In 1979 Niessing developed its Tension Ring and the “Niessing S” jewelry line in 1982. The company is currently in a phase of generational change. Three partners and five staff members talked to us about their remits and their affinity with an unusual company. (Read on below)
Art Aurea Mrs. Lenz-Kaufhold, you have been one of Niessing’s partners for several years now. When was your first encounter with Niessing jewelry?
Johanna Lenz-Kaufhold In the early 1980s I read the phrase “Knowing it is platinum” in an ad. This prompted me to acquaint myself with what were back then unusual pieces of platinum jewelry created by Niessing. I’m still fascinated by the clear-cut forms and shapes that perpetuate the spirit of the Bauhaus and the specialized techniques involved. This has developed into an enduring love.
Art Aurea Mr. Verwohlt, you trained with Niessing, obtained your master goldsmith’s certificate in 1995 and have been Head of Production since 1999. How are you perceived in Vreden, working as a master goldsmith for Niessing? And what does this profession and your job mean to you?
Johannes Verwohlt We’re exotic here in Vreden, because there’s no other manufactory that does anything similar for 400 km around. It does happen once in a while that my colleagues and I hear a comment like “Oh, you work for Niessing.” At the beginning, I could hardly imagine that I would end up really loving my job. It’s working with my hands, plus the opportunity to experiment, to use my creative mind and develop something new. The technical possibilities, the variety of the models and the continuous new developments are simply unique here.
Art Aurea Ms. Hüning, what was it about creating jewelry in a manufactory that appealed to you before you started your training with Niessing? And when do you go home with a feeling of deep satisfaction?
Marion Hüning My favorite subjects at school were art and handicrafts. I’ve always enjoyed forms and colors. This is why I applied for a job with Niessing. I’m satisfied in the evening, after I’ve crafted an interesting piece of jewelry. Sometimes there’s a technical problem that challenges the entire team. When we’ve been able to solve it collectively, then it’s been a successful day.
Art Aurea Mr. Bennink, you’re responsible for design engineering and development at Niessing. What precisely does this involve? And what kind of training is required for this job?
Lambert Bennink Specifically, this involves implementing the idea of a product, starting from the design, from the very first pencil sketch, to final manufacture. This includes costing, drawing up the concomitant lists, design and development. If necessary, I even create tools. After training as a metalcutting mechanic specializing in turning, I also trained as a goldsmith and then created prototypes. I was already making models and was interested in technology and computers when I was still a boy.
Art Aurea Ms. Friesleben, you studied jewelry design at Düsseldorf’s University of Applied Sciences and are now a member of Niessing’s design team. Your “Topia” collection is a big success. What kind of role can Niessing jewelry play for today’s women and their self-image?
Nina Friesleben Nowadays, women are much more self-confident than in the past. They often buy their own jewelry to express their individuality. Many women have an intuitive sense of good design. And they are attaching progressively more importance to quality and sustainability. This is right in line with our idea of puristic, authentic design.
Art Aurea Mrs. Wissing, you’ve been working in jewelry management at Niessing since 1978. Back then, in addition to manufacturing wedding rings, the company launched its first collections of innovative jewelry. Last February, there was an exhibition in Munich showcasing historical advertising photos that H.P. Hoffmann took for Niessing. What kind of effect did these photos have on you?
Marlies Wissing The exhibition brought back many memories of that time. I thought of the many “Niessing S” discs (puristic necklaces) that I sent out single-handedly. When you take each piece in your hands, you develop a close relationship with the jewelry. That was a very exciting project back then, when Niessing hit the market with designer jewelry and we had this huge success. This is why I’m so pleased that they are still pursuing this path and continuously progressing the Niessing concept with most encouraging results.
Art Aurea You have been one of the partners and CEO of Niessing for a short while now, Mr. Erl. What do you find appealing about this remit? What are your goals?
Sandro Erl I am grateful that, after working for jewelry companies in Switzerland, Japan and the USA, I can now contribute towards shaping the destiny of this firm. Niessing is a legend, and has influenced the jewelry culture in Germany like no other company. The many prize-winning design classics are the basis for development work in the next few years. But they also create entirely new designs in our “White House”, the realm of our design team. I see excellent perspectives for Niessing on a worldwide scale and want to contribute towards strengthening the Niessing brand’s international stature, helping our products to keep on setting new standards in terms of design and technology and to evoking positive emotions.
Art Aurea Klaus Kaufhold, you were one of the first jewelers to propagate a modern jewelry culture – with Niessing as the driving force – in Germany in the late 1970s. Under your management, the Niessing “ship” has been picking up steam again. Where is the journey headed?
Klaus Kaufhold From the outset, I have considered Niessing as an influential trendsetter for contemporary design and a dynamic jewelry culture. Guiding the destiny of this traditional and innovative manufactory for six years now has been an exciting challenge for me. It’s always been my goal to progress the company’s business in the spirit of Niessing’s original philosophy. The generational change will be a gradual process, and I’m convinced that we can all expect a lot from Niessing in the future.
Questions Reinhold Ludwig Photos Hideaki Hamada, Osaka
English translation Sabine Goodman