The Heroine Project © 2019 

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Carla Germann: The Contemporary Jeweller


Carla Germann’s @carlamaxinegermann, owner of the luxury contemporary jewellery brand Carla Maxine Jewellery @carlamaxinejewellery , love affair with jewellery began at age 14 when she started making beaded jewellery part-time, initially as a hobby, but eventually selling her work to a local store. By the time she was 18, this business had grown to include works using semi-precious stones, was exporting to the U.S. and U.K., was employing 3 part-time employees and was eventually taken over and run by her mother.


Deciding that she wanted to be a professional jeweller, Carla applied to do a bachelors degree in jewellery design at the University of Stellenbosch, but did not get in on her first attempt, largely due to her portfolio submission drawings being considered too technical. However, undeterred by this initial setback, Carla then spent a year doing a jewellery design course at Ruth Prowse School of Art and re-applied for the degree the following year and was accepted - with her second portfolio of drawings now often these days used as an example of what a portfolio submission should look like! Carla graduated with a distinction, continued on to a Masters degree, completed an internship at a local jewellery gallery in Amsterdam and an exchange programme at the University of Amsterdam as well as worked for Graff Diamonds at the Del-Aire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch.


Inspired by Laurence Graff’s fascination with coloured diamonds, and her love for hybrid (influenced by her Masters thesis) and cluster style jewellery, Carla started her own studio and started working in South Africa on a small scale. In 2016, she and her then fiance (now husband), emigrated to Sydney - this country shift saw Carla having to start from scratch re-establishing her brand. She began with an internship at a Sydney-based contemporary jewellery gallery Courtesy of the Artist @courtesyoftheartist which also started selling Carla’s jewellery. Things took off with the Carla Maxine brand and style of jewellery (thanks to the Sydney gallery and Instagram), and this saw Carla and her husband investing some of their savings in the establishment of a jewellery business. These days Carla’s jewellery can also be found in Melbourne at Pieces of Eight @po8gallery and Love Adorned @loveadorned in New York City, or purchased directly from her via her online store, where she also takes bespoke orders.


We are inspired by Carla’s perseverance in qualifying as a jeweller and her fearlessness in successfully starting a unique jewellery brand in a new country whilst simultaneously overcoming the challenges that come with emigrating. Carla occasionally suffers from anxiety, but she has found that yoga and baking greatly assists with keeping it under control. She is also about to have her first child - we wish her all the best with this next stage of her life adventure!


Featured artist: Marlene Steyn @marlenehettie

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