„Pforzheim Revisited“, preserving, documenting and reviving historical goldsmiths‘ technologies

Under the motto „like old times – but with a difference“, Pforzheim University and the German Museum of Technology in Berlin (DTMB) have signed a cooperation agreement on the topic, „Making new jewellery on historic machines“ and to this end students taking the course, „Jewellery and everyday items“ at Pforzheim University spend one week each year in Berlin acquainting themselves in the Department of „ Jewellery Manufacture“ with the technologies of yesteryear such as embossing, pressing or guilloche engine turning. They are assisted in this endeavour by the head of department and other staff as well as by members of the „Jewellery Unites“ working group. (Renate Förster, DTMB press release of 28 May 2010)

From concept to implementation

The project has arisen from the work of Dr. Gabriele Wohlauf, historian and former head of production technologies for the „Jewellery Manufacture“ department at the German Museum of Technology in Berlin. During the course of this project, historical machines and traditional know-how have found their way from Pforzheim to Berlin. This process involved bringing together long-serving and experienced Pforzheim-based goldsmiths to found the working group „Jewellery Unites“. These specialists reveal the often long-kept secrets of their craftsmanship, techniques, artistic creativity and knowledge by lecturing in Berlin and Pforzheim to the next generation of jewellery makers and designers as well as to goldsmiths and silversmiths and also help to disclose, preserve and keep alive the traditions of historical processes and techniques by imparting their insights in person.

For students who are interested in this project, the main highlight is the opportunity to apply for the „Artist in Residence“ program at the DTMB. During a residential period of study lasting six months, jewellery designers can experiment with traditional manufacturing techniques under professional supervision at the „Jewellery Manufacture“ exhibit in the DTMB where they can familiarise themselves with the advantages and attractions of traditional production techniques used in creative series production. Upon their return to Pforzheim, a selection of their work is then exhibited at the Jewellery Museum in Pforzheim.


Participation in this project is initially decided by means of a competition held by Pforzheim University. The selection committee consists of Andi Gut, Professor at Pforzheim University, Cornelie Holzach, Director of the Pforzheim Jewellery Museum, Ruth Temur, Gallery Owner from Berlin, and Dr. Ruth Reisert-Hafner, representing the firm of C.Hafner.


 The long-term goal of the project „Pforzheim Revisited“ is to create a „Manufacturing Transfer Centre“(MTC) involving Pforzheim University (with a leadership role), the Pforzheim Goldsmiths‘ School and the Pforzheim Technical Museum. The MTC will have the task of combining new and old in order to bring together technologies from different eras. This shall help to revitalise the Pforzheim jewellery scene and help restore Pforzheim to its former glory as the „City of Gold.“

This project is sponsored by the C.Hafner gold and silver refinery. 


Phone +49 7044 90 333-0


C.HAFNER GmbH + Co. KG  .  Gold- und Silberscheideanstalt  .  Germany  .  Phone: +49 7044 90 333-0  .  Fax: +49 7044 90 334-0  .  info@c-hafner.de