Meet the Maker:
When Wilhelm Kling wants to check whether the gem he has just set has found its place in the piece of jewelry, he holds it up to the light and squints his eyes. If the trapezoidal plateau of the diamond reflects the light evenly, he has worked with precision. He nods. "Craft, that's what it is," he says, when people are amazed at how precisely he has worked.
Because Kling is a craftsman through and through. Just like his father was. Also a Wilhelm Kling, also a master jewel setter. The stony work runs in the family. You should have a few prerequisites if you want to get into the craft, he says. A steady hand and some skill are probably an advantage, he says. But as Kling portrays it, the dazzling craft with the sparkling stones is one that leaves no room for vanity. What doesn't come across in his description is how intricate and complex the work with diamonds is, a real art in itself. The patience alone to find a suitable place for the stone in the piece of jewelry - so much is said: This work requires much more than just some skill and a steady hand.
The basement workshop
Kling works from his home office. He has his workshop in the basement of his family home. His two dogs drag themselves wearily around the room and drop to the floor, stretching all fours. There are four workstations down here. Each equipped with a microscope and various drills, hammers, and pliers, Kling lovingly presents his instruments, each of which is a rare, state-of-the-art piece with which he performs true miracles. Also at each station: a leather cloth to catch the waste. Because everything that falls off here can and will be recycled.
The work of the master
And gently, as if a patient was lying in front of him, Kling goes to work. He looks through the lens of the microscope. His concentration fills the room. For a moment, it even seems as if the rock music from the radio slows down, quiets down. Because very gently, "Brilli Willie," as he calls himself on the Internet, lets a ReMind Mini Solitaire ring run through his fingers.
There is still no stone on the engagement ring. But that is about to change. Kling laughs as he explains his tools, the way professionals laugh when they have to simplify their art for amateurs. "You can think of it like a tiny circular saw," he says, as he cuts a small groove in the prong. A groove is a notch into which the stone Kling is setting must fit perfectly. A prong is the bar that hold the diamond in place like little fingers. It is only logical, then, that this setting is called a prong setting. So Kling mills a groove in each prong. And watching him do it is really something special: He makes the work with the tiny, fragile prongs look almost playful.
"So, that's where we want to put the stone now." He pushes the prongs into place again and checks the alignment. Then he places the synth. eco diamond at an angle in the claws. "Now we just have to click the stone into place," he says.
To do this, he uses a device that he calls, with a laugh, a jewelry mechanical hammer. "Click, click, click" goes the machine. Kling looks up. "That's when you heard it: the stone told me it wasn't sitting right." He takes another examining look through the microscope. "I'll have to go at it again." And again the drill sings. The groove in the prong needs to be pulled sharper. But that's how it is with masters: The material takes on a life of its own. You don't just work it anymore, it speaks, it sings, it lives. The second time, the stone clicks into place without any problems. Now the setting is polished to remove small irregularities or dirt and dust.
Feels like flying
When asked if he could imagine a different life, one without the sparkling stones, Kling briefly becomes thoughtful. Yes, he says, he would have liked to become a pilot, to learn how to fly. But he does not sound remorseful. After all, watching him work with his diamonds can give you the feeling that your feet are no longer touching the ground. For there is only what lies there in front of him and under the magnifying glass. You take off together and embark on a journey that is determined by beauty, but guided by the pure concentration of the pilot, Wilhelm Kling.
Kling stands up from his workstation and lifts the ReMind Mini Solitaire ring into the light with a scrutinizing gaze. The light catches on the synth. eco diamond's plateau, the gold shines rich and full, and it's really no longer hard to understand why Kling doesn't regret becoming a gemstone setter: Because this result of his work is the epitome of beauty.
Written by: Moritz Hackl
Moritz is a copywriter, blogger and journalist living in Munich.
More than anything else, he likes to write about the beautiful things in life -
such as about sustainable jewellery.