Singular Vision

Master craftsman Hugo Kohl brings new life to vintage jewelry styles.

Most days, Hugo Kohl can be found in his Harrisonburg workshop and boutique, doing what he loves: creating authentic, vintage-style jewelry.

Kohl’s story began in 1993 when he visited Providence, Rhode Island, the historic center of Industrial Age jewelry manufacturing. Here, his path took an interesting turn. While chatting with a dealer in the city’s Jewelry District, Kohl noticed workers loading boxes into a dump truck. When one of the boxes broke open, spilling pieces onto the ground, he wasn’t sure what he was looking at, but he had a hunch those pieces would somehow play an important role in his future.

Kohl then did what any artist following a creative hunch would do: He excused himself, hopped in his car, and eventually managed to flag down the dump truck driver to negotiate the purchase of the mysterious box of scrap.

Then he immersed himself in identifying the pieces he’d rescued and researched how they might have been used in the past. Turns out, the box was full of “hubs,” some dating from the 1800s. Hubs, he discovered, served as a mold for die-struck Shelves of hubs at Hugo Kohl Jewelry in Harrisonburg. jewelry. To create a piece using a hub, a jewelry craftsman would hammer a thin sheet of gold—or other metal—onto the hub to create the design.

Over the past 30 years, Kohl hasn’t strayed from the artistic vision that crystallized that day in Providence. In addition to using his collection of historic pieces in his own jewelry making, Kohl continues to collect antique manufacturing parts and tools. His vault now contains thousands of hand-engraved hubs, dies, and rolls.

At his Harrisonburg boutique and workshop, Kohl offers a wide selection of authentic vintage replication jewelry in decorative styles spanning the centuries, from Art Nouveau to mid-century modern. He also offers custom jewelry design and repair services.

Kohl and his team of highly skilled craftspeople work closely with customers to create one-of-a-kind pieces, which often feature delicate filigree and period details rich with symbolism. Working with ethically sourced and conflict-free silver, gold, and platinum, as well as precious and semi-precious stones, his work is priced to appeal to jewelry connoisseurs of all budgets. HugoKohl.com

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