Adler creates high jewellery with a sense of whimsy

We meet Karen Adler, the woman at the helm of the family-owned Swiss-Turkish jewellery house Adler Joailliers, and discover a brand that is not quite what it seems

United Arab Emirates, June 9, 2018

The Adler Joailliers Instagram page is utterly unexpected. Given that the Swiss-Turkish jewellery house specialises in beautiful, one-off and often bespoke pieces of high jewellery, its social media message is disarmingly quirky. The artworks, interspersed with dazzling gems and jewels, draw their inspiration from such varied themes as shinsei – the Japanese philosophy of eternal Renaissance, or the French palaces of Trianon, and the German folklore prankster Espiègle. Elsewhere, singular pearls double as the base of hot-air balloons, a cluster of gems is rearranged to resemble a bunch of grapes, and a trapeze artist swings within a diamond-encrusted ring surrounded by circus props.

“We are a small, family-owned company, so we pour all of our energy into creating something unique, whether that’s our jewellery, our window displays or our social media platforms,” Karen Adler tells me when we meet at the Four Seasons in Dubai.

The fourth-generation co-owner of Adler Joailliers was in the UAE to attend a special three-day exhibition of the company’s jewels, displayed by Istana, the multibrand jewellery store that exclusively carries Adler here, as well as to launch two collections.

Although we’re scheduled to meet at 10am, Adler is busy with a client, whom I’m told is a sheikha from the royal family and has been there from about 8.30 that morning. A 90-minute window per buyer is quite normal when it comes to selecting jewellery, Adler tells me later. “When we are with the clients, we are like shrinks. It’s a way of opening a dialogue and then spending the rest of the time listening to them, understanding what they want and for what purpose. It’s very common for some people to be there for hours when making a high-jewellery purchase. It’s not like they are buying potatoes in a supermarket,” the Swiss-born entrepreneur says with a laugh.

“Above all, it’s emotional. You have to bond with the piece you’re about to buy. When I used to ask him how does a piece look, my grandfather used to say: ‘How do you feel with it? It’s important for it to speak to you.’ This is why many may come with the intention of buying, say, a ring, but go back with a pair of earrings.”

It was her great-grandfather, Jacques Adler, who founded the company in his home city of Istanbul in 1886, after training as a jeweller in Vienna, while her father and uncle shifted base to Geneva in the 1970s. All the jewellery is handmade in three workshops, by nine craftspeople that the company works with exclusively, spread between Geneva and Rome.

The company has two main lines: the Essentials range includes everyday pieces, such as Caméléon, a duo of interchangeable rings with different coloured stones for variety; Joy, a modern-day charm bracelet with gemstone-encrusted hearts, circles and eye-shaped motifs worked into a slim chain; and the playful Les Espiègles, part of the new collection, which uses a ring body that slides between two fingers with a white pearl, onyx or pink quartz orb surfacing from the gap.