Designer Desire: Bent Gabrielsen

Mosaic of Bent Gabrielsen jewellery | H is for Home

Every week that goes by, I discover yet another brilliant Scandinavian jeweller. Today, it’s multi-award-winning Bent Gabrielsen (1928-2014).

In 1949 in Copenhagen, Gabrielsen completed his gold-smithing apprenticeship. He followed this with a 3-year course at the College of Jewelry, Silversmithing, and Professional Trade Design in the city. He went on immediately to work for Hans Hansen from 1953 as a jewellery designer where he remained until 1969, by which time he’d become responsible for the company’s entire output. After leaving the company, he set up in partnership with his wife under the name, ‘Gabrielsen’s Guldsmedie’.

When he won the Lunning Prize in 1964, Erik Bohr, the Chairman of the Committee commented:

Bent Gabrielsen’s jewelry carries absolute conviction as to its function; his handling of materials is so restrained and well considered that one feels this could hardly be otherwise. His jewelry is simple and clearly constructed, often with links connecting naturally with each other so that the complete piece makes up a beautiful whole. Every single detail of his things is worked out. There are no false effects. He does not take the easy way out.

Here’s a film giving an in-depth look at the maker’s life, work and ethos.

Find available examples of his work on eBay and Etsy.

Portrait of Bent Gabrielsencredit

Additional image credits:

1stDibs | Artnet

Designer Desire: Jorma Laine

Mosaic of Jorma Laine jewellery designs | H is for Home

I was doing a Google search recently for ‘Vintage Scandinavian jewellery’ (as you do!) and stumbled across the work of Jorma Laine – I’m now smitten!

Laine (1930-2002) was a Finnish jewellery designer who worked for Turun Hopea Oy, Kultateollisuus Ky, Kalevala Kory Oy and his own company, Silver-Laine.

He worked mainly in bronze and silver with the occasional use of semi-precious stones such as turquoise, tiger eye, unakite or nephrite. His style was abstract, Modernist – almost Brutalist – with Viking and tribal influences.

I’ve come across lots of stunning examples of his work but below is the only portrait of the man I could find. Perhaps it’s because he apparently spent the final years of his life living as a recluse in a log cabin in the forest of Finland.

As I said, his work is readily available and fairly affordable – from less than £50 for a bronze pendant. Try looking on Etsy and eBay if you’re interested.

Jorma Laine, jewellery designercredit

Additional image credits:

1st Dibs | Bukowskis

Designer Desire: René Lalique

Mosaic of René Lalique jewellery designs | H is for Home

Most widely known for his opalescent glassware – ranging from perfume bottles to vases – René Lalique (1860–1945) began his career as a jewellery designer.

I’m much more a fan of Art Deco than Art Nouveau jewellery, but Lalique’s exquisite designs are truly breathtaking. His pieces – hand-crafted from precious metals & stones, enamel, mother-of-pearl and, of course, glass – portray subjects taken from nature. He depicts insects such as butterflies, bees and dragonflies, birds, fruit, flowers and foliage.

If this post has whetted your vintage René Lalique jewellery appetite, there are lots of books on just that subject – I can’t afford to buy the real thing, so the colour photographs between the pages will have to suffice!

Portrait of René Laliquecredit

Additional image credits:

1st Dibs | Love is Speed | The Metrapolitan Museum of Art

Designer Desire: Björn Weckström

Mosaic of Björn Weckström designs | H is for Home

I just love chunky, modernist, almost brutalist Scandinavian jewellery and when I discovered the work of Björn Weckström it went straight into top spot on my wish list.

Weckström (born 1935) is a fine artist and sculptor but it is for his jewellery that he’s probably best known. His work is often inspired by ancient Greek mythology, nature and the landscapes of Lapland.

He’s a prolific maker – primarily for Finnish company, Lapponia – so examples of his work are readily available from outlets such as Bukowskis, eBay, Etsy. His pieces are mainly crafted from 18 carat gold, sterling silver, precious stones and pearls so they’re not going to be cheap. They’re individual, heirloom pieces – in my opinion, very much worth the investment.

A necklace entitled, ‘Planetoid Valleys’ and the ‘Darina’s Bracelet’, both designed by Weckström for Lapponia was worn by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) in the closing scene in 1977’s Star Wars film.

Weckström has said of his work and the wearer’s relationship to it:

A piece of jewelry is a miniature sculpture with the human body in the background. When I first began in the early 1960s, I wanted to turn jewelry design into small-scale form of art and raise its profile on a par with that of modern sculpting. Naturally matt gold soon became my trademark. Wearers of my jewelry relate personally to it. Some think jewelry is art, others think it is an intriguing complement to their personality or a fascinating conversation piece. Some think that it is quite simply beautiful.

Björn Weckströmcredit

Additional image credits:

1st Dibs | Artnet

Designer Desire: Oswaldo Guayasamín

Mosaic of works by Oswaldo Guayasamín | H is for Home

We’ve only recently discovered the incredible work of Ecuadorian artist, Oswaldo Guayasamín (1919-1999).

Guayasamín was a prolific producer of paintings, drawings, sculpture and jewellery. His award-winning works were often very political and sometimes controversial. He highlighted subjects such as poverty, injustice, political oppression, racism and the class divide in Latin America. His paintings can be haunting, unsettling and, at the same time, exquisitely beautiful.

If you ever get the opportunity to visit Ecuador, visit the Capilla del Hombre (Chapel of Man) in the capital, Quito where many of his works can be viewed. It reminds us of Kettle’s Yard, but on a much larger scale.

Portrait of Oswaldo Guayasamíncredit

Image credits:

1st Dibs | Artnet | Christies | eBay | Invaluable

Christmas gifts of the day: Jewellery

Christmas jewellery ideas | H is for Home

You may think that buying jewellery for Christmas or any other special occasion is an easy option, but it isn’t always. What’s their ring size? Do they prefer gold or silver? Are their ears pierced? Do they have a nickel allergy? Do they even wear jewellery?

Some of these questions can be answered through simple observation. If possible, rifle through the intended recipient’s jewellery box and slide some of their rings on to your own fingers to gauge the size of their fingers. Don’t get caught though – you may be wrongly accused of attempted theft!

When’s their birthday? Give an item of jewellery that incorporates their birthstone. Get something personalised such as the fingerprint charm featured here (#5). It’s double-sided, so you can have the prints of two people impressed together for posterity.

  1. Amethyst & moonstone necklace: Pia
  2. Citrine earrings wrapped in 14k gold fill: Etsy
  3. Stainless steel cufflinks with brown leather inlay: John Greed
  4. LucyQ triple drip bangle (Size 7.75) in rhodium-plated sterling silver: TJC
  5. Fingerprint oval dangle charm: Hand on Heart