Jannie Iwema of Bonebakker Jeweler on jewelry design

Jannie Iwema began studying at the renowned Design Academy in Eindhoven many years ago and after her studies she joined Bonebakker Jewelers where she translates her passion for design into exquisite jewelry.


When the former owners of the jewelry empire wanted to wave goodbye, Iwema seized her chance. "My main thought was: this can't and shouldn't stop," she said. She decided to write a business plan and pulled out all the stops to continue Bonebakker's iconic history.

Pioneering in conservative jewelry country
During the time Iwema studied at the "hip" Design Academy in Eindhoven, she learned an awful lot about concepts within different disciplines such as fashion and interior design. Iwema also learned a lot about recognizing and keeping an eye on trends. "From my study background, I am good at coming up with concepts. How does this square with the mostly classic high-end jewelry in Bonebakker's collections?

"What I learned at school is, of course, ten times as wild as Bonebakker's collections. Many pieces just do cost thousands of euros, then people still prefer a classic piece, which stays forever."

However, this by no means means implies not keeping up with the times. "It is certainly possible to play around a bit, for example with higher set stones. Also, of course, we have much better techniques at our disposal now, such as a laser. This makes it easier to make beautiful things," Iwema said.


Where Iwema gets her inspiration from? Mainly from travel, the many trade shows she attends or ideas and thoughts from creative friends. "Often I think: we have to have this. Then I go searching for so long before I find it."

 In her work for Bonebakker, she has welcomed people from almost every part of the world to the salon. "A sheikh from an Arab country often has different tastes than an American businessman. By now I know who likes what, but people can sometimes surprise you tremendously."

Besides working closely with the goldsmiths and other designers, Iwema is also often in the salon herself at the Conservatorium Hotel. She says she finds the contact with clients one of the most enjoyable things about her job.

Iwema: "I usually really know clients, it's often a connection you make with someone for a longer period of time."

People's Work
Choosing appropriate jewelry for a client is easier said than done. Iwema frequently sees clients again, for better or worse. After an engagement, sometimes a couple comes in, happy as punch. But of course we also see people who become ill or even die at some point, for example. It is so much more than selling: of course the business has to run, but the close contact with a customer is the most fun." 

Bonebakker sells many engagement rings; for Iwema, the men who step into the salon on Van Baerlestraat for such a ring are the nicest to work with.

"You always see it immediately, how some men move nervously as soon as they come in. Then I know immediately: he's coming for an engagement or wedding ring. To then see the woman happy with a piece from Bean Baker is tremendous fun."

Perfectionist at heart
Most people who knock on Bonebakker's door for a unique piece of jewelry, along with Iwema and her team, choose from scratch what a piece will eventually look like. The first question Iwema often asks a client is, "How long do we have?", this in order to make good use of all her time. "I'm a huge perfectionist and just want everything to be right."

Competition in Amsterdam's jewelry industry seems cutthroat, but Iwema, in her own way, tries not to dwell on this too much. In addition to unique items from its own collections, Bonebakker also sells jewelry from other luxury brands such as Bouchon and Baccerati.

"I try to have a brand first in the window, or I try to sell brands that no one else is selling."


Bonebakker has been a household name in jewelry country since 1792. The former owner, Adraianus Bonebakker was responsible for forging swords for the Princes of the Netherlands and in the year 1840 Bonebakker made the one and only king's crown of Willem II. Around 2011, the salon on the Rokin closed and Bonebakker moved to a new, luxurious salon in the Conservatory Hotel. 

Bonebakker Jeweler
Van Baerlestraat 27, Amsterdam
+31 20 673 7577
In the neighbouhood


Amsterdam South

What's on in Amsterdam Zuid? If you get the chance to see a performance at The Royal Concertgebouw, we definitely recommend it. The building is world famous for its highly regarded acoustics. In April 2013, Queen Beatrix awarded the Royal title to...


Bonebakker Jeweler
Van Baerlestraat 27, Amsterdam
+31 20 673 7577


Most Popular


Subscribe and receive our weekly newsletter with all the latest from Amsterdam