About CONTESSA BERLIN
Hey, nice that you are interested in my jewelry! My name is Kirstine Østergaard Graf and I am the founder of CONTESSA BERLIN.
As a Danish person, the Scandinavian design tradition is almost in my blood. I love reinterpreting untamed natural pearls and creating 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 rely on recycled, fairly traded materials and follow the zero-waste principle. I make every piece of jewelry myself locally in Berlin. This minimizes the co2 footprint of my products.
All pieces of jewelery from CONTESSA BERLIN are my personal creations. In contrast to other small jewelery labels, I also make these by hand and do not have them produced by others.
The path from the inspiration to the finished piece of jewelry can be very different. Sometimes ideas arise completely by accident 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 becomes concrete from these sketches. I reject many of these ideas - I like others and develop them further in modelling.
If a sketch really "grabs" me, then the next step is usually that I want to visualize it in three dimensions. For this I use a block of wax and file until I'm 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 develops a completely different depth in the truest sense of the word. Then it will be exciting!
Even if you don't see it in the finished piece of jewellery: The manual work and the creation are often a tedious and "dirty" affair. I file the basic shapes with different attachments and thus first remove coarse and then finer layers of the raw material. Then it goes to the surface polishing and many other work steps.
Very important: You always get a unique piece, both with the freshwater pearls used and with the hand-filed rings and creoles. There are always minimal differences, because no piece is exactly like the other. This is what makes the special, characteristic of natural pearl jewelry and handwork.
Some of my jewelry is available in both silver and gold plating. In this case, I work out the pieces in fine silver and then have them gilded by a jewelry refiner. She does a fantastic job and only uses sustainable and conflict-free materials.
Gold is so expensive that I can't reasonably work with it myself. It is extremely important to me that I can offer my handmade jewelry at fair prices. That's why I chose this production method, which I'm very happy with.
I used to buy jewelry online myself and know the customer's point of view. I have set up the web shop and ordering process as intuitively and simply as possible. Of course, I am also available to answer any questions: by phone, email or by booking an appointment in person in Berlin.
When shipping the goods, I work very quickly. Within Germany, you will have immediately available products in your hands in two to three days.
Jewelery has to be touched, felt and, of course, tried on - perhaps with different outfits and in different lights. Please allow up to 14 days for this.
Even if I deliberately depict my products very realistically, it can always be the case that the jewelry "in real life" simply doesn't harmonize or doesn't appeal. In this case, there is a super simple returns system and no ifs and buts at all.