product of the engraver’s toil, to be seen.
The enamelling is complimented with resplendent white gold swirls and a circlet of perfect diamonds.
Wellendorff has not eschewed its traditions. The diamond-W adorns the ring and the characteristic rope, close to the company’s heart, features on the upper and lower edges.
The Angel’s wings motif is repeated on the yellow gold interior.
The “unique selling proposition”, to use marketing terminology, is the revolving facility of the ring. The ring is actually a combination of several rings, allowing the wearer to turn sections of the ring on the finger. I placed the ring on my small finger to evaluate its functionality and it seamlessly moves to the whim of the wearer.
The depth of the craftsmanship at Wellendorff means that they work to tolerances of 0.01mm, less than the thickness of a human hair. The gap between the rings incredibly small, mitigating the potential for ingress of foreign particles. Pursuit of aesthetic appeal does not counter addressing of practical issues.
Manouvering the ring around my finger, in a clock-wise and then counter clock-wise direction, it reminded me of worry beads but with a less conspicuous appearance. I found this action incredibly cathartic and calming.
I admire Wellendorff for its obvious craftsmanship, design and the passion of the family whom I had the good fortune to meet. I can appreciate the timeless lines and the originality of their work.
I was touched by the Angels in Basel. My wife may well be the proud wearer of a Wellendorff ring in due course. Those readers who may feel sorry that I would have to forgo the purchase of another timepiece, should not worry. My actions are not wholly selfless as I have thought I could secretly apply the ring to my little finger in trying times.