Hey, I'm glad you're interested in my jewellery ! 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 jewellery myself, locally in Berlin. This minimises the carbon footprintof my products.
All pieces of jewellery from CONTESSA BERLIN are my personal creations. Unlike other small jewellery labels, I also make them myself by hand and do not have them produced externally.
The path from inspiration to the finished piece of jewellery 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 visualise 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 programme - and sometimes I just grab modelling 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 jewellery and handwork so special and characteristic.
Some of my jewellery 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 jewellery 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 jewellery 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 webshop 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.
Jewellery 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 harmonise or doesn't suit you. In this case, there is a very simple return system and no ifs, ands or buts.