Wellendorf (Est. 1893) is a German, family owned jewelry manufacturer that rose to fame with their “rope necklace” and colored, spinning rings in which the inner ring can be rotated. Goldsmith, Ernst Alexander Wellendorf founded the company in 1893 and began designing jewelry for the German elite. Eventually, his talent brought him to the attention of the Russian and English royal families.
It was Alexander’s son, Hanspeter, who introduced the “Silk Rope,” a soft supple woven gold chain, which quickly made the company’s reputation. Gold bars were melted down and then mixed with copper and silver to create an 18k gold wire with a reddish tint. The wire was then reworked until it becomes extra fine and thin.
A single, 18-inch necklace needs about 525 feet of this wire. The wire is then hand woven in a technique that takes several hours. Wellendorf only crafts 30 of these necklaces per year. Other pieces synonymous with the brand are their cold enamel rings which were conceived by Hanspeter’s sons, Christoph and Georg Wellendorf.
When Christoph became engaged several years ago, he wanted to give his fiancée “youthful, but sophisticated jewelry.” Though their father was initially resistant, Christoph and George’s experiment with cold enamel became a success. Later, when Christoph’s wife became pregnant with their first child, the idea of the “spinning” ring was conceived. The ring features a revolving middle section made from diamonds and other gemstones.
Each year, Wellendorf chooses a theme for this limited collection ring. In 2005, it was a solar theme. Christoph stated: “The sun symbolizes life, warmth and energy. It’s a positive symbol.”
This year, the themes are “special hours of the day.” One of the featured rings, named “Morning Dew”, has diamonds and light green colored panels of cold enamel that revolve around each other. The diamonds between these aspects when moved, “sparkle like morning dew on fresh grass.” Only 127 rings will be made this year.
Family is important to the Wellendorfs; it informs their creative process. In fact, Wellendorf has refused to pair with other luxury brands, feeling that their designs are expressions of family milestones. Additionally, they want their jewelry to be timeless, not just a passing fad. “To be in fashion today means you are out of fashion tomorrow” Christoph has said. “We want to offer something of substance, something that will be around in 50 years.”