Owned by the Merkle family, who have 70 years of experience in the jewellery industry, VIERI Haute Joaillerie was founded in Pforzheim, the centre of the German jewellery industry. The company moved its headquarters to Switzerland in 1999. Under the forward-looking leadership of CEO Guya Merkle, granddaughter of founder Rudolf Merkle, VIERI Haute Joaillerie is moving into a new era.
What is true luxury? Shouldn’t a luxury product have a positive effect on everyone who comes into contact with it?
Today, VIERI uses only ethically sourced gold. While travelling in Peru and Uganda, Guya met workers at several gold mines and discovered that they were permanently exposed to toxic materials without being aware of it.
The experience had a profound effect on her and redefined her thinking on true luxury. As a result, she established the earthbeat foundation, an organisation that stands for ethical gold sourcing.
VIERI’s mission is to create precious jewellery that holds a special value for anyone who encounters it. In addition to its in-house products, the company works with talented contemporary designers to create the unique VIERI collections. VIERI provides a platform for artistic ventures wherever Haute Joaillerie, creativity and ethically sourced materials define new standards in meaningful luxury. VIERI believes that responsible behaviour and luxury are inseparably linked, and that this relationship helps to define the new vision of luxury.
Every piece of jewellery from VIERI is made with respect for people and the environment, and has maximum impact on the well-being of people who experience it.
VIERI is a highly service-oriented company and aims for maximum transparency. This means customers are able to make purchase decisions in total awareness. We appreciate our talented employees and encourage honest partnerships. VIERI is committed to supporting projects that will encourage change in the jewellery industry.
Guya Merkle’s decision to take over as CEO of VIERI Haute Joaillerie made her the third generation to run the family-owned company. The granddaughter of founder Rudolf Merkle and daughter of Eddy Vieri Merkle, she is now leading the company into a new era.
1939 – 1965 Rudolf Merkle
He established the Rudolf Merkle wholesale jewellery company in Pforzheim.His Italian wife, Eva Gaietta de la Serra, was related to the royal house of de la Serra. Her keen interest in art and painting changed the appearance of the jewellery made by Rudolf Merkle. Together, she and her husband designed gold rings and necklaces, which were produced in their own workshops and then sold to wholesalers.
1965 – 1999 Eddy Vieri Merkle and Kate Merkle
When Eddy took over as head of VIERI Haute Joaillerie, he was only 17. But he did not want simply to continue doing business his father’s way: he had his own visions and the talent to realize them. Finally, he won the trust of several reputable jewellers and thus triggered a small revolution in the jewellery industry: large houses such as Bucherer, Wempe and Boucheron began to buy his creations directly.In the early 1980s, Eddy Merkle met Belgian-born Kate Ponjaert van Duyn during his travels. It was love at first sight: they married and Kate moved to Pforzheim. Kate and Eddy Merkle decided to transfer part of the production to the Italian city of Valenza, where the company still manufactures its collections today under the guidance of Guya Merkle as CEO. Eventually, Eddy Merkle was producing for some of the world’s big jewellery houses, and women in London, Rome and New York now wearing creations from southern Germany. By the late 1980s, the company was so successful that it was handling distribution for other jewellery companies, such as Gioielmoda and Pasquale Bruni. In 1993, Eddy Merkle teamed up with Fawaz Gruosi and Lala Valdoni to open a jewellery store in the centre of Geneva. They named it De Grisogono, and it was to become one of the most successful jewellery houses in the world. Today, it is in the capable hands of Fawaz Gruosi, husband of Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, co-president of Chopard.
1999 – 2007 Eddy Vieri Merkle and Guya Merkle
By the late 1990s, things had changed. Eddy Merkle relocated company headquarters to Crans-Montana in Switzerland, and changed the name from Rudolf Merkle to VIERI Haute Joaillerie. When he died suddenly in 2007, the company’s future was uncertain. Guya, then 21, had, like her father, no intention of doing business as usual, and set about transforming the company in line with her own visions and values. In spring 2013, she is relaunching the VIERI Haute Joaillerie brand and establishing a new milestone in the jewellery industry.
Guya Merkle took over management of the company in 2007, following her father’s sudden death.
While other kids were playing with their Lego sets, Guya Merkle was already creating landscapes made of precious stones and gold. The things that symbolize the highest form of material luxury for many were part of Guya’s everyday life as a child. When her father died suddenly in 2007, she was 21 years old, studying communications and marketing at the Potsdam Business School, and working at betterplace.org, an online fundraising platform. For the first time ever, she asked herself at that point whether she could imagine a career in the world of Haute Joaillerie.
