H. Bredemeier’s lifelong passion for jewelry
H. Bredemeier started simple and ‘fell in love’ with his craft.
For someone who has designed tens of thousands of pieces of jewelry during his career — most of them luxury for a worldly clientele — H. Bredemeier himself could be called a Coconut Grove gem.
The founder of H&H Jewels on Main Highway was in love with jewelry well before he established one of the Grove’s most enduring businesses. The lifelong passion began during childhood in St. Croix, where tropical beaches inspired early designs. “I loved the water,” he recalls. “I’d make shell jewelry and sculptures to sell to tourists. That’s how I got started in my creativity.”
And some of that creativity was likely inherited — his grandfather’s brother, whom he calls “uncle” — was a costume jewelry maker.
The Bredemeier family eventually moved from the U.S. Virgin Islands to South Florida, where H. attended Miami Beach High School. In 1985, a work experience program for seniors set him on an entrepreneurial path. “They let me be my own boss, which was rare,” he says.
H. and his uncle rented a parking space in Commodore Plaza, set up a table and sold jewelry with electroplated leaves and shells. The al-fresco vendor was devoted. “We were open from 1 PM to 11 PM on weekdays and sometimes until 1 AM on weekends,” he says.
The venture fired up his heart’s calling: “I fell into it and fell in love with it.”
From street to store
One day, his skill and creativity caught someone’s eye, which led to his first commission for a more complex piece of jewelry. “I wasn’t sure how to make it,” he recalls. “I ran home and asked my neighbor for help. He was a jewelry maker and had a workshop in his garage.”
The eager apprentice continued honing his craft. “After a while, I started taking orders for one-of-a-kind pieces made with the customer’s own gemstones,” he says.
There was more room to grow. Two years later, his father Hermann — the other “H” in the business name — encouraged him to open a proper storefront in Commodore Plaza. By 2003, he moved operations to one of the Grove’s historic buildings — the former Coconut Grove Bank designed by Walter DeGarmo in 1920.
Today, H&H Jewels is not only literally located in the heart of the business district, it also claims a long history of events supporting the community. One of them involved bejeweling a special nuptial. In 2015, H&H hosted a wedding and reception for a couple when same-sex weddings became legal in Florida.
H. Bredemeier also holds several causes close to his heart, including The de Moya Foundation, a non-profit that creates employment opportunities for young adults with unique abilities. “I learned about autism in my early thirties and it always struck me,” he says. “These young adults can experience work and have a sense of great accomplishment.”
H. Bredemeier — whose favorite gem is the sapphire — has come far from his beachside craft days: “I love traveling overseas and discovering rare gems or sourcing spectacular gems.”
But he always comes back home to the Grove.
“I’ve lived here since the 90s,” he says. “The Grove is my life. I’m here seven days a week. I pretty much don’t leave the Grove — if I do it’s to go out of town.”
What is your passion?
“I love designing and making beautiful jewelry.”
What do you love most about the Grove?
“It’s like nowhere else in Miami. Living in the Grove, you’re able to walk from your house to parks, yacht clubs, a shopping district, restaurants, movies and the bay.”
What makes the heart of the Grove beat?
“Here we have a really small town community. We see a lot of the same faces.”
What is your superpower?
Working hard. Dedication.