Tuesday, July 28, 2009

HUMPHREY

Today we visit the stately Stubenberg Castle in Styria, Austria, which has gone through a series of transformations. A structure that would later become the castle was built in the 13th century and overlaid a fortress farm.

Three centuries later, the building was refurbished into a castle, and took the name of one of the most renowned families in Styria, the Lords of Stubenberg. Austria is also the home base for Austrian jewelry brand Humphrey®.

An iconic American actor's name and diamond-in-the-rough screen persona served as the inspiration behind the Austrian jewelry company.

Humphrey® owner Roland Baldaulf believes that screen legend Humphrey Bogart's character in the film Casablanca embodied the company's product standards of timeless, classic designs.

Over 16 years ago, 46-year-old entrepreneur Baldauf contemplated starting a jewelry brand. Knowledgeable about architecture and the metal industry, Baldauf wanted to reinvent jewelry made with stainless steel by offsetting the alloy with precious and semi-precious stones.

In 1995, Baldauf set up a workshop in his cellar and several years later, he set up a factory--in a separate building--using state-of-the-art machinery.

Designer jewelry from the Humphrey® brand is composed primarily of stainless steel. The designs are sleek, minimalist and highlight geometric curves and angles. Though offset with gemstones such as diamonds and sapphires, in most cases the cool, slick polish of the stainless steel is the focal point of the items included in the brand's collections.

Baldauf includes traditional 18-karat, yellow gold designs one of which is composed of a single cable that suspends a magnificent, grey, Akoya pearl. There is a stainless steel necklace named PacMan, which features disc-like structures that resemble the videogame character.

There is also a multi-cable neckpiece featuring a beautiful amethyst stone set in a rectangular, stainless steel pendant necklace. The jewelry brand also includes wrist watches.

Wanting to broaden the company's design scope, in 2007, Baldauf enlisted the aid of German jewelry designer, Norbert Muerrle. Muerrle's expertise in "old-world craftsmanship" helped to further the company's reputation for high quality and excellence.

The Humphrey® brand is sold around the world including Spain, Italy, Austria, the United States, Britain, the Netherlands, and Norway.
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Photo 1 (top right): Cable Strand Necklace with Amethyst Set in Stainless Steel Pendant
Photo 2 (bottom left): Angular Cut, Stainless Steel Tension Set Ring with Amethyst
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