Haberkorn & Sons director on new technology and iconographic jewellery
With the craze for Eastern jewellery continuing to burgeon, Haberkorn & Sons director Raphael Haberkorn talks about how he tapped into the market with his unique technology and iconographic jewellery.
It all began in 1978 when my father, Albert Haberkorn, a pioneer in creating special diamond shapes, started to cut triangles for New York based CY J. Kleinhaus and Sons, the leaders at the time in the US for producing regular fancy shapes. After a successful launch, they became partners and set out with the aim to think up new, original outlines. It was in the eighties that they introduced the half moon diamonds in pairs, shields in pairs and, in the nineties, trapezoids in pairs.
In 1992, we had the idea of cutting diamonds in the shape of Buddha. After one and a half years of development, we finally got the result we hoped for, though every facet of the diamond cutting was still, at this point, handmade. We introduced a copyright at the US copyright office in Washington and received it in 1994. Since then, we have sold thousands of pieces in Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong and the US.
We didn’t introduce laser technology until 2004. Since we couldn’t find the right equipment on the market, we chose to pioneer our own laser cutting machine, which is still running now (we adapt it every six months with the latest technology), and built a second one in 2006. Although we use laser technology, the diamond cutting process is still done 85 percent by hand by experienced and highly skilled cutters. Some of them have worked in our factory for more than 35 years and their sons now work for us too.
We start off with a rough piece of diamond, which we will have analysed, both by an experienced craft man and a 3D scanning program that includes all the parameters of the diamond outline. We then have to make some facets to guide the correct direction of the stone, before the stone goes for laser shaping – a delicate but quick process. On its return from the laser, the stone goes to the sawyer, who must go over the complete shape/girdle to remove the black carbon. Lastly, the cutting process starts on blocking and finally brillandeering, which creates all the facets and the brilliance.
It was my wife, Alex F, who in 2006 suggested that we experiment with cutting a diamond in the shape of the Hamsa, since the Buddha had been such a success. It took nine months of development before we achieved the perfect result and again filed for a copyright in Washington, which was received in 2007.
Due to Alex’s background as a jewellery designer from a family of setters and jewellers, she directly saw the potential of working with the Hamsa diamond and started to create a jewellery line, which is the current Hamsa collection by Alex F, launched in Bazelworld 2010. Alex F is currently represented in Paris, Aix en Provence, Cannes and London (Harvey Nichols).
The CY A. Haberkorn & Sons has found in the Hamsa diamond a new opportunity to expand its markets through the Alex F Jewellery collection. Since the launch of the collection, we have made several new customers who have also started to buy other shapes of diamonds.
We are trying to touch two types of customer, firstly the trendy consumer who buys a fashion item and secondly the conservative consumer who believes in the power of the Hamsa as a talisman.
I think today that iconography, mainly in talismans and philosophy, has a bigger and bigger importance in our society. In a materialistic globalist world, people increasingly need something spiritual to hang on to.”
* In terms of the ethically sourcing of diamonds, Haberkorn & Son’s know and traces its suppliers so that its diamonds are sourced from conflict free areas. It adheres to the Kimberley certificate so that it can guarantee the origin of the rough diamond.