Michael Galmer reveres natural beauty, and it's this appreciation that serves as the main inspiration for his designs.
The Queens-based silversmith is a master of repousse-a technique that involves hand-molding a design into clay, which is then pressed into silver (the term literally means "pushed from the back"); the resulting product is then finished with hand engravings. Galmer has been perfecting the technique since 1981, when he arrived in New York City from Russia with a degree in electrochemical engineering and a desire to follow his passion for the arts. Recently, Galmer has taken on the role of premiere designer with American Estate Jewelry, where he captures the vibrancy of nature-specifically in the delicate petals and intricate beauty of its blossoms-in a stunning collection of cuffs.
Galmer's appreciation for natural beauty shows twofold in his work. The classic, somewhat conservative (though undoubtedly striking) character of his jewelry simply complements a woman's natural beauty, he says. "She doesn't need anything flashy or vulgar. She's so beautiful already," he explains, in a thick Russian accent. He gestures to a photo of a young woman adorned in his artwork, while giving the impression that he's referring to the entire female population.
Like a woman, each of Galmer's designs is unique. "When you hold it, it's like an artwork. You know the person spent a lot of time on it," he says of his pieces, which are all made by hand in his Long Island City workshop. "This...isn't mass production. And it's made in the USA, which stands for quality."
Wearers can further personalize their cuffs by choosing whether to let them oxidize naturally or keep them at a high shine-the resulting difference in appearance is essentially a product of the amount of time spent polishing the sterling silver exterior. Notably, the interior of each cuff is lined in 24 karat gold, and some designs include 24 kt gold accents.
Though the company's signature is the sterling cuff, Galmer is also in the process of expanding the line to necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and pendants.