Thursday, March 27, 2014

Barbara Heinrich - Contemporary Classic Jewelry

Post by Patricia Syvrud

Inspired. Organic. Inherent lightness. Lovely. These are all descriptions of the fine jewelry created by award-winning, German born jewelry designer Barbara Heinrich.  They could also be descriptions of the designer herself.

 18K yellow gold interlink necklace, from the AJDC Annual Design Project 'Sphere', recently on display at the Forbes Galleries NYC.

As a young child growing up in Heilbronn, Germany, Barbara was constantly making jewelry out of pods, shells and broken glass she found playing in her parents vineyard, or by stringing together dyed noodles she had dried in the sun.  As a teen, she moved on to 'real' jewelry, working in beads and sterling silver. 

 18K yellow gold swirl ribbon drop earrings

Barbara studied jewelry and holloware design as an undergraduate, receiving her degree from the Pforzheim College of Design in Germany. Naturally gifted, she won a scholarship to study in the United States, where she graduated with a Masters of Fine Art degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology.  Marrying and staying in the area, Barbara opened the Barbara Heinrich Studio in 1986.

18K yellow gold open cuff

German jewelry design is known for its clean lines, architectural feel and smooth edges.  Barbara's jewelry is certainly influenced by her German roots, but there's a lightness and femininity to her nature-inspired pieces that sets her jewelry apart from other European and American designers.

One of my absolute Barbara Heinrich favorites and Patricia's Gem to Remember!  This necklace was a 2009 Couture Design Award Winner in the GOLD category.  It was also one of the AJDC Annual Design Project pieces, Fold, and recently on display at the Forbes Galleries, NYC.  So feminine, can't you see this on a long, lovely neck with a summer tan!

18K yellow gold leaf-outline necklace with moveable links and over 100 scattered diamonds.
Patricia's Gem to Remember 

Mediterranean decay coral and hand fabricated18K yellow gold open frame oval bead choker with toggle clasp.  A large look that's light to wear!

We had the pleasure of visiting with Barbara during the recent AGTA GemFair Tucson, where she shared with us one of her newest pieces, this beautiful watermelon tourmaline slab necklace.  It's offset with the light and airy multi-wrapped bangle bracelet, both in 18K yellow gold. Yummy!

Barbara and Patricia at the booth in Tucson

Here I am wearing the multi wrap bracelet and wrapped ring, both in 18K yellow gold, ring also set with diamonds.  So feminine and easy to wear! Wish I could have taken them home with me!

Long 18K yellow gold cellular earrings with four leaf pairs, 8 diamonds, and french wires.

As you can see from the images of her gorgeous jewelry, Barbara adds texture to her designs with different finishes to the gold - matte, brushed, satin, and hand-hammered accented with high polish touches - giving the gold a rich warm glow.

18K yellow gold 'tumbling marquis' ring set with marquis cut diamonds, multi colored diamond 'sprinkle' band and 'open oval' ring with scattered diamonds.  Unique yet classic!

Open Frame oval bead drop earrings in 18K yellow gold

Barbara is one of those people who is passionate about her work and her industry and devotes much of her time to industry associations that advance consumer knowledge about fine jewelry.  She currently serves as the president of the American Jewelry Design Council (AJDC) and had numerous pieces in the recent AJDC exhibition at the Forbes Galleries in NYC.

"Tear" pendant from the American Jewelry Design Council's Annual Design Project, recently on display at the Forbes Galleries in NYC. 18K yellow gold long shell elements arranged in a teardrop pattern with white stick cultured pearls on a multi strand coil.
One-of-a-kind flat Peruvian boulder opal smooth stones necklace separated by 18K yellow gold spacers accented with colored diamonds. LOVE the colors in these Peruvian opals. 

"Explosion" brooch from the American Jewelry Design Council's Annual Design Project in 18K yellow gold and enameling

An assortment of beautiful Barbara Heinrich rings in 18K yellow gold, diamonds and colored gemstones.  There is something so clean looking, yet so feminine about these rings - you could wear any one of them as a wedding band!

This 18K yellow gold and carnelian necklace is reminiscent of the bold, strong looks of the 1940's and 1950's, and yet is contemporary and timeless at the same time.

18K yellow gold Leaf cuff with polished edges, set with 40 scattered white diamonds. Inspired by nature indeed!

18K yellow gold open leaf necklace with scattered diamonds.  I love the way this necklace looks and feels both architectural and organic at the same time!

"Secret Treasure" necklace from the American Jewelry Design Council's Annual Design Project. 18k yellow gold mesh pod pendant covered in seed pearls with rabbit fur and a white South Sea cultured pearl in the center.  Whimisical!

Chrysoprase necklace with stones wrapped in ribbons of hammered 18k yellow gold and scattered diamonds across the top rim and a toggle clasp.  It would be like wearing the waters of the Caribbean around your neck!

18K yellow gold blossom pendant with Tahitian cultured pearl and 18K yellow gold chain.

The necklace below is Christine's Gem to Remember.  The tourmaline is unusual - as Barbara calls it a "reverse watermelon" tourmaline - the center is green with a pink rim - the opposite of a watermelon.  You typically see watermelon tourmalines with a pink center and a green rim - hence the name.  The slice of tourmaline is a cross section of the natural crystal and is beautifully framed in 18k yellow gold, with delicate flowers and diamonds scattered around the bezel to highlight the gem. This is a one-of-a-kind necklace that is not only unique, but natural and interesting.  What a conversation piece to own and a real earthly treasure!

18K yellow gold reverse watermelon tourmaline pendant with scattered diamonds and petite flowers on an 18K yellow gold chain
Christine's Gem to Remember 

To learn more about Barbara and see more of her lovely jewelry, please visit!

Photo credits: Tim Callahan, Hap Sakwa and Barbara Heinrich Studio

1 comment:

  1. We wanted to share the message we received from Barbara after she read the blog. Thank YOU so muc for your kind words, Barbara!
    "Thank you for taking the time and interest to put this together.
    Thank you so much for your passion and dedication to our field.
    Thank you for your abundant, never-ending enthusiasm.
    Thank you for all you do every day to elevate contemporary jewelry.
    With much appreciation!"