With charm, exuberance, and boyish looks, it’s hard to fathom that Lorenz Bäumer can boast thirty years of design. Yet the Place Vendôme jeweler’s career spans three decades plus and reaches beyond fine jewelry to objet d’art, perfume and cosmetics cases and even a cake. On the eve of his Paris celebration for the new livre, Only Natural Diamonds spoke to Bäumer about his eclectic career, collaborations, and why he prefers natural stones.
The book BÄUMER: 30 ANS DE CREATION celebrates some of the most high-profile works— Princess Charlene’s tiara, the Mikado jewel, the Astrolabe jewel, a meteorite ring, an academician’s sword— by the designer and explores the close connection his work has fostered with his clientele.
“This book celebrates the special friendship with 30 guest contributors over the last 30 years, each telling their experience. Whether it is my different collections, visiting the Place Vendôme salon, picking a creation they really like, for example,” Bäumer said over email. The book follows up his first book from 2007 called “Le Dictionnaire Egoïste de Lorenz Bäumer.”
The contributors are as varied as his designs, hailing from the arts, gastronomy, business, or those who count Baümer as a close acquaintance. Chef Alain Ducasse, American interior designer Kelly Wearstler, Diana Picasso, French art historian and granddaughter of Pablo, and French author and journalist Phillippe Labro are among the personalities featured in the tome, which displays Philippe Garcia’s photos and Paul-Henry Bizon’s words which helped Bäumer craft the narrative.
The process of collaboration equally enthuses Bäumer. “I love having guests come in and create one-of-a-kind pieces for them. A good example is the tiara I designed for Princess Charlene of Monaco when she married Prince Albert. This is one of my best memories because it was an extraordinary moment. My design was picked among designs presented by major jewelry houses,” he continued. Indeed, not many can still claim bespoke styles for royalty. His reputation has led to such distinctions as Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters in 2004 and then Officer in 2009. He became a Knight of the Légion d’Honneur in 2010.
The jeweler also enjoys the challenge of brand collaboration when artistic aesthetics must blend for the ultimate outcome. “Designing jewelry is like a marriage where one plus one does not equal two, but perhaps it equals three, four, or more. This is very exciting when working with a big brand. I love making big houses shine in a field where they have never expressed themselves, such as creating Chanel fine jewelry in 1988 and Louis Vuitton fine jewelry in 2007,” Bäumer said. It works in the other direction by designing for non-jewelry houses, such as when Bäumer designed a lipstick for Guerlain or a decanter for Hennessy in the shape of a basketball. “The most challenging is creating something new that has never been designed and making it feel part of the DNA of the brand,” he added.
For this holiday season, Bäumer collaborated with the famous pâtissier Hugues Pouget of Hugo & Victor on a special bûche de noel. “We expressed our creativity in a Christmas cake shaped like the Colonne Vendome, inspired by our salons at 19, Place Vendome, where we have a collection of 150 photographs on display of the famous column dating back to 1850,” he said of the limited-edition confectionery. He also boasts collaborations with Hermès, Cartier, Gucci, Piaget, Bernardaud, Swarovski, Baccarat, Omega, and Disney.
Bäumer sticks to tradition regarding his choice of diamonds, preferring to see the wonder of the natural world and connecting to that energy. “My designs always feature natural diamonds because I am extremely fond of what nature gives us. Through our knowledge and our know-how, we transform them into something extraordinary that links us to the universe,” he explained.
Being in touch with nature and the environment comes through Bäumer’s designs and philosophy. “Sustainability in jewelry means being sustainable at every stage of the spectrum: riding a bike in town versus taking a car or metro, using as many diamonds from estate jewelry as possible, recycling gold or making sure our packaging is as recyclable as possible,” he said.
Bäumer is focused on expanding the brand worldwide for the next decade and beyond. On the retail front, he has recently opened a flagship store in Doha, Qatar, and broadened his wholesale reach to doors such as Printemps and the Eden Rock Hotel in St. Barth, with more on the horizon. He is also steadily building the Bäumer Design studio, established in 2022, to collaborate with other brands and luxury houses on their mission for unique designs and advertisements.
It’s been an impressive thirty years thus far for a career he can attribute to his mother. “I started designing jewelry when I admired my mother wearing jewelry and suddenly becoming a princess sparkling with gems. I always wanted to own the special magic stick that turns women into princesses, which happens to be jewelry! Indeed, Bäumer’s creations qualify him as a jewelry magician.