I am slightly obsessive when it comes to things Scandinavian. Yes, I admit, I had an “ABBA-The Greatest Hits” tape (note I used past tense!). I love Scandinavian literature – from Mankell to Nesbo…..I have nearly read them all. And my Saturday evenings are sorted with Nordic Noir TV-programmes such as Wallander, Borgen, The Killing and The Bridge. I almost punched the air when The Bridge 3 was confirmed, Martin and Saga will be back in my life! I love the tristesse, almost bleakness, the muted shades of grey, green and beige that everything seems to be drenched in. I’m not into cars, but I’d love to own Saga’s green Porsche…that’s how bad it is!

Wandering through the streets of Nordic capitals, you can’t miss the fact, that life and design are closely connected.

Scandinavian jewellery design seems to be a combination of very simple designs, but at the same time innovative, cutting edge and quirky.

The most famous name is probably Georg Jensen, the flagship – the Vasa, if you like – of Scandinavian jewellery design, and companies such as Pilgrim and Bjorg give us a taste of it on the high street.

But there’s more than that in the State of Denmark … and Sweden, Norway, and Finland: Exciting, challenging and highly creative designers!

Sanna Svedestedt is an artist living in Gothenburg, Sweden. After graduating in jewellery art at HDK – School of Design and Crafts – she opened up her own workshop in 2009. Sanna has her roots in the northern parts of Sweden, and her work is often inspired by traditional crafts as she explores materials such as wood and leather.

Her work – whether you call it jewellery, wearable objects or simply art – is stunning, perplexing and as she says herself “sharp, a bit strange and twisted!” The idea of things being just beautiful is pointless for her – and that is so true! Because what really attracts you, captivates you, makes you want more are those quirks, imperfections, twists.

“With the body as the canvas, jewellery becomes a powerful tool of expression. I am intrigued with the way jewellery imposes a strong impact on both the wearer and the viewer. Thanks to its close relation to the body and identity, jewellery is the language I use to transform my thoughts into work. “

Sanna wants her work to have a background and an urge – a story to tell beneath the glossy finish.

Her RAW-collection certainly does that, inspired by the clash between nature and modern society. The leather still has an organic quality, at the same time it is reminiscent of rain wet tarmac.

Ideas for her work come from all kinds of sources, from Elsa Schiaparelli’s surreal silhouettes to experimenting with Cuir Bouilli (an old leather shaping technique), bubbling and boiling in a big cauldron of inspiration. And in Sanna’s case you can take “boiling” quite literally…that’s how she creates these pieces.

“To me jewellery is the ultimate art form, because of its close relation to the body and its social and cultural heritage.”

hanna liljenberg
​​Hanna grew up on the west coast of Sweden and her sources of inspiration are often harsh natural or industrial as seaside barnacles or sharp iron, reflecting the character of the place she comes from.

An exchange semester in Tokyo and the bestial dance form butoh with its grotesque beauty and fragile melancholy had a great impact on her and her work.

Hanna’s Vanitas and Yearn collections truly have a feeling of the sea, clusters of corals, sea weed growing over wet stones. They are stunning pieces, not dainty, but statement pieces in the most beautiful shades of colours. Fragile, yet robust works of art made of paper, paint, varnish stain, lacquer and linen.

In contrast Hanna’s SHERDS collection is hard, edgy and industrial with her use of silver, balsa wood, and silk steel.

“The human body´s ability to both amaze and dismay fascinates me, so the idea of people wearing my pieces as an extension of themselves is intriguing.”

​Since 2010 Hanna has been running a workshop, gallery, boutique in Gothenburg together with three other jewellers.

kain roy
”The joy of repetition really is on me”

Karin grew up in Umeå, Sweden, studied at the Natural Science programme and was convinced that she would become a doctor. Moving to Gothenburg in 2003 changed all that! She started at the jewellery department at HDK, spent six month in Barcelona, and 4th of September 2010 saw the opening of Four.

Unlike other designers that seek constant change and challenge, multiplicity and recurrence attract Karin. She is a long distance runner and the urge for repeating movements over and over again, methodically and resolutely is something that is significant for both her personality and her work. Running kilometre after kilometre or sawing up and down hour after hour.

The variations between the details become important creating patterns and rhythms, which is beautifully executed in her KOTOR collection.

“It is important to me that the jewellery works both by themselves as sculptures as well as on and with a body. The jewellery stands out against the skin and they create a pattern, a pattern that is two-dimensional from a distance but get a depth when you get closer. I am aiming at crating jewellery where dynamic patterns form harmony and balance.”

Apart from running and repetition, Karin also loves fish, their shape, fins and the pattern of the fish scale. For her there is something with the undiscovered world of the oceans. Frightening, exciting and with the beauty that comes with the tension between these feelings.

