A recent gathering in Berlin’s April First boutique was part of the “Last Chance Tour” for jewelry brand Ina Beissner, but the head of the eponymous line couldn’t have been happier. The several-city mini tour marked the end of her six-year-old fashion jewelry line, and the official beginning of her transition into fine jewelry.
“It has always been my dream to work with gold and also precious stones — it’s a very interesting world,” Beissner told WWD. “But I wasn’t ready yet. Now also many other brands are experimenting. There are other brands such as Delfina Delettrez, who are just doing fine jewelry, so I thought this could be maybe the right time for me.”
Beissner’s previous collections were silver, gold-plated and brass, and featured chunky cuffs and her signature silent jingle bell shapes, and ran 120 to 500 euros, or $125 to $523. Now, she’s using 18-karat recycled gold and diamonds, and prices start at 340 euros, $356, for a pair of mini drop hoops and go up to 2,595 euros, $2,713, for a single jeweled ear piece set with 112 tiny diamonds. All dollar figures are calculated at current exchange.
Ina Beissner is just one of the Berlin designers reinventing themselves through a bit of fine-tuning.
Jean Balke’s Nallik line had started to suffer from its own success. Founded in 2010, the range of chunky talismanic stone-centered pendants set in brass and silver were picked up by Anthropologie, Galeries Lafayette Berlin and a host of global retailers. Wholesale demand, and running her own retail store separated Balke from the joy of traveling to collect, and then working with, the natural stones she loves.
Now reborn as Atelier Nallik, the firm produces each piece as a limited edition. And though she’s keeping some brass (priced starting from 150 euros, or $157) and silver (from 200 euros or $210) pieces, her concentration is on the unusual, like an edition of five gold-set sapphires from Pakistan (priced at 1,190 euros, or $1,244 per piece). Balke posts each new creation on the brand’s web site, and on Instagram, where they sell quickly, or deals personally with clients. She no longer focuses on retailers, though is working with select stores including Merci Shop in Paris, and Bazaar in Los Angeles.
“My focus clearly now is direct sales and by appointment or trunk shows in a store for one evening,” she explained.
This method also gives her the chance to highlight the attributes of each stone, such as black sapphire’s purported ability to “eliminate frustration and bring joy and peace,” or opal’s “joyful and uplifting” nature.
At its peak, Ina Beissner’s collection was sold at Harvey Nichols, Intermix, 10 Corso Como in Seoul, and many more. Her brand’s evolution feels a bit like starting over, she says.
“I have lost a lot of customers because they don’t have the clients who buy fine jewelry, but I also find there are few that I kept, and also the private customers. There are a lot of customers growing with me, who are now ready to buy fine jewelry,” commented Beissner, pointing to Hong Kong’s Joyce as a retail example this tendency.
Sabrina Dehoff is taking yet another approach to her new fine line — she’s saving it for herself. Dehoff’s fun fashion pieces can be found at Le Bon Marché in Paris, The Conran Shops in London, and at Henrik Vibskov in Copenhagen and New York, to name a few.
But her limited edition fine jewelry pieces are exclusively for the home crowd — and for her own creative growth.
“It’s not only about diamonds and making things more and more expensive, it’s about using the materials we are interested in, and creating objects that are interesting for everybody and have something intriguing about them that are part of our story,” she explained.
Having introduced silver two seasons ago, Dehoff’s recently released 10th anniversary collection is a happy medium between fashion and fine. The unisex range is sterling silver and gold-plated sterling, with engraved mother-of-pearl stones engraved with exclamations of positivity — Oui, Ja, or Yes. It’s sold only in the Berlin shop, and via Dehoff’s web site.
Dehoff said her popular fashion line will continue to grow via wholesale, and there will be a variety of offerings in the fine range — from 14-karat gold pendant necklaces for 250 euros ($261) to special limited-edition pieces priced between 1,000 to 3,000 euros ($1,046 to $3,137)
Some may indeed be very special — the ultimate in occasion jewelry.
“We get lots of requests for engagement rings and those kinds of things which we hadn’t done yet,” Dehoff said. “That’s something that you can only do with fine jewelry. So we have started building our models already in different sizes, and we have molds for the engagement and wedding rings.”
In the end, the move from fashion to fine also starts to look like a move from ephemeral to eternity.
“I want to do something that would last forever, but also that you could pass down to the next generation, and I think this is a more emotional way of wearing jewelry, using jewelry, and buying jewelry,” said Ina Beissner.