If you take a walk through central Copenhagen, down Strøget or a hip shopping street like Strædet, you will notice a surprising number of jewellery stores as well as jewellery displays in fashion shops alongside tables of bags and other accessories. Denmark has a proud jewellery tradition spanning decades and boasts some big names, such as Georg Jensen. But like the fashion business, new talent is making waves.
“Jewellery used to be something that women longed for as a present, but today they buy it themselves,” says fashion publisher Malene Malling. She believes what is going on with jewellery is perhaps the most interesting part of the Copenhagen design story.
“There is so much to choose from right now,” she says. “I think part of the explanation is our democratic approach to life, that the designers simply create jewellery they would like to wear themselves. And right now we are lucky to have a lot of talent.” At the exclusive end of the scale, Georg Jensen, which has been making iconic silver and gold jewellery since the brand was founded more than 100 years ago, continues to introduce new modern and sculptural collections. Ole Lynggaard Copenhagen is another label that never ceases to create luxury jewellery for every woman, whether she likes her accessories modern or feminine.
Ole Lynggaard Copenhagen was one of three nominees for Jewellery Brand of the Year at the 2015 Elle Style Awards. The prize ended up going to Danish-Israeli Orit Elhanati for her unique “Scandinavia meets the Middle East” aesthetic, but designer Charlotte Lynggaard took home the prize for Style Icon of the Year. The title was awarded not just for her jewellery but for her “extremely sound and perfect blend of the pure Nordic and adventurous Asian to a timeless modern style”.
Other jewellery brands strive to offer affordable luxury, echoing back again to that Danish-industry adage “fashion for all”. Decades ago, Dyrberg/Kern was one of the first jewellery brands to move the coveted accessories out of the look-but-don’t-touch shops to inside fashion stores. Considering the pure aesthetics of Danish fashion, jewellery can often make a big difference in expressing one’s personality, so it’s important prices aren’t out of reach.
Trendsetting jewellery brands to watch range from Sophie Bille Brahe, who, according to Malling, is an inspiration to many designers; to punk-influenced Maria Black; and Katrine Kristensen, whose playful earrings are worn by such fashion icons as Lady Gaga. The saying Danish fashion is for everyone might not be strictly true, but the design scene is certainly not minimalistic anymore – it’s bursting at the seams.