The Royal Jewellers S01 ep2 : Victor Mayer Jewellery , [Pforzheim]
Interview with Marcus Mohr
Faberge was not considered a jeweller to me, he was not doing the things himself. And
there are only a few sketches from his hand and the things that were made, were made by so-
called “work masters”.
Victor Meyer is the name of my great, great grandfather who founded the
company in 1890 and since then we have created jewellery and precious gifts. He
was a trained steel engraver, and a sculpturer and he had a degree in design.
This is a period of historic style because archaeologists they found a new
jewellery, all jewellery from the Etruscans,, the Greeks, the Romans and then jewellers
started to recreate jewellery in that style. And then they were looking back at the
German jewellery tradition of the Gothic, Renaissance and the Medieval Style.
He opened a workshop, and he was the head designer, and he employed other
designers and craftsmen who made the jewellery for him. I am actually the fourth
generation, my grandfather was not a goldsmith he was a businessman, he
married one of the daughters because all the sons who were skilled or were
educated to take over the company were killed in the first World War so they had
to buy in some management through marriage.
Interviewer: That is a bummer. Serious?
Yeah, so my great uncles they were educated in France and Spain. And then my
father took over the company in the 1960s and he was also a businessman. He
was not a skilled craftsman.
Interviewer: When did you get involved in all of this?
When I born, no actually I joined the company 5 years ago.
Interviewer: OK, so you are the new kid in town.
We are not only normal jewellers we have manufacturing as you can see. We can
do things that few can do in other companies.
Interviewer: How would you describe your jewellery?
Well our jewellery is based on the tradition and of the history of jewellery making.
That’s the concept of Peter ??? Faberge, who um.
Interviewer: But when did the Faberge relationship start?
Interviewer: At 1990.
1990, only 11 years ago.
Interviewer: Yeah, but why?
Because the Faberge company after the Russian Revolution
Interviewer: In 1918 ????
Production was over and the shops was closed and then the company the
company name was sold to an entrepreneur who produced fragrances using the
name Faberge mainly in America but there was no jewellery production and they
were looking for somebody to revive it in the late 80s.
They were looking for somebody who was able to use the old traditional
techniques of jewellery making. Engraving, gauche, enamelling, making objects
of art, and having all the tools, design, taste and the distribution worldwide to do
that. We already produced for several reasons in the same old style and that is
why we became work masters for Faberge. And that’s an old tradition, Faberge
himself actually was not considered a goldsmith himself. He was not doing the
things himself and there are only a few sketches from his hand. Designs were
made by different people and the things were made by so-called work masters
who were working more or less independently under his surveillance. These work
masters were head work masters of a workshop. One was specialised in
enamelling, one was specialised in silver, the other one jewellery. And so there
were lots of different specialists and two or three work masters of Faberge are
very famous because one of them um, two of them made the famous Imperial
Easter Eggs for the Tsar. The name is Witchtrim and the other’s name is
Pforzheim. So what we do at Victor Meyer today is basically we continue this
tradition of Faberge on one side and te work master on the other side. So we are
the work master for Faberge today.
But we don't do reproductions. What we do is, Faberge himself did not create a
totally new style, he used the already existing styles adding his own taste. He was
an innovator in the way he made it and the way he used the old styles. He started
doing copies. I was recently in Dresden in Germany and I saw some pieces that
he copied. You look you go through this musuem…
Interviewer: That he copied?
Yeah, and this was the way young craftsmen worked in the late 19th century - the
craftsmen went from museum to museum studying the old techniques, the old
styles, making sketches, going to their workshops making reproductions and
selling them. But Faberge did something after a while, first he made the copies,
then he started to create Baroque pieces, not copies, but they were Baroque
using the Baroque symbols, style, but making new things and making them better
than it was ever made before.
Interviewer: Why did you decide to do this?
It is a fantastic profession. I can be a creator.
Interviewer: So you are a hands on sort of person?
Yes, I am working with my craftsmen.
Interviewer: Can you work on the bench yourself?
I learnt the basics of goldsmith, of stone cutting, of stone setting.
Interviewer: Is jewellery art?
No it is not, it is a kind of art. But looking, if you go to a museum today, in the
same museum you can find paintings and you can find jewellery. You can find
Faberge jewellery in museums all over the world so it’s considered to be art.
Faberge was famous because he made relatively inexpensive objects of art. All
his competitors used big diamonds showing it is expensive but he put his efforts
into the workmanship. This year we finished a clock – it’s this large, it’s about 25
centimeters - it is one of the most complicated clocks ever made and the
movement fits into the egg shape, which has the moon face, the zodiac, the hour
and the minute and it plays music.
Interviewer: But can it make a good cup of coffee, that’s the most important
thing I need to know?
Our success with Faberge I understand, because having a piece of Faberge, a
small Faberge egg pendant, a pair cufflinks of Faberge give you the chance to
feel a lifestyle of the Russians for example of the late 19th century where people
still had the time to chat and they had the time to look for a gift.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Victor Mayer Jewellery