Our perceptions determine our reality. 

We hardly consider why they exist, nor what (or who) has informed them. We simply function by them – believing them to be correct.  In fact, perceptions are such a strong driving force that the primary objective of marketing is to establish and/or influence consumer perceptions.

Perceptions used to be much more homogenous. For many decades there were limited numbers of television channels, newspapers, radio stations and magazines. Many of these are (or were) parastatals or quasi-governmental establishments. Mass market, generic advertising was the order of the day.

And then the internet arrived. And the world changed.

We no longer had to sit through commercials. We could skip them or choose to be entertained by channels where explicit advertising was not part of the model. This new reality presented a new challenge however: Information overload.

In a world where information overload is a real and growing challenge, our perceptions are informed by the channels and people we choose to follow.  However, there is a caveat that accompanies this freedom of choice. We narrow our world. We exclude ideas that challenge our beliefs and perceptions. We choose, albeit subconsciously,  to search and follow channels and people that support our ideas and beliefs. We choose not to follow those that challenge us, our paradigms and our perceptions.

We are not born with perceptions either. They are shaped through our caregivers, social media and circles. It is through our own lenses of perception that we determine whether something is good, acceptable or even perfect. Our perception of perfection is influenced by countless messages across countless channels, all aimed at creating or influencing our idea of what beauty, rarity or success should look like.

Considering how we reach them, our perceptions can never be completely accurate.

Let us consider what the perfect item of jewellery may be. Will it be set with diamonds, rubies or sapphires? Or maybe with amethysts, garnets and black diamonds? Will it be perfect in white gold, platinum or palladium?

What perfection is perceived to be varies from person to person, phase of life to phase of life, season to season. So even in its very essence, perfection is only perceived and its appreciation remains fluid. Therefore perfection cannot exist when measured by people. We cannot objectively measure whether something is perfect.  However, our brains perform thousands of calculations each day to determine whether something is appropriate or perfect  for us.

Understanding the journey that (in)forms our perceptions is key to knowing when to consider (or disregard) information about a topic over which we may have limited information or knowledge.

WHEN IMPERFECT IS PERFECT

The Japanese notion of wabi-sabi focuses on the beauty of the imperfect. It releases us from the pressure of worldly standards and allows us to focus on the now. The simple magnificence of the flower in front of us, the wrinkled smile of a loved one, the crack in a vase. And rightly so, as it is often the cracks that remind us of our strengths.

And again, depending on your view of perfection, the inclusions in precious stones and gems may be exactly what makes that gem perfect to you. By looking beyond the obvious, we can discover an entire world of beauty. 

We can discover entire hidden worlds formed over millions of years by looking beyond the obvious characteristics of size, shape and colour. We begin to understand that our selected stone, like us, has been brought to its full splendour through its own journey. 

Perfectly imperfect is a freeing philosophy that, in our opinion, needs to be embraced. When we start seeing imperfections as perfecting qualities, the world suddenly erupts with beauty and is resplendent in its “imperfection”.

At Uwe Koetter, we strive to honour life’s intricacies and inclusions if you may, as we believe that it these that tell our stories best. Each item we produce is done in the spirit of wabi-sabi: appreciating life’s imperfections and transience as beauty. Each bespoke item is a testimony to our perfectly imperfect lives.

BEAUTY BEYOND THE OBVIOUS

January 2021 will see us launch our range inspired by the notion of Beauty Beyond the Obvious. This inspiration range will focus on using gemstones with unique inclusions and the designing of jewellery which celebrates the beautiful inclusions in these stones.

The range will center around the stones and their unique properties and how these are suited to each client and story. A database of example designs will be available to help our clients find the bespoke design which aligns with their perception of perfection. We have included some early design concepts, as well as images of what we have discovered in some of our gemstones under the microscope, below.

THE YEAR OF PLENTY

We don’t know whether you remember this, but as 2020 was rung in, the hashtag 20plenty was strewn like confetti. We strode into the year with glistening eyes and hearts, ready for the abundance the year promised to deliver.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 hit. And it hit hard. For many, 20plenty has turned out to be a year that tested our strengths over and over. Often, we didn’t pass that test.

Then a new trend of quarantine productivity (think banana bread, editing your home and home school routines) hit the world, and very soon these achievements (in spite of the pandemic) were flooding social media.

If you made it December 2020 and you can smile, even about just one thing, you have achieved much.

The human spirit is resilient. And what we have realised is that if we did not have the hardships, we would not appreciate the other side of the continuum – the beauty and joy of life.

The Talisman range honours this spirit of hope and triumph.

Uwe Koetter Jewellers, in collaboration with the artist Nanna Venter, are delighted to bring you a range of hand-crafted talismans charged with hope and good intentions for your loved ones.

Talismans have a long history, transcending cultures and beliefs, from the medieval amulets of protection dispensed during the Bubonic plague, to Catholic icons, Native American amulets, West African gris-gris, crucifixes, the tallis, the Ta’wiz, to family heirlooms passed down through generations.

Inspired by centuries of tradition, Nanna created a selection of playful and contemporary coin necklaces to manifest your hopes and wishes, represented through four animals: The Dog for courage (Fortitudo), The Cat symbolizing balance (Statera), The Rabbit to bring luck (Fortuna) and The Pangolin for protection (Praesidium).

These symbols are kept close to the heart, to remind your most beloved of your own love and care and hope.

A Tribute to 40 Years of Service
Our Johan Louw’s Story

Johan graduated from Stellenbosch University on Friday, 28 November, 1980.  The freedom that only the newly-graduated know was all-encompassing. Little did Johan know that his sister, Mrs Koetter, had other plans for him.  Johan was requested to report for work the very next day.

After some negotiation, it was settled that Johan would start, full-time, at Uwe Koetter Jewellers on Monday, 1 December, 1980. Monday morning dawned and Johan took up his new position as goldsmith. Johan held this position for 26 years, with his focus gradually shifting from manufacturing to design and client engagement. This in turn resulted in Uwe Koetter Jewellers becoming South Africa’s Most Awarded Jeweller. A title we still hold today.

His talent and passion was nurtured in the creative hub that is Uwe Koetter Jewellers, and soon after, Johan would take up position at the primary designer, a position he still maintains. His innovative, widely-recognised and acclaimed designs have provided our business with a benchmark and culture which we continue to uphold.

Having been given the space and wings to soar, Johan understands the importance of a creative home, and continues to provide this for his design team. Metaxia Segal, Elizka Sauer and Naomi Smart now work alongside him, ensuring that the bar he and Mr Koetter set so high remains there.

Johan, we salute your 40 years of service, creativity and design excellence.