She established the earthbeat foundation, for ethical gold sourcing.
Guya met workers at several gold mines and discovered that they were permanently exposed to toxic materials without being aware of it. The experience had a profound effect on her and redefined her thinking on true luxury.
As a result, she established the earthbeat foundation, an organisation that stands for ethical gold sourcing. VIERI also became a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council, an international non-profit organisation that has developed a special certification system for the jewellery industry.
A jewel’s true beauty is indicated not by aesthetic standards alone, but also by its ethical quality.
In recent years, the demand for gold has risen dramatically in line with higher prices. This development has attracted more and more people into the labour-intensive, small-scale mining industry. The miners work under conditions that are frequently hazardous or potentially lethal, often in countries that are politically and economically unstable. They are exposed to dangerous levels of the highly toxic mercury and cyanide used in gold extraction, but despite major efforts to reduce pollution, very little has been done to protect people and the environment. The damage to health caused by exposure is severe, but few miners are aware of the risks.
An estimated 20 million people worldwide are engaged in the small- scale mining industry, which accounts for a quarter of the demand from gold jewellery manufacturers. The remaining three-quarters is supplied by large-scale mining operations that mainly use industrial machinery.
In recent years, there have been a number of initiatives to form networks and organise campaigns that have paved the way to more responsible gold mining. The movement is still in its infancy, however, and the gold supply chain is long and complicated. At this moment, there is no globally recognised certification system to guarantee that the jewellery customers buy has been ethically and sustainably produced.
In 2012, Guya Merkle launched the earthbeat foundation for responsible gold mining. The foundation aims to promote a fundamental change in the jewellery industry through improved education, partnerships and the support of existing programmes.
VIERI is one of the first high-end jewellery companies to work exclusively with ethically sourced gold. By establishing long-term partnerships with gold mines and producers, the company is able to guarantee complete transparency. The entire supply chain is now traceable, which means customers can obtain details about the origin of every single piece of jewellery and every stage in its manufacture.
The lily, an emblematic flower that has accompanied the Merkle family since the very outset, inspired the Lily Collection. Fittingly so, because the lily has always stood for purity, innocence, love and well-being. It has possessed symbolic importance for many centuries and never lost its allure or dignity.
When Guya Merkle took over the family company, she transformed the traditional lily into a modern icon—moving VIERI into a new era. Designed by Guya and her mother Kate, the Lily Collection embraces the flower as a tribute to the family’s history and traditions. It is dedicated to her father, Eddy Vieri Merkle, a man who believed in top quality, diversity and creativity at the highest possible level.
The Merkle family have always had a passion for uniquely beautiful stones. Not surprisingly, the gemstones selected for the Lily Collection are all stunning in their own right. Each of them was chosen because it met stringent criteria and exacting aesthetic demands.
Every piece is one of a kind because the stones were made by Nature and are, by nature, inimitable. The Lily Collection blends tradition with the zeitgeist, giving it a special, timeless quality.
The Clouds Collection was inspired by the aerial and ethereal elements in our lives. It is an attempt to embody the thoughts of countless generations of women, to capture their ideas, dreams and desires, and to convey them to a mysterious, unknown world beyond our understanding. Millions of cloud shapes accompany us as visual forms.
We see, feel, touch and smell clouds and all their closest relations. We live out our lives beneath skies with clouds. We know that everything combustible is converted into some form of smoke. We taste airy, bubbly structures in our food, and jump into soft, fluffy beds or ocean foam.
Asian cultures have based entire philosophies and extensive symbolism on white forms, created both naturally and artificially. We appreciate being so closely related to a phenomenon that transmutes so readily into an infinite variety of shapes and colours.
The collection is composed of gold, diamonds, rainbow quartz and precious stones. The stones are strategically positioned on a gold base that shines here and there like the sun through clouds, binding them together and giving them a golden lining. Gemstones and diamonds are placed, almost star-like, to fill the spaces in between.
The Midsummernightsdream Collection was inspired by Shakespeare’s play of the same name, or more specifically by the magical forest where it takes place. What affected me most was the contrast between the lighter, warmer aspects of Nature and its darker, edgy side.
To accent those lighter and more light-hearted images, I used lots of deep-green emeralds, brown diamonds, warm morganites and wonderful cream baroque pearls. All the woodland animals (squirrels, snails, birds, etc.) and the branches with leaves were made of ethically sourced gold.
Spiders, cobwebs and stars, together with stones such as aquamarines and diamonds, symbolize the darker, more mystical side of Nature. I wanted each jewel to be a piece of art and an integral piece from the Midsummernightsdream Collection.
Every single one of them is exquisitely worked and finished with enormous attention to detail. A piece of the Midsummernightsdream jewellery collection is for those who dare to be unique and want to feel special, no matter what the occasion.
“There’s an incredible synergy between Guya and me that was evident right from the start. Our work together has evolved in the same spirit. We share the same views on the provenance of our materials, and are committed to giving something back while creating beautiful pieces of jewellery.
We believe every piece should tell a story and speak to its owner. We attempt to transcend the merely conventional and give our customers jewellery that not only has an aesthetic value but becomes a part of their own story.”—Bibi van der Velden
The Heartsmile Collection is all about happiness. There is an essentially playful element about contemporary jewellery that mixes colourful, sparkling facets with ornamentation. I’m fascinated by the idea that we have both the ability and the desire to enrich our lives with style. I see it as part of the continuum of a developing personality that designs things like a unique line of jewellery.
Thoughts, ideas, visions and inspiration take shape. My aim is to capture that magic moment at the instant of creation. The process is an act of beauty, and I designed Heartsmile as a means of conveying the emotion I felt in my heart to the rest of the world. Every single piece in the Heartsmile Collection radiates the ethereal forces of joy.
There is nothing more beautiful than a smile, especially one from the heart. I see my jewellery as a very individual thing, and want it to be positioned that way. You can style your day and your surroundings with an artistic aesthetic like this. These colourful accessories express the positive energy of life. Heartsmile jewellery is designed to address the joy each of us has inside.
“My work with VIERI Haute Joaillerie as designer of the Heartsmile collection has been enhanced by our mutual appreciation of the strong personal bond that lies beneath our work as business partners. When successful, the act of creation thrives on freedom of the spirit and openness to exchanging ideas and developing together over time. Ideally, all work should be based on conditions like these,but as we are all aware, the reality is often very different. VIERI and its founders have been part of my life for many years, so being closely involved in the creative process feels totally natural to me. My familiarity with the company’s way of doing things allows me to activate the creative process for the Heartsmile collection anywhere and with a minimal set-up.”—Katrin Lewinsky
VIERI Haute Joaillerie presents an inspiring artist collaboration with Monica Bonvicini. As VIERI aims to define the notion of sustainable luxury, all pieces in this Artist collaboration are made of ethically sourced gold. When Guya Merkle took over the family business and re-launched the VIERI brand, her wish was to focus on collaborations with creative leaders, to design unique collections and establish a symbiosis between contemporary art and fine jewellery design.
This idea has now become reality – building on a longstanding friendship between Kate Merkle and Monica Bonvicini it resulted in a capsule collection of the highest standard.
The collection is Monica Bonvicini’s very personal take on how to interpret jewellery. There is an underlying subtle humour in the pieces, from the enlarging of a classical motive as in the black diamond ring to the satirical play on watch-fetishism in the bracelet and the unpredicted grenades featured alongside the sapphires in the long chain.
The key inspiration for the collection is based on a rejection of classical styles for open and inventive women and men. Personalities who dare to see jewellery as being about personal expression rather than just status.
Haute Joaillerie can be both a laboratory of exploring manufacturing possibilities and design – with Monica Bonvicini VIERI challenged the foremost jewellery manufacturers to achieve both. The full collection features eighteen styles. Among those, five pieces the Artist chose herself as ‘Artist Edition’, limited to five pieces only – all signed and numbered by Monica Bonvicini.
The materials the creative team used in this collection are mainly blackened, white and pink gold, set with striking white, brown and black diamonds, sparkling emeralds and deep blue sapphires. Each piece represents a unique statement and is set to redefine the notion of artistic Haute Joaillerie.
Respect the beautiful — For lovers of beautiful things. This collection is dedicated to a positive vision of gold mining and working communities in the small-scale mining sector. 10% of the bracelet’s retail price will be donated to the Happy Mine project. It intends to bring an alternative mission and income for the women, the children and the whole community.
Happy Mine aims to add value to the gold and to set up a design and jewelry-making school in the fields of Busia, Uganda. The earthbeat foundation. The Respect the beautiful bracelet is available in yellow, pink, and white gold. Produced with exclusively fair trade gold from the Sotrami Fair Trade Gold Mine in Peru.Play Video
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Publisher: VIERI Haute Joaillerie SA,
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President: Guya Merkle
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