Jewelry designer celebrates 76th birthday with ‘Variations in Mother of Pearl’ exhibit
Hans Brumann, a Swiss who has been a resident in Manila for over four decades, bears the name that has become synonymous with fine jewelry. His works are triggered by the very qualities of his pieces: exquisite, restrained, minimalist, pared-down and reservedly elegant.
As he approaches a new milestone, the country’s art and fashion scenes eagerly look back at jewelry designer’s sparkling success story.
Hans Brumann, Swiss by birth, Filipino by choice, was born into a baker’s family, but yearned to do something different. Something with passion. Something that would stir his imagination.
Jewelry making – combining both his creative and technical flair – seemed to match his aspirations. Defying family tradition, Brumann began his apprenticeship in Zurich in 1957, followed by formal schooling at the Fachhochschule in Schwaebisch-Gmuend, Germany. His next career step was a stint in 1965 with Andrew Gima in London, during the heady days of the swinging ‘60s. Later he returned to Zurich to work for Paul Binder and Zurbuchen AG.
In 1967, Brumann’s search for inspiration and excellence led him to the Philippines to work with the most prestigious firm at that time, La Estrella del Norte. Recognizing his skills and ideas could only truly flourish in his own company, he formed Hans Brumann, Inc. in 1976.
Paying tribute to other art forms, Brumann then initiated collaborative exhibitions with other celebrated artists in the Philippines – sculptors and painters – fusing jewelry, wood, glass, and other elements. His pieces became synonymous with style and his collections highly sought after.
By 1978, Hans Brumann Inc. opened a small jewelry shop in Makati that catered to Manila’s elite and foreign expatriates. It was an exclusive shop that dealt more on made-to-order items designed by Brumann, rather than retail purchases. All jewelry made were timeless masterpieces with contemporary designs and exceptional craftsmanship set in platinum, 18k or 14k yellow, gold, white gold or both. Initial concentration and specialty were in pieces made with South Sea Pearls, Mother of Pearl and platinum.
As time passed, due to significant achievements leading to increased orders and clientele, Hans Brumann Inc. grew and expanded with its second outlet Makati Shangri-La Hotel in August 1993.
Two more outlets opened in Rockwell Center, Makati in November 2001 The Podium, Pasig City in November 2002.
Today, Hans Brumann Inc. still continues its services, making each HBI jewelry owner proud to wear its products.
As its founder says, “Jewelry is not a fashion fad. Pieces should be created to last a lifetime if possible” according to Hans. These collaborations keep alive what I think is the most important element in the making of jewelry – the quest for new ideas.”
Fittingly, to celebrate his 76th birthday, Hans Brumann has unveiled an ongoing exhibition titled “Variations in Mother of Pearl” at the Globe Gallery. Organized by the Hiraya Gallery, the pieces will be on view until September 1.