Hey, I'm glad you're interested in my jewelery ! My name is Kirstine Østergaard Graf and I am the founder of CONTESSA BERLIN .
As a Dane, the Scandinavian design tradition is in my blood. I love to reinterpret untamed natural pearls and create exciting pieces of jewellery. It is also part of my DNA to treat our environment with respect and to subordinate everything I do to sustainability.
That's why I use recycled , fair-trade materials and follow the zero-waste principle . I make every piece of jewelery myself, locally in Berlin. This minimizes the carbon footprint of my products.
All pieces of jewelery from CONTESSA BERLIN are my personal creations . Unlike other small jewelery labels, I also make them myself by hand and do not have them produced externally .
The path from inspiration to the finished piece of jewelery can vary greatly. Sometimes ideas arise quite by chance and unnoticed.
Sometimes I see something in nature or, for example, a sculpture in a park. Sometimes I draw different patterns and bodies and then an idea takes shape from these sketches. Many of these ideas I discard - others I like and I develop them further in modelling.
When a sketch really "grabs me", the next step is usually to visualize it in three dimensions . For this I sometimes use a wax block and file until I am happy with a design .
Sometimes I also create models digitally with a 3D rendering program - and sometimes I just grab modeling clay from my children.
When the third dimension is added, a sculpture emerges. The idea literally unfolds a completely different depth . Then it becomes exciting!
Even if you don't see it on the finished piece of jewellery : The handwork and the creation are often a laborious and "dirty" affair . I file the basic shapes with different attachments, first removing coarse and then finer layers of the raw material . Then it's on to the surface polishing and many other work steps.
Very important: Both the freshwater pearls used and the hand-filed rings and hoops are always unique. So you always get a unique piece. There are always minimal differences, because no two pieces are exactly alike . This is what makes natural pearl jewelery and handwork so special and characteristic.
Some of my jewelery is available in both silver and gold plating. In this case, I work the pieces in fine silver and then have them gold-plated by a jewelery refiner . She does a fantastic job and also only uses sustainable and conflict-free materials.
Gold is so expensive that I cannot sensibly work with it myself. It is extremely important to me that I can offer my handmade jewelery at fair prices . That is why I have chosen this production method, which I am very happy with.
I used to buy jewelry online myself and know the customer's point of view . I have designed the web shop and ordering process to be as intuitive and simple as possible. Of course, I am also happy to provide advice if you have any questions: by phone , by email or in person in Berlin by booking an appointment.
I work very quickly when shipping the goods. Within Germany, you will receive immediately available products within two to three days . For the Rest of Europe it will be 3 to 5 days, and for the UK and Switzerland 3 to 6 days.
Jewelery has to be touched , felt and of course tried on - perhaps with different outfits and in different light. You can take up to 14 days to do this.
Even though I deliberately depict my products very realistically , it can always happen that the jewelry "in real life" simply does not harmonize or doesn't suit you. In this case, there is a very simple return system and no ifs, ands or buts.