“Wearing theses jewellery pieces make you look like you just came out of a fight trying to catch a big fish”

The first pieces of the Catching Big Fish collection were made of silver, but she soon added plastic – jumping into the ocean you might be more likely to end up with plastics on your body than scales from a fish.

Kaja Gjedebo
Kaja Gjedebo, studied both jewellery and furniture design at Edinburgh College of Art. This divergence of skill is apparent in the wide range of her designs.
She is not led by trends, but rather by her personal interests. Her skill to manipulate and arrange the very small results in elegant and timeless jewellery, combining natural forms with delicate construction.

KGD’s Secret Garden collection gives the impression of a natural scattering of spring blossoms or autumnal leaves. It originates from Kaja’s move to a new forest home and experiments with paper-cuts. Accented with fresh-water and Akoya pearls, the necklaces, earrings and brooches that make up the collection are undeniably statement pieces, though they retain a quietness and simplicity in line and design.

Similarly the Bubbles collection shows an appreciation of line and gentle forms as a source of beauty, like hollow silver forms resembling clouds, hanging from strings of silk. Bubbles is a collection inspired by beach pebbles and those hollow hearts one used to have as a child. Bubbles are beautifully tactile to wear and hold, and come in four different surfaces; polished silver, oxidized silver, matted silver or polished gold.

KGD’s Paper & Scissors – a series of folded interconnected circles – is a collection both bold and simple, ranging from your everyday pair of earrings and ring to the extravagant big sized earrings when you want to get noticed.

In sharp contrast to the other collections, Kaja’s cuff-links and bracelets formed of encased retro imagery and typography fascinate the eye with their meticulous detail. There is a sense of humour in these tiny dramas, featuring little men and women taken from model railway kits.

Gjedebo values skills and craftsmanship and believes in its value for the future. KGD proudly produces all its pieces, right down to the packaging it is placed in, in Norway. Local production ensures the highest quality in pieces that are made to order.

I promised you Nordic Noir and I don’t think it can get any more beautiful and noir than this.

For Danish Anne Cohen it all started with a passion for the ocean. Seeking simplicity in life she went out sailing and crossed the Atlantic Ocean twice. During the work with the creation of the racing boat she became familiar with carbon fibre and learned about composite materials both in mind and doing.

With a passion for design and material Anne Cohen fell in love with the carbon element being the most simple and yet complex atom, and with its large spectrum of materializations making carbon appear in multiple forms. The dream of making a carbon ring based on pure carbon atoms was born. With graphite fibre and diamonds she could tell her story of life.

Anne Cohen C6SliderAccessories2
The Design is named after the chemical name for carbon in the periodic table. The C6 is based on usage of pure carbon atoms materialized in multiple forms, with the jewellery composed of carbon in two completely different appearances – namely graphite and diamond. With its stringent and minimalistic design it is authentic, contemporary and timeless. C6 being both modern and classic is an innovative renewal of the traditional diamond ring.

Anne Cohen C6SliderBasic

The element C6 is the basis for our living world. It is found deep inside our planet, in living creatures, in the air that we breathe, and throughout the universe. Without C6 there would be no life.

Created by Supernovas stardust C6 was spread into the universe, formed the planets and life on earth. Graphite and diamonds – the two materials constituting the C6 concept – are pure forms of the same element that differ in structure.

The C6 design concept is based on the philosophy of C6 as a symbol of life: black as coal and clear as light itself. The design also plays with time, space and being, the evolution from supernova explosions to modern technology.

Anne Cohen C6SliderLuxury

Every piece is carefully crafted by hand and is a long process from raw fibre to the final ring. All settings are placed directly in to the carbon fibre without any additional materials, which gives a unique ring that consists only of pure carbon atoms.

At the Copenhagen Jewellery Fair 2010 Anne Cohen was awarded with the 1st prize for innovative design and use of materials.

I really feel the need of a bit of Scandinavia now – but don’t worry, I’m not going to knit one of Sara Lund’s jumpers (insiders know what I mean!),……mhmmm, where did I hide that ABBA tape?

Credits with thanks:
Karin Roy Anderson
Sanna Svedestedt
Hanna Liljenberg
Kaja Gjedebo
Anne Cohen


About Author

Jewellery designer and Silversmith based in Edinburgh. I create bespoke, one off Jewellery pieces in silver and gold, as well as bronze, copper and brass. Many of them are set with diamonds, pearls or unusual precious and semi precious stones. I love the idea that every individual piece is unique, which makes it even more special for the person who wears it. Inspiration for my work comes from art, nature, conversations and chance.

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