Imagine a mysterious customer has a delicate order for you: he needs a belt buckle made of 18kt gold with the engraved image of the burning Hindenburg - made using an ancient Russian technique, the niello technique.
The leather for the belt comes from a shipload from the two-master Metta Catharina. On his way from St. Petersburg to Genoa, loaded with hemp and leather, he was caught in a severe storm and sank off the coast of Plymouth. In 1973, divers came across the wreck at a depth of 30m and were able to recover the leather because it was preserved by the silt.
The finest of all leather has a distinctive color and was sold to selected master craftsmen worldwide with the approval of Prince Charles himself. In 2023 it practically no longer exists.
But the client doesn't want to be fooled and gives the goldsmith 10 days.
What the ominous customer doesn't know is that he is not alone, the renegade is preparing her merciless revenge.
A film by Jonathan Johnson
With Heinz Strunk, Aline Schmidt and Jonathan Johnson
Produced by Heartbroke
Camera, sound and editing: Florian Kehbel
Hair and make-up: Josefine Sara Capulet
Director: Jonathan Johnson
18kt yellow gold
Hist. Juchten leather
A big thank you goes to the Hamburg custom shoemaker Benjamin Klemann and his team, who made the leather belt for this unique project.
Benjamin Klemann writes the following about the origin and type of Juchten leather:
"Historical Juchten leather from the SS 'Metta Catharina'
As one of only three custom shoemakers in the world, we are supplied by the Duke of Cornwall with the particularly rare, historic Juchten leather from the salvaged SS 'Metta Catharina'.
The special thing about the legendary 'Juchten' lies in its production: the Russian tanners in the region around St. Petersburg mastered their own completely unique method of producing leather. It usually took more than two years for the hides, mostly from cattle and reindeer, to be turned into the Yuchten that was extremely popular throughout Europe in the 18th century, but especially in Genoa and Milan.
All attempts to imitate this tanning process have failed to date. Real Russian Juchten always remained unique in quality. And nothing will change that. Because even in the country of origin of this leather, no one knows the original method of its production anymore."