The Royal Jewellers S03 ep5 : Florian Wagner Jewellery [Vienna]

Interview with Florian Wagner

Already as a boy, Berlin-born Florian Wagner became acquainted with the world of colours and art through his father, owner of the famous “Studio for Mosaic and Glass-art August Wagner”. Later, his mother Prof. Jucunda Wagner indroduces him to the craft of enamelling and goldsmithing and in 1969 Florian Wagner obtains his Journeyman‘s certificate in Berlin. He then leaves Europe and heads for Johannesburg South Africa where he lives and works until 1973. It is there, where he becomes so captivated by the prevalence and variety of minerals and gemstones that to this day, his work is still influenced by the experience. In 1973 he arrives in Vienna and enrols at the Academy of applied Art where he takes up miniature sculpturing and medal-art, he then goes on and opens the Gallery “Mana” which until 1989 remains one of Vienna’s important showcases of contemporary art. The discourse with modern art not only inspires Florian Wagner’s jewellery designs but also the shape of utensils made in Silver, like the “Teapot for two”(Silvertriennale 1991/92) and finally results in him taking part in the Expo “Diagonal-Austrian Design“ in 1992. Several freely concepted liturgical utensils come about and in 1997, exposure to the rather scant yet aestheticly very expressive Japanese art gives rise to a series of “exotic” pieces of jewellery. The unique use of precious metals and stones in addition to first class workmanship is topic number one at Florian Wagner’s – despite that we never loose sight of the ultimate goal: the wearability of a piece of jewellery and to be in tune with the person who wears it. It is the artist’s need to underline the inner and exterior image of the client. Music provides the inspiration Florian Wagner mostly draws on.


… Wagner is 60 years old and it’s making jewellery since more than 40 years.

At the age of 13 I decided to be the jeweller, the main reason was because I realised that if I made
jewellery the girls like it.

I’m not from Vienna, I’m from Berlin. I come from a family which they made the German … it
was a big, big factory, we had 90 people at the best time and produced gas/glass? and I was
confronted with all these colourful stones because if you look at my work you will find I have, I
use many precious and semi-precious stones and it’s very colourful and that’s the main reason why
I like opal because opal really has every, every colour in it.

Florian Wagner cornflake necklace

My mother also did some jewellery and my mother did enamel. I learned loving this material,
loving material, like gold like silver.

My mother was an Austrian citizen and I have four brothers and except of one we all went to art
business more or less in Austria.

We have made an Academy for … and I got into the university but I had to continue making my
jewellery because it was making a living.

I don’t come from the school. Some people went to it specially Germany there were certain very
important teachers and they had the certain style and I didn’t had a school like that.

Florian Wagner ring

For me the stone is the inspiration for making something with it.

Because they are also goldsmiths they are working with brass and with copper and with feather and
with paper and all that stuff and it’s very interesting but I’m from that sort of point I’m traditional
goldsmith in the technique. I don’t do it for the sake of the … of the stone but the pieces still turn
out not to be so cheap. The Japanese Ambassador he pointed out that this would make an
interesting piece and it was for me very interesting because these people see very, very much. It’s
call Heaven & Hell yeah.

I came across many stone dealers and I bought ten and I used two. Now I have about I don’t know
how thousand stones and from these thousand stones I get about 300 very interesting, very special
they are not sapphires and diamonds and rubies, I also have some of these, and I start with these
stones to create something, whatever it is.

Florian Wagner rings

These pearls for example, nobody has them. My dealer he brought that stuff to me and he thought I
could like it. I bought it and I can’t get any more. That’s a very special shape and definitely they
don’t have a big output because they’re very expensive but they are fascinating.

I have both kinds of customers but some people ask me to see my collection, are you able, are you
prepared, are you willing to make something after my wish, I say yes, I’m willing and I will do it
but I must like it.

Very good client for jewellery is a woman who is prepared to wear whatever it is, the German
would be … with no thinking about it, but it’s just wearing it and that’s it.

In German we have the word … basically it is art yeah but because it is used it changes its value
sometimes it also changes the meaning because maybe somebody else wears it and so on and so
on. It is very different between a piece of jewellery and a picture, a painting.

Florian Wagner  bracelet

One of my favourite stones definitely is opal. I am using mainly the Australian ones, three weeks
ago or four weeks ago that came somebody from France who showed me opals from Ethiopia,
okay that was very interesting stuff, I know that before but now they find another mine which is
just fantastic.

I had about ten years I was working for an Arab man who lived in Cairo I made with him quite
interesting business on private basis and that was a very interesting thing. I had to all the time
available. A very different market but it was an interesting market that I won’t miss the

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