By Åse Anderson in London
Atelier Zobel jewellery fuses traditional German craftsmanship and avant-garde art in extraordinary designs that celebrate individual expression.
Designer Peter Schmid embraces contrasts in his work, from rough gems juxtaposed with precious metals to organic structures sitting alongside precise geometry.
Born and raised in the south of Germany, Schmid trained as a goldsmith and jewellery designer at the vocational college in Schwäbisch Gmünd. Inspired by the work of Michael Zobel, he travelled to the town of Constance, located at the northern foot of the Alps, in 1995 and never left. In 2005, Schmid took over Atelier Zobel and has continued to build it into an international brand that has won numerous awards, including the Design Award at the Couture Show in Las Vegas.
Inspiration comes from the patterns and structures of the cobblestone streets of Constance as well as the urban surroundings Schmid encounters on his global travels. Using the gemstones' natural crystalline structures as his starting point, the design process always begins with Schmid sketching out his ideas with a 6B pencil in his workshop on the shores of Lake Constance.
Viewing himself as both a craftsman and an artist, his metalwork in platinum, gold and silver has a painterly effect with a rainbow of colours reflected by gemstones, fossils or Baroque pearls. Around 80% of the metals used in Atelier Zobel jewellery are recycled, and the brand works closely with its stone-cutters to promote fair trade practices.
Speaking about the creative process, Schmid says: "The secret to our collection is a combination of time, technical expertise and partnership. A cuff can take anywhere from a day to a week to create from start to finish, depending on the cut of the stones and pattern of the metalwork."