Jeweler Cornelis Hollander: Glittering Rides

  • story by David M. Brown
  • posted on 07/2009
  • posted in: Great Garages

Scottsdale custom jeweler Cornelis Hollander was 16 years old in native Holland when he bought a 1948 Harley Davidson equipped with a tank shifter and suicide clutch. This was the beginning of his passion for fast-moving vehicles. That lasts to this day, but his Harley was gone in a flash.

“It was repossessed by the police because I did not have a driver’s license or insurance,” notes Hollander, whose Old Town Scottsdale studio produces some of the finest custom jewelry anywhere. After that, he had many different motorcycles such as Jawa, Maico, Matchless, Triumph, BSA, Vespa, Yamaha TT500 and various Ducatis.

He studied art and jewelry designing at the Vrije Academie in the Hague, then continued his fabrication skills in Hattan Garden, England. He moved to South Africa, the country of the gold and diamonds, where he refined his skills as a jewelry designer. After settling in the United States in 1979, he started his Scottsdale company in 1984.

His two passions intersect: “The motorcycles and cars I have had I mostly bought because of their looks, beauty and sleek style,” he says. “This is something that is also incorporated in my jewelry designs, including my automotive-influenced jewelry.”

His two prized rideable artworks are a 2006 MV Agusta 1000 cc motorcycle and a 2007 Lotus Exige.

“Ever since I was a teenager in Holland, it has been my dream to one day own an MV Agusta. My first MV Agusta, a 750 cc, was a red and silver one, and I put over 30,000 miles on it,” Cornelis recalls. “The second one, which I still have now, is blue and silver, to which I made quite a few modifications. The exhaust was redone in England to make it sound just beautiful. I also had extensive paintwork done.” Three years ago, he visited the MV Agusta factory in Varese, Italy, as well as the Corse race division in San Marino, a tiny republic within Italy.

His sports car is equally dear: “I have always been intrigued by the stunning design of the Lotus, the lines and the shapes and the fact that it drives like a go-kart,” he says. Just one reservation, though: “I had to start taking yoga classes in order to become more flexible to be able to get in and out of the small car,” he notes with a laugh. But this has been good, too. “That has resulted in starting a collection of yoga jewelry designs — so everything works out for the better as one thing leads to another.”