The Lohri House
In Zug‘s unique old town in the heart of Switzerland, you will find the oldest house of goldsmiths in Europe. It is documented that goldsmith craftsmanship has continuously been practiced in this historical building since 1620. Today, the Lohri family practices and celebrates this tradition in the second generation. At the beginning of 2016, they reopened the house in the Empire style after elaborately renovating and restoring the building in collaboration with the department of preservation of historical buildings. On these unique premises, you will now find noble watches and fine handmade jewellery.
A golden history
Zug has enjoyed a long tradition of goldsmithing and silversmithing. From the 16th century onwards, the Reformation took place in the large Swiss cities such as Zurich, Bern, Basel and Geneva. Zug remained catholic and its experienced goldsmiths and silversmiths were able to benefit from commissions from the catholic church and therefore establish a good reputation throughout all of Switzerland. To maintain an international renown, the Zug smiths sent their offspring and their assistants to train in Nuremberg and Augsburg – the greatest goldsmithing metropolises at the time. This kept the goldsmith trade in Zug alive. Throughout the centuries, the historical house on Neugasse 27 was used by various goldsmiths for dwelling, working and trading. These respected citizens were often also active statesmen and councillors in Zug and its surroundings.
The 16th-century showroom
The distinctive vaulted room in the ground floor of the house dates back to the beginning of the 16th century, when the Neugasse was first built. The impressive pillars near the entrance offer a first glimpse into the uniqueness of the premises. The ceiling is adorned by elaborate grisaille paintings with laurel motifs. This artistic painting method is characterized by its grey, white and black tones and was chosen as a recurring theme to decorate the interior of the house and give it a characteristic note. Today, the showroom in the ground floor houses a select range of watches and jewellery form world-renowned manufacturers such as Panerai, Omega and Ole Lynggaard.
Historical jewels in the perfect setting
On the first floor of the building, jewellery enthusiasts can purchase rarities from the Lohri Unique Vintage Jewels collection, an exclusive selection of antique jewellery. There is also a small private collection of unique gems from bygone eras that can be admired here. The newly restored Empire style premises appear predestined for housing such unforgettable and timeless pieces, most of which are from the 19th and 20th century. Among these you will find treasures from renowned designers such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Boucheron and Fabergé. During the restoration of the premises here, findings of the original wallpapers and wall coverings were found. To commemorate these discoveries, the walls of these rooms have been adorned with finely-patterned wallpaper in blue and grey tones and matching plain-coloured panels.
The Wedding Ring Salon
On the second floor of the building, a romantic, dreamlike world opens to the visitor. In our lovingly furnished Wedding Ring Salon with golden chandeliers, finely-patterned wallpaper, floral arches and exquisite furnishings, you will feel like you are in a fairy tale. Here, tradition and continuity are practiced and celebrated and dreams of jewellery are created for your future togetherness. The center of the ceiling is adorned with a stucco medallion featuring cherubs – a unique piece dating from 1780 acquired by the Lohri Family from the historic preservation office of Thurgau. The painted frieze surrounding the medallion is entirely based on motifs from sketches by Karl Amade Spillmann, the goldsmith who re-edified the house in 1806 on top of the 16th-century ground floor.
A landmark for the city
The distinctive empire-style facade of the Lohri House with its inviting showcase is a real visual asset to the city of Zug. The colour scheme in grey and white was developed in collaboration with the department of preservation of historical buildings, the construction management, and the painter. The consoles supporting the window structures and ledges have been embellished with gold. On the old original plan of the façade, five scenes from Greek mythology were visible, each one with gold as part of its narrative: Hephaestus‘ workshop, Jason and Medea steal the Golden Fleece in Colchis, Heracles steals the golden apples of the Hesperides, Danaë and the golden rain and the Judgement of Paris.
Owners of the Lohri House in chronological order
|1620||The property is owned by Johann Jakob I. Muos, goldsmith, cantonal Grand Council member, treasurer and Governor of Cham|
|1640||Johann Jakob I. Muos’s son of the same name takes over the property. He is also a goldsmith, treasurer of Zug and captain in the armed services abroad. He dies in Florence in 1650|
|1688||The Reverend Johann Oswald Meyenberg sells the house belonging to his brother, the late Hans Kaspar Meyenberg, to Beat Thoman Stocklin for 1250 gulden|
|1704||Lawyer and cantonal Grand Council member Karl Anton Letter is the new owner. He inherits the house from his father-in-law Beat Thoman Stocklin|
|1754||Plazid Anton Letter, cantonal council member, becomes the owner of his grandparents’ house|
|1770||Franz Michael Spillmann, silversmith, takes over the building. He is son of the renowned goldsmith Franz Anton (1705-1783)|
|1805||Spillmann’s son, Karl Amade, is Zug’s last significant silversmith. He has the empire style building (now Neugasse 25/27) built on the original vaulted ground floor. The master builder is Melchior Schellhammer|
|1856||Karl Joseph Spillmann acquires part of his father’s property, the building at Neugasse 27, for 7300 francs. He is a goldsmith and administrator for the poor and orphans, as well as President of the Town Council|
|1867||The twin property is sold to the senior civil servant and mortgage administrator Georg Nussbaumer-Schäll from Oberägeri. He sells Neugasse 25 to the Spillmann sisters.|
|1885||Examining judge Johann Martin Christian II. Kaiser im Hof-Brandenberg acquires the property at Neugasse 27. He is a cousin of Karl Joeseph Spillmann and transfers the house to his son Joseph Kaiser im Hof, goldsmith and silversmith, who uses it for both commercial and residential purposes. Kaiser served his apprenticeship in Horgen and spent his period as a journeyman in Pforzheim and Paris.|
|1921||Walter Kaiser takes over his father’s business. He served his apprenticeship in Zurich and studied at Schwäbisch Gmund School for the Precious Metals Industry. He later worked in Chur, Geneva and Paris.|
|1952||After Josef Kaiser’s retirement, goldsmith Max Bossart works at Neugasse 27|
|1992||Goldsmith Hansruedi Wassmann works on the premises|
|2014–2016||Elaborate renovation and restauration of the building under the ownership of the Lohri family.|
|2016||Reopened as the Lohri Chronometrie and Joaillerie|