Karin Castens

Professional in Jewelry Design.

About Karin Castens

Karin Castens is an academic jeweller from Denmark, speaking multiple languages and sporting a Masters degree in communication and history of arts. The small company is with its Karin Castens works with free-form art nouveau inspired jewellery , boldly struggling against the minimalistic tastes of the prevalent Danish Design, while still working with its principles of user friendliness and quaity. Karin is an academic Danish jeweller, speaking multiple languages and sporting a Masters degree in communication and history of arts.free-form art nouveau inspired jewellery boldly struggling against the minimalistic tastes of the prevalent Danish Design, while still working with its principles of user friendliness and quaity.

  • Winner of Jewelry Design Award.
  • Specialized in Jewelry Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Jewelry
Two Forever Jewellery

Two Forever Jewellery

Jewelry Design


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Interview with Karin Castens

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I was a creative child, drawing constantly and therefore went to schools and courses which supported this. After high school, where I finished my arts exam with the highest degree, I went on to an art school, where I studied construction of sewing patterns and drawing – and where I for the first time had jewelers tools in my hands! From university I hold a Masters’ degree in Communications and History of Arts and carried on to the Institute of Precious Metals, where I fought for my right to combine beauty and meaningfulness in a piece of jewellery. It was a fight, because I was expected to create pieces of art, which related to the body – and beauty was considered somewhat suspect.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
My workshop turned professional when the recession put me out of my communications job at a marketing company. I had worked at my own hobby workshop in the boiler room of our building for over a decade, but now decided to seize the day and make something out of an otherwise bad situation. In 2010 I opened the doors to a high-ceilinged shop/workshop in central Copenhagen – right next to New Harbour and behind the Royal Theatre. Here the antique chandelier shines its light on the art nouveau swirls which divide the workshop from the shop proper and the jewellery glitters from vitrines built for antique, guilt picture frames. It is a lively place where my customers can follow the work first hand and admire the large anvil, which used to belong to my grandfather, the blacksmith.
What is "design" for you?
Design is when a product goes from being merely functional to working extra smart while being extra pleasant to the eye. Design isn’t just “pinking” – putting a certain color or pattern on a given product and now it “looks nice”. Form and function should work closely together, tuning into a logical, aesthetic unity.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
I prefer to design rings, because next to bracelets, these are the only ones, which you as a user get to admire yourself. A ring is enormously 3-dimensional and therefore presents a challenge as well as a blessing, because it can change a lot depending on what angle you see it from. Therefore, my often somewhat asymmetrical designs have 2 different looks to them, depending on which way you wear them on your finger.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
My al time favorite is the Primavera ring – a cocktail ring, which features a very beautiful yellow citrine, depicting the sun. It is placed at a 45 degree angle and held above the finger in an airy basket setting made of white gold. From beneath, small yellow gold sprouts - tipped with green peridots - wind their way up towards the warmth of the citrine sun. It is stunning and tells a story of joy and hope at the end of the winter.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
I love working with the cire perdue technique of lost wax carving. My designs are very 3-dimensional and have an organic look, which makes it seem like the piece of jewellery has grown naturally. I often work directly with the gold, but wax provides an even better opportunity for creating the designs that makes my (and my customers) heart soar. Carving wax very much feels like Michelangelo described it: I know the shape which hides inside the block – my task is merely to liberate it.
When do you feel the most creative?
The Muse comes and goes – as is her nature. However, I am often very creative in the morning while still in my bed. Here impressions from the previous day have matured overnight and when I wake up, the ideas surface. Then I am forced out of bed and grab a drawing pad in order to draw all the ideas and possible variations I can come up with before carrying on with the day – or go back to bed…
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
Fusing beauty with usability is always the biggest challenge. The prime task of jewellery is to adorn and so beauty (to me at least) is a given. However, only in rather rare occasions, like cocktail rings, practicality can be overshadowed by mere expression. Making these two issues work together is always a case of weighing one against the other. A curl can look most exquisite, but unless you attach it to the main body of the piece, it might get caught in clothes or hair and become a point of irritation. So when to forfeit practicality for beauty and vice versa is the most difficult part – and the one which brings the greatest rewards if I succeed. I claim, that I very much succeeded in the task with the Two Forever Design.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
Sometimes frustrations when the 3-dimansional version of my drawing doesn’t work – and deep satisfaction when it DOES work!
What makes a design successful?
Good design is when functionality and beauty meet in a comfortable way which is never a nuisance in everyday life. This is also why I never use sharp angles and points in my designs, such as claw settings. The softness of a closed setting is much more gentle to live with and will therefore only please, not irritate.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
Ahhh… a hard one! I tend to judge beauty first, but if it doesn’t function properly – sometimes DUE to aesthetical choices, the product instantly looses my positive attention.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
First and foremost: Do you contribute to making your customer a happier person? If my design elevates the user’s mental wellbeing, this will spill over into his or her life will all sorts of positive side effects. Plus if in any way possible: When creating the product, try to work as sensible as you can: Use renewable materials or materials sourced in ethically sustainable ways. Make sure your employees work in a safe and pleasant environment (happy employees = better products) and above all: Be kind!
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
It seems like more and more products are being “designed” rather than constructed – and that “designers” seem to become more and more aplenty. Being such a “designer” (myself included) seems to have a higher status now than previously. I don’t mind!
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
I was part of the “Show of the Guilds” at the Moltkes Mansion, Copenhagen last winter – for the second time. It is a fashion-based affair with a runway and stalls in the adjoining salons after the show and is well-visited by dignitaries, none the least HRH Princess Benedicte, who is the patroness of the show. Read more about my last participation and the Rocaille jewellery which I designed for it here: http://castens.com/en/blog/castens-og-coture/Right now I have not planned any new exhibitions as I am concentrating on creating an online universe for my customers.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
My main inspiration is nature – the soft flowing lines of smoke tendrils, growing vines and unfurling ferns. When looking at my designs, French Art Nouveau is an obvious source of inspiration too – none the least of cause Lalique. In Denmark, the late jewellery artist Arje Griegst and our colleague Torben Hardenberg are also big inspirations to me.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
My jewellery is very romantic and soft and has a distinct drizzle of a bit of fairytale. I usually claim to create jewellery for everyday princesses and other shameless romantics. In my world, being a feminine romantic is positive and in no ways shameful. I embrace it and take it all the way to tiaras and fairytale princess crowns!
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I live in Denmark and here DANISH DESIGN is obviously a large thing. However, Danish Design is rooted in the 30’s and the following decades, when the designers struggled to free themselves from the aesthetic of the Victorian area, when any and all styles were mixed together. The result was (at times at least) a rather confusing mixture of over-embellishments. No wonder the designers wanted something simpler. However, in my opinion, some of the fabled “Danish Design” has taken it a bit too far. We humans LIKE embellishments, just not everywhere and all the time. This is why I try do my work by combining smooth simplicity – often with a coarse surface for contrast – with romantic details, enabling you to fall into a dream-like state while you study how a piece unfolds new details as you change the angle. In other words… rather far from the classic “Danish Design” which I rebel against!Oh… creating designs which lean on fairytales of cause also links to a certain rather well known Danish writer of fairytales, but that is a completely other story…
How do you work with companies?
I only work with my providers of materials. Here the close connection is very important, because sometimes obtaining a certain gem can be VERY difficult!
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
Look at their previous body of work and if it suits your taste/need have a meeting where agreeing on expectations is the most important issue.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
I always start with drawings based on a certain idea. This I work through in as many versions as I can, before deciding on one, which I would like to take to the next level: The model or, if it is a bespoke piece created especially for my customer, the final piece of jewellery. Often the piece changes a bit from the original design, because reality behaves differently than 2 dimensions. This however is not an issue – mostly the design evolves into something even better. On rare occasions I have to abandon the design because I am not satisfied with how it works. In that case it is literally “back to the drawing board”. IF the design works, however, I finish it off for the customer or in order to have a mold made and copies cast.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
My Margrethe bowl, smooth kitchen tools made of olive wood from Greece, a staff blender, a small scissor for removing sewing threads and a dress I created myself.
Can you describe a day in your life?
We get up early – a bit to 6 – in order to have time for a calm morning. I wake up my teenage girl and together we meditate before I bike to work through Copenhagen, which is usually a pleasure with all the pretty buildings and green parks. At my workshop I go through my bullet journal to prepare for the day before my employees arrive and we start working. My tasks usually comprise of talking to my customers and designing jewellery, working with marketing and sometimes – unfortunately too rarely – I create prototypes and custom made jewellery at the bench.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
Don’t expect world dominion within the first couple of years, but just work humbly creating a LARGE body of work. You might think that you have gotten the techniques under your belt – in 5 years you will look back at your designs now and think “aww… cute!” So just create as much as you can as fast as possible in order to get to the stage where you create the substantial designs.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
Positives are the initial stage of “anything is possible” and the fulfilling moment when it also works in real life. That can be truly euphoric! Negatives are when reality kicks in with budget limitations, materials which don’t perform as you wished them to or designs which looked stunning on paper and are rubbish when brought to life. As a designer as well as other creatives, you are only as good as your last design and so your self esteem tends to be based on what others think about your work.
What is your "golden rule" in design?
Make lots of drawings and possibly models before attempting to build the real deal – not doing so can be enormously time consuming and expensive.
What skills are most important for a designer?
Imagination! You are, after all, inventing something which doesn’t yet exist!
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
Automatic pