Q&A: Claudia Wellendorf of Wellendorff Jewellery

The Wellendorff brand has become synonymous for precious and timeless jewellery in 18 carat gold. Behind the name of Germany’s  successful manufacture of jewellery is a family business backed by more than 118 years of tradition and experience. Its reputation has been carefully built on its silky and supple gold necklaces, colourful rings incorporating an inner spinning ring and other jewellery stamped with the trademark W. The Pforzheim-based company is now under the management of the fourth generation of Wellendorffs. Luxury Travel Beat sat down with Claudia Wellendorff to find out why the brand is still making waves.

Claudia Wellendorff, flanked here by her husband Christoph Wellendorff (right) and his brother Georg.

LTB: Welcome to this brief chat, Claudia. Wellendorff has been around for well over a century. What is the secret to the brand’s longevity?

Claudia Wellendorf: Genuine family values, craftmanship and personalized quality. When Ernst Alexander Wellendorff founded his jewellery-making business in Pforzheim in 1893, his vision was to create unique, perfectly-crafted pieces of fine jewellery.  More than a century later, the 3rd and 4th generation of the Wellendorff family are still successfully realizing his vision.Wellendorff genuine craftsmanship lives on. Each piece of jewellery passes through stringent quality checks before it receive the coveted seal of quality, a capital W crowned with a diamond. The W, which is also our logo, symbolizes goldsmith skills of the highest order. And lastly, we lay a lot of emphasis on how a Wellendorff piece of jewellery ought to feel when it is worn – soft and supple on the skin like silk, and evokative of positive emotions.

LTB: Talk us through the process of selecting your collection for each season.

CW: Before each new season our team of designers present my husband Georg, his brother Christoph and his wife, my parents-in-law and myself with many preliminary designs. We narrow these down to just a few designs, which are then prepared and test-driven by we the Wellendorf women before we chose those that will make it it to the new collection. These are then perfected in the workshops by our highly trained goldsmiths and designers.

 LTB: What does 2012 have in store for the brand?

CW: Our Spring 2012 collection is called Angel Wings, and it is made of sparkling white gold and enamel, and in the autumn there will be a yellow gold collection too. I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised.

LTB: Who is the typical Wellendorf consumer?

CW: She is an “established lady.” Well-educated, yet embracing traditional values, the typical Wellendorff wearer’s family is important to her. She has a sure instinct for things that are special and values quality, yet has no need to prove anything to anyone but herself.

LTB: A lot of your signature pieces have very unique personal stories behind them. Talk me briefly through some of these?

CW: My mother-in-law Eva  had wonderful curtains with heavy silk tassels. They fascinated her immensely as a child, and she found nothing nicer than touching them and letting them glide through her fingers. Years later, she wanted a statement necklace from my father-in-law that had the same smooth, silky feel to it. With the first Wellendorff rope necklace, he made her dream come true. He and his designers in the Wellendorff atelier spent two years meticulously refining the neckalce to give it just the correct twist, in the truest sense of the word. Up until then, nobody had managed to make a seemingly rigid material so silky that it could be turned into an elegant rope.

The Wellendorf Rope Necklace: It is fashioned from more than one hundred metres of 18 carat gold threads.

It nestles against the wearer’s throat and feels like a tender embrace – as my mother-in-law so poetically puts it.LTB: Your forefather Ernst quickly flourished because he was the designer of choice for some of Europe’s Royal houses. Are you lucky enough to count, say, the Duchess of Cambridge among your clientele?

CW: We believe in genuine values as well as genuine privacy , and that includes not talking about our current customers.

LTB: Where can those wishing to purchase Wellendorff Jewellery find stores and outlets?

CW: We have stand alone Wellendorff boutiques in several cities around the world, including San Francisco, Dusseldorf, and Beijing, and also partner with over 150 jewellers internationally.

LTB: In what price range does Wellendorf Jewellery lie?

CW: From € 3,000 to € 640,000.

LTB: Lastly, what are your goals for Wellendorff for this year?

CW: To continue to surprise and delight!

Wellendorf, Kirchstrasse 6C, 70173 Stuttgart +49 (0)711 860 2882

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