The journey to make a Sonja Kreis piece begins in the gem mines of some of the remotest corners of the world. “Other jewellers buy their stones from dealers, we travel to the mines themselves in order to choose the very best rough stones.” says Alexander Kreis, Kreis’ gem-cutting expert.
“We travel to the mines themselves in order to choose the very best rough stones.”
Some of these places are hundreds of miles from civilisation and in areas that are hard to reach. “We might end up in the middle of the jungle,” says Alexander’s father Stefan. “Or we might end up in an area where the temperature rises above 100°F for days on end, terrified that our vehicle will break down. It also happened that we were sleeping in a small tent in the african bush.” The family goes to extraordinary lengths to find the very best gemstones.
THE FIRST CUT
Back at the Sonja Kreis headquarters near Idar-Oberstein – around 130 km south-west of Frankfurt, Germany – the next stage involves cutting the stones to reveal their beauty to the best effect. With just one chance to get it right, Alexander feels a strong responsibility to make the right decision. He can spend months studying a stone and exploring its particular characteristics before making a single cut.
“I play with what nature has given me in terms of beauty and elegance,” he says. “I then combine them with my feelings for the stone to finish the masterpiece.” The cut stones are then passed to Alexander’s mother, Sonja, who draws inspiration from her instinctive response to the gem’s natural beauty before beginning work on her designs.
“I CAPTURE THE SPECIAL BEAUTY
OF EACH STONE AND COME UP WITH FRESH IDEAS FOR EVERY ONE”
“I get a very strong feeling inside me for some of the gemstones,” says Sonja. “When this feeling becomes intense, that’s when I start sketching ideas. Everything is handcrafted and unique.
I capture the special beauty of each stone and come up with fresh ideas for every one.”
With everything – from selection to cutting – done in-house, customers can discover the unique story behind their purchases, right back to where the stone was mined. “We can guarantee exceptional quality,” says Sonja.
“The customer will have a piece of jewellery that nobody else in the world has.”
GENERATIONS OF EXPERTISE
A passion and talent for working with gems goes back generations. Sonja’s family can trace its association with gemstones back more than 500 years, while her husband’s family has worked in gem-cutting for more than two centuries. They are always looking for innovative ways to approach their work.
To illustrate this, Sonja describes how Alexander envisioned a piece inspired by the Star of Bethlehem, which involved a completely new way of cutting smoky quartz. He developed new tools to make this possible and the result was The Chanting of the Stars, a unique piece crafted from smoky quartz and golden rutilated quartz (containing needle-like rutile crystals) with a band of diamonds. It is both a piece
of art and a piece of jewellery, as the rutilated quartz can be removed and worn as a pendant.
Like every other piece created by Sonja Kreis Unique Gems and Jewellery, it reflects the family’s innate understanding of gems and their talent for working in harmony with each stone to reveal its natural beauty to the most stunning effect.