Hong Kong Tatler - - Gem Icons -

The ori­gins of Swiss jew­eller Gü­be­lin can be traced to the fairy­tale mar­riage of a watch­maker’s daugh­ter to his ap­pren­tice. When Jakob Josef Moritz Bre­itschmid, of Lucerne, gave his daugh­ter Bertha’s hand in mar­riage to Ed­uard Jakob Gü­be­lin in 1886, master and ap­pren­tice also be­came business part­ners. Thir­teen years later, Gü­be­lin, then aged 38, took over the business in the city’s Alpen­strasse.

The business is renowned for the high stan­dard of its jew­ellery and gem­stones, of­fer­ing a wide range of gems and highly crafted pieces. With shops in Lucerne, St Moritz and Zurich, it ven­tured fur­ther afield to Geneva, Lugano and Basel in the 20th cen­tury, be­fore turn­ing to Asia in 2012, when it opened its first bou­tique in Kuala Lumpur, with a sec­ond shop open­ing in Hong Kong in 2013.

Gü­be­lin is now headed by the sixth gen­er­a­tion of the fam­ily, with Raphael Gü­be­lin as CEO and his sis­ter Sara Gü­be­lin Mit­tle­mann serv­ing as a board mem­ber. Be­fore join­ing the fam­ily business, Raphael stud­ied fi­nance and man­age­ment and worked at the No­var­tis In­sti­tute for Bio­med­i­cal Re­search. Bring­ing a fresh per­spec­tive to the business, he changed the brand’s orig­i­nal store con­cept to a more mod­ern de­sign that he calls a “clas­si­cal liv­ing room con­cept.” His aim as CEO is to open more Gü­be­lin Sa­lons around the world and ed­u­cate cus­tomers fur­ther on the brand’s gem ex­per­tise.

In ad­di­tion to the re­tail jew­ellery business, Gü­be­lin runs the Switzer­land-based Gü­be­lin Gem Lab, one of the world’s old­est and most re­spected in­ter­na­tional gem labs. Opened in the 1920s, it of­fers spe­cial gem au­then­ti­ca­tion and anal­y­sis ser­vices to whole­salers, auc­tion houses and mem­bers of royal house­holds, as well as jewel col­lec­tors.

COLOUR EX­PERT Raphael Gü­be­lin; emer­ald ring in white gold; the first Gü­be­lin store in Lucerne

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