It was an icy winter evening in Davos, shortly before Christmas. A strong wind was blowing through Adrienne Schneider’s hair, and all she wanted was to get back into the warm indoors. The man at her side had other plans. Amid the flurries of whirling snow, he got down on one knee and propsed to her. She couldn’t even see the ring he was holding out to her. Later she learned that it was an heirloom from his great-grandmother. “I was particularly touched by that. Such an old piece of jewellery is charged with the traces of passing time and the stories of the ancestors,” says the dentist from Baden, adding: “Tradition is important to me generally. It gives me security, keeps me grounded – and it’s one of the reasons that I took over my parents’ business in 2018 and am the third generation to run the practice."
Adrienne Schneider wore her engagement ring every day since that evening. Although “every night” might be more accurate. “While I’m working, I take off all my jewellery and only put it back on after work – until the next morning,” she says. The ring has accompanied her for almost ten years and has been through a lot – two births and many sandcastles, playgrounds and swimming lessons. But the passing of time left ever more conspicuous traces. At some point the ring could no longer withstand the stresses and strains of everyday life and broke in two.
After the initial shock, Adrienne Schneider had no doubt that her treasure had to be restored. She also immediately knew where. “As a child, I’d been to Beyer with my father to have the clock serviced. Later, when I studied in Zurich, I took care of this for him. Now I needed a bit of specialist advice from Beyer myself.”
But the deputy director of the jewellery atelier, Željko Gregurek, had some disappointing news for her: a repair or restoration of the ring was not possible. “The precious ring was in an extremely poor condition; the ravages of time could be seen most clearly in the diamonds,” Gregurek recalls. But the sapphire cabochon, an absolute eye-catcher, needed to be properly showcased again to reflect its history and significance.
The jewellery atelier created four designs, two Art Deco models similar to the original ring, one more linear, another more playful, plus a sporty version and an opulent one. “I had an idea which model the customer would choose,” Gregurek laughs. “It was the goldsmiths’ favourite too.”
He was right: Adrienne Schneider immediately fell in love with the design of the Art Deco ring with its clear lines. In the months that followed, she was a regular visitor to the jewellery atelier: “I’m so happy that I was able to follow the process so closely.”
The goldsmiths themselves also had animated discussions on the best possible realisation of the finely drawn details. “Often there are different considerations on how to implement a design. These are situations that my colleagues and I particularly love,” says Željko Gregruek. “Then we’re allowed to let our creativity run free to get the best possible result.” And so details were sketched, the framework was forged, matching diamonds were sought. The idea turned more and more into a concrete work of art.
An important innovation that can’t even be seen is the tiny clip embedded in the rail. It makes the ring fit the finger perfectly and prevents it from tipping to the side: the sapphire is guaranteed to always be shown off to perfection. Another highlight is a host of finely crafted details such as Art Deco elements, some of which were only added when the ring was set, or the subtle gap between the sapphire and the ring rail, which lends the bijou a playful lightness.
76 WORKING HOURS
Around six months and 76 hours of work after the initial consultation, Adrienne Schneider slips her new ‘engagement ring’ onto her finger for the first time. The blue sparkling sapphire sits enthroned on the white-gold rail, waited on by 144 little diamonds in four different sizes – a masterpiece, Adrienne Schneider has no doubt. “I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful constellation and a more fitting form for the continued existence of this ring,” she enthuses.
And secretly she hopes that the ring will also inspire her offspring: “When the time comes, it would be nice if one of my sons would use it to propose to his sweetheart, and add another chapter to the long history of this ring.”