telier Allure’s jewellery is to be observed with an unprejudiced eye, on the understanding that the value of an object is not always immediately visible, and cannot be limited to the price of a rare gemstone or precious metal. In his quest to shape the jewellery of his dreams, Thomas Hauser went as far as inventing a new metal – called Niellium. His creations embody his desire to create sculpted forms that strive for purity.
Thomas Hauser completed an apprenticeship as a goldsmith in Austria and, at the age of 21, went to work in Paris, where he learned to make jewellery, precious clocks, and other objects for major houses such as Cartier and Asprey. Then he moved to New York, where he worked in the fashion industry, developing accessories for Calvin Klein and Donna Karan. But he was obsessed with creating pieces that embodied his own philosophy, so in 1998 he founded Atelier Allure in New York.
- Thomas Hauser
“I wanted to create my own collections and put my experimental approach to materials into practice,” Thomas Hauser emphasises. To achieve this, he became a metallurgist, a craftsman, an artist, a jeweller and an alchemist.
When we point out to him that his work is reminiscent of Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s In Praise of Shadows, a wonderful analysis of Japanese aesthetics that places a high value on patina, he enthuses: “It’s my bedside book! In the West, people worship light, whereas in Japan they cherish shadow.” Jewellery is an art of light: a diamond is cut in such a way as to reflect and refract the maximum amount of light; precious metals are polished and set to ensure they shine with a thousand lights. But Thomas Hauser was looking for the exact opposite: to reveal the shadows.
- Thomas Hauser has developed his own alloy, called Niellium, to craft the jewellery of his dreams in deep black.
Jewellery is an art of light: a diamond is cut in such a way as to reflect and refract the maximum amount of ligh. But Thomas Hauser was looking for the exact opposite: to reveal the shadows.
While teaching at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, his research led to the development of Niellium, a metal made of platinum, palladium and silver that was intrinsically dark, without surface treatment. To do this, he took up work carried out 40 years ago by a researcher who went looking for a blue material, but ended up with black. This intrigued Thomas Hauser. “I looked for what I had to change to develop a material I could work with. This process took me seven years, with the support of scientists. I called it Niellium after ‘niello,’ an alloy used in goldsmithing to produce a black cloisonne effect.”
His research led to the development of Niellium, a metal made of platinum, palladium and silver that was intrinsically dark, without surface treatment.
While it looked perfect, Niellium was difficult to work with. For years, the jeweller sought to tame the material, creating new ways to polish, texture and set it. His work has won numerous awards, including the Red Dot Award, the iF-Award and the Good Design Award. His rings are intriguing. “Their asymmetry means that you can’t fully grasp them at a glance,” explains Thomas Hauser. “You have to come back to them several times, looking closer and closer. That’s how you develop an emotional connection.”