H.Stern has been producing luxe fine jewelry since 1945, when founder Hans Stern emigrated from Germany to Brazil and began his eponymous company. The brand often references Brazil with its designs, featuring geometric motifs and colored gemstones evocative of the country’s vibrant culture.
Hans Stern was a German Jew born in Essen in 1922. As a teenager, he was forced to flee the country and was grateful to get a visa for Brazil. Even though they arrived penniless with no idea on how they would support themselves, Stern was able to gain employment in a jewelry company called Cristlab and pursue a career in the international gem trade.
Six years after that, Hans founded his own company which was instrumental in manufacturing jewelry from the under-exploited gem resources of Brazil. At the time, the Latin American market had not been introduced to semi-precious stones such as aquamarine, citrine, tourmaline and amethyst. Today, thanks to H. Stern, Brazil has a world-famous jewelry industry and is a source of almost half of the world’s colored gems.
The company went through a restructuring process in the 1990s, guided by the oldest son Roberto Stern who is the current President and Creative Director. Many areas of manufacture were addressed in this process. From product development to style and fashion trends, the company began to understand the needs of the market. Roberto, skillfully seeks out the country’s most coveted stones—think paraíba tourmaline, alexandrite, and imperial topaz. H. Stern now produces an exquisite array of designs that meld contemporary chic with bohemian flair.
In the main headquarters of the company, located in the exclusive neighborhood of Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, and surrounded by restaurants and fashion stores, is the H Stern Museum where visitors can observe on-site how the manufacturing process of their jewelry, from raw stones and metals.
During the visit to the H Stern Museum it is also possible to appreciate an interesting collection of rare minerals and a large collection of Tourmaline, a precious stone that can have more than 1000 different shades, making it highly valued for jewelry making.
The vast majority of stones that are worked in H Stern are obtained in the rivers of Brazil and among them stand out, in addition to Tourmaline, Aquamarine a stone with 35 shades of blue of which 90% of world production comes from Brazil, Imperial Topaz, a rare gem from a mine in the state of Minas Gerais and Amethyst, of which the country is the largest producer in the world.
Stern jewelry has been worn by many famous people. The musician Carlinhos Brown, artist Anna Bella Geiger, cultural icon Diane von Furstenberg, architect Oscar Niemeyer and the Grupo Corpo dance company all wore H. Stern pieces. Today, celebrities including Rihanna, Angelina Jolie, Cate Blanchett, Sharon Stone, Eva Longoria and others favor H. Stern jewelry.
The H. Stern chain operates 160 fine jewelry stores in 15 countries, with 80 of the branches in Brazil, where the company was founded, and 36 in Israel.