Eight greenhouses populate the Botanic Garden of the Georg-August-University in Göttingen, Germany.
We will also find an arboretum with an array of flora that brings the collective number of plant species to 10,000. Germany is also the home base for jewelry brand GELLNER.
Pearls exemplify the perfection of simplicity. It is amazing to think that an abnormal, hardened secretion from within a mollusk's shell could become something that epitomizes elegance and sophistication.
Even the self-described "mathematically-oriented" Jörg Gellner, who took over his parents' company, GELLNER, 13 years ago, quickly succumbed to their allure after an encounter with one he affectionately calls "Sissy."
"That was the biggest pearl I have ever seen. It was absolutely beautiful, flawless and with a perfect luster. A friend--a jeweler--Reinhard Köck bought it so its in good hands," he says.
The GELLNER company specializes in manufacturing exceptional jewelry fashioned from cultured pearls. Established by his parents Tove and Heinz Gellner 42 years ago, the brand began modestly with only a small collection of cultured pearls.
Though most German jewelry designers are best known for clean, minimalist stainless steel or platinum jewelry, GELLNER proves once again that Germany encompasses many artistic visions.
Jörg says that running the company was never something either of his parents pressured him to do; however, "it always remained an option." Though studious and business-oriented, Jörg was not a stranger to pearls as his parents often invited him to thread them as a boy.
Once he assumed leadership responsibilities of the firm in 1996, Jörg's appreciation for the glossy orbs deepened while making purchases from pearl farms in Hong Kong and Japan. "Their creation is still a mystery, a wonder of nature," he says. "They are not called the `tears of God' for nothing."
The focus of each design is accentuating the glistening spheres of cream, black, pink, and grey. The necklace designs are simply orchestrated, either a full strand or a single pearl drop suspended from a gold chain. No matter what the design, it is such effortless, simple beauty.
The brand's ring designs particularly reflect the type of innovation and artistry for which Germany is world-renowned. There are simple bands of gold, platinum, and jelly-like bands of blue, yellow, orange, green, and red. The showstoppers are the sinuous, distinctive bands highlighting thin, seemingly intertwining lines accented with tiny diamonds.
High quality pearls are essential to the brand, "We work with only five pearl farmers worldwide. We have had a look at everything and know for certain that they culture the pearls long enough to ensure their quality, and that they are working in harmony with nature. We look out for that," Jörg explains.
The end result is a creation of undeniable beauty. Alongside their magnificent pearl creations, and equally captivating, are the GELLNER clasps, which work with a push and twist.
Under Jörg's guidance, the company has collaborated with Moroccan-born designer Michael Zobel who creates unique pieces in 24-karat gold and diamonds.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Rose Gold Ring with White South Sea Pearl and Diamonds
Photo 2 (bottom left): 18-Karat Rose Y-Necklace with South Sea Pearl and Diamonds