Wolfgang Uhl: Lord of the Stones

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HomeLearning CenterJewelry DesignWolfgang Uhl: Lord of the Stones
By Gwen TorresMore from this author

It is often multi-professionals that enrich contemporary jewelry design with their new points of view. This is also true of the work created by the mechanical engineer Wolfgang Uhl from Offenbach am Main near Frankfurt. He has dedicated himself to the magic of stones, which he presents skillfully in their natural charisma, evolved over millions of years.

Wolfgang Uhl

The multi-professional Wolfgang Uhl actually studied machine engineering

Uhl manufacturers all of its own presentation materials to present the jewelry

Petrified snails from Sinai fashioned to create jewelry objects

Weathered sanstone put together to form a necklace

But it is not just gemstones that sparkle mostly untreated, in the chains, bracelets or rings. Wolfgang Uhl also draws on perfectly normal gravel, petrified objects, glimmer, slate, lava or basalt and other natural objects he finds in order to produce jewelry. Within this context, he sees it as a particular challenge to present the jewels in such a way that they can shine in their natural beauty without cutting and polishing. Additionally, he also combines high-class, classic jewelry materials such as gemstones, amber and pearls with the non-precious stones one finds all over the place.

Uhl launched his creative career with the production of ceramic objects during the eighties. "I never actually worked as an engineer. After graduating, I really wanted to do something creative," Wolfgang Uhl reports on his career development He made a name for himself with artistically classy ceramics throughout Germany with a small shop in the city center of Offenbach and by participating in artistic markets all over the country. "While wandering along the Rhine, I gathered some beautifully round, polished gravel from the riverbed. That gave me the idea to use them to make jewelry. I quickly found buyers for these unique pieces. After the initial success at the start of the nineties, I soon concentrated myself entirely on producing jewelry. Like pottery beforehand, I taught myself the goldsmith's trade on my own, drawing on reference books and experiments," Uhl says on his second career as creative jewelry manufacturer.

But not just his precious pieces have an artistically classy design. He also invests a lot of energy in presenting them interestingly. "Seeing as my store is cramped, I did not want to use traditional presentation materials. This is why I constructed compact little boxes made of wood, which I painted and designed individually to suit the jewelry," reports the all-round talent. The boxes can be stacked in any way or integrated in a specially manufactured drawer system. He uses a metal pin to connect smaller boxes for bracelets and rings, so that they can be opened individually. "In view of the fact that I mainly recruit my clients at artistic markets throughout Germany, I am therefore able to present my extensive collection even on very small booth spaces in an eye-catching manner. Also, this large number of boxes tickles peoples hunting and gathering instincts. Folks are quite simply curious what is hidden in each little box. But nevertheless, each item of jewelry has its own appeal, and is given an individual framework. In this way I can prevent individual pieces being swamped by the crowd," Uhl explains his intentions. Accordingly, presentations by the creative jewelry manufacturer at the markets are akin to a complete work of art, enchanting visitors with its style. His booth at the artistic market in Offenbach has already received first prize on two occasions.

Interpretation of the currently so popular V chain

Chain made of raw amber pieces, combined with gravel from a riverbed

The newly developed, synthetic stone "pintura®" consists of a collage of several stones with colored pigments

Nature's language of forms, artistically presented

Since 1999, Wolfgang Uhl has merged his life and his work and has exchanged the small store in the best pedestrian precinct in Offenbach for premises in the historical royal stable building in Rumpenheim Castle in an incorporated suburb of Offenbach. The castle was elaborately renovated in the nineties and transformed into freehold properties. He has set up his studio in the former horse boxes on the ground floor, while he has taken up residence in the upper floor. The romantic setting directly by the jetty for a Main ferry attracts scores of visitors who already knew of him from the market, offering them a pleasurable journey of discovery.

The jewelry artist is constantly developing new combinations, forms and material compositions. He is perfectly willing to accept ideas and wishes expressed by his customers. He recently created the line "pintura®" with his partner Jutta Hingst. Pintura® is a synthetic stone set in silver. In it, collages of various stones, for example basalt chips, are bonded with pigments and polished in a special procedure. This results in colorful stone creations, and each piece is unique.

by Axel Henselder

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