Compared to historic jewelers and designers such as Tiffany & Co. and Cartier, Vernhier is a relatively new brand. Established in the 1980s, Vhernier is based in Milan, from where it impacts the jewelry industry as a whole with its focus on rounded, sculptural shapes and unique, earthy materials. Here’s everything you need to know about the history of Vhernier.
According to Forbes, the Vhernier brand got its start in 1984, when Angela Camurati co-founded the design firm in Valenza, naming it after Doge Venier, a Renaissance ruler of Venice. Valenza is known as the premier producer of gold jewelry in Italy and, to an extent, in the entire world. Beyond Vhernier, other high-end jewelry designers source their gold work there, including Bulgari.
The brand began showing off its work in the 1990s. As Margo Raffaelli reports, “The first pieces of Vhernier’s own design were presented in the very beginning of the 1990s, namely laconic earrings and rings of glossy gold. However, the greatest popularity of the company was brought by animalistic brooches in the form of playful turtles, crabs and caterpillars, as well as earrings with a balloon motif.”
Beyond its acclaimed Valenza gold work, Vhernier also often adds a range of unusual and interesting materials to its pieces, including wood, stone, aluminum, titanium and even fossils. It pays particular attention to the types and styles of gold used in its pieces, however. Rose gold is a favorite pick, and the gold used in Vhernier pieces is always incredibly polished, to a high shine. White gold is rarer in Vhernier pieces, but, as Forbes report, when it is used, the brand does not incorporate rhodium, as other designers often do.
Raffaelli further states that Vhernier quickly became connected to the Trasparenze technique, which combines rock crystal with colored opaque minerals, for unique optical illusions and evolving colors that aren’t possible otherwise. As such, Vhernier’s Trasparenze pieces are well-prized by collectors looking for something unique and unusual to add to their jewelry collections.
Raffaelli likewise notes that Vhernier placed as much of an emphasis on the appearance of the brand’s pieces as it did the end user’s experience while wearing them. A certain level of care is taken in ensuring comfort and convenience, which isn’t always a given in the haute joaillerie world.
More recently (though still more than two decades ago), Vhernier was purchased, in 2001, by Carlo Traglio. However, Angela Camurati still has her hand in the brand, serving as the production director, while Traglio heads as president.
In a recent interview, Traglio said of the brand’s future, “At Vhernier we never get tired of experimenting. To explore different materials is part of our tradition in experimentation and of our non-conformist spirit. The great challenge of contemporary jewelry is to make pieces that are closer to our way of living. For an Italian brand, it is a matter of identifying the way to combine innovation with the great tradition of craftsmanship of this country, at the same time maintaining one’s own identity. We have chosen to follow this path by creating something new, with unconventional designs and materials used in innovative ways.”
The modern brand places a high emphasis on social responsibility, ethical sourcing and philanthropy — all things which responsible jewelry collectors are often curious about when exploring a new-to-them designer or brand.
Efforts along these lines include keeping the jewelry-making process entirely in Italy, helping to safeguard the Italian traditions of gold-smithing and jewelry crafting. For sourcing materials, Vhernier notes that it uses “only the best natural materials for its jewelry, provided that procurement of these materials allowed for the health and maintenance of the ecosystem from which they come.” This can be seen in the way Vhernier only sources ebony from old or fallen trees, as well as the way it only sources diamonds from Kimberley Process-approved suppliers who do not use profits from the sale of diamonds in connection with civil wars. Additionally, Vhernier also places a high emphasis on diversity in the industry and 90% of the brand’s employees are women. Philanthropic projects include educational funding for Haitian children and providing funding for poverty-related projects in South Africa.
Some of Vhernier’s Most Notable Pieces
For starters, the necklace christened simply “Blue Velvet” is worth a look (or two). Made with titanium and more than 2,000 diamonds, it was created only after more than 300 hours of work and more than two years of time.
Traglio said of the necklace, “When we began doing research for this necklace we really didn’t know if we would have been able to manage it.
Now I can say it has been a wonderful creative adventure, and a true satisfaction to be able to find the way and the means to achieve this challenge … “
When we first displayed the necklace in the window of our Milan store, among the people who stopped by were some people from the industry, taking pictures. Our store staff recognized them, suggested they enter and have a look. They were amazed by the making, by the quality of the craftsmanship, the coloring, the idea. This kind of recognition from the industry made us very happy.”
The Calla necklace is not as new, but it is just as unique. The necklace makes use of Vhernier’s Trasparenze technique and weaves in a range of interesting materials, such as stones, different types of gold, diamonds and 10 different types of ebony.
The Tourbillon rings are likewise intriguing and unique in the jewelry world. These rings are made up of two rings each, for a layered look. The layers are made up of differing materials, such as rose gold, black titanium, white gold or black diamonds, depending on the particular piece.
You can find Vhernier boutiques in 15 destinations around the world, while the flagship remains in Milan. The brand handcrafts somewhere between 2,400 and 3,600 pieces of jewelry per year. All of these pieces are spread out across a few dozen collections. Bespoke pieces are also available, as is bridal jewelry. You can also find Vhernier at partner boutiques and fine jewelry retailers.
Searching for Your Next Piece of Jewelry?
Whether you’re interested in adding a Vhernier piece to your collection or are just browsing your various options for your next best jewelry purchase, the industry experts at Yamron can help.
Let’s talk to learn more about your tastes, goals for your jewelry collection and designers you already know and love. A Yamron associate can help you find similar designers you may love as well, while recommending pieces that fit your collecting goals, whether that be to create a value-rich, investment-centric collection, to support only sustainable and responsible designers actively doing good in their regions, or anything in between.
You can also explore a selection from our full lineup of jewelry online, at yamron.com, where you’ll find pieces from favorite designers such as Bulgari, Patek Philippe, Robert Prop, Seaman Schepps, Breitling and more. We can’t wait to hear from you!