Stephanie Harvel and Barbara Harvel, the mother-daughter duo behind Kaiser Atelier
The Pope ring, featuring an emerald, a ruby, and a sapphire set in 14K yellow gold
The Noblemen cufflinks with inlaid lapis
Hand-engraved initials on The Lord ring
The Zars cufflinks, each set with a ruby
Substantial, regal, bold, and timelessly chic describes Kaiser Atelier‘s handcrafted rings and cufflinks as much as it does its founders, Barbara Harvel and Stephanie Harvel. The mother-daughter duo launched their Dallas atelier earlier this year, forging heirloom-quality jewelry using the centuries-old technique of lost-wax casting.
“My mother started making jewelry when she was about my age,” says Stephanie, 26. “I grew up in her studio, so this has been long in the making.” Barbara, whose background is in ceramic sculpture, is from Oldenburg, Germany, a small town in the Lower Saxony region where Stephanie grew up as well.
“We went to the same high school. The kids I grew up with were pretty much all of her friends’ kids. We had a really similar — if not identical — upbringing. It was very charming and idyllic. We even had the same math teacher,” Stephanie says.
Their German heritage strongly influences their work, but they draw inspiration from many sources, from periods in history to family heirlooms. One set of cufflinks is based on a pair of earrings that belonged to Stephanie’s great-great-grandmother in the late 1800s.
Every Kaiser Atelier jewel is made-to-order out of locally sourced 14K or 18K yellow or rose gold, and crafted by hand, down to the signature K stamped on the interior. They’re also unisex.
“We love when our female clients buy the cufflinks for themselves,” Stephanie says. “There’s nothing better than a woman in jeans, a crisp white men’s shirt, good cufflinks, and a good ring. And messy hair.”
Both Stephanie and her mother share this chicer-than-chic take on style, and it carries over to their designs. All made from solid gold, the pieces have a substance and weight to them that is anything but flimsy.
“I suppose it’s how we walk through life as German women,” says Barbara. “Strong — and heavy!”
With style names such as The Pope and The Baroness, each bauble in the line’s debut collection was inspired by the idea of nobility. Fittingly, the German word Kaiser translates to “emperor.” More importantly, Kaiser is Barbara’s maiden name.
“The line is named in honor of her because, really, without her skill set, I wouldn’t have grown up the way that I did and we wouldn’t be here,” Stephanie says of her mother. “She is my biggest inspiration and, above all, my muse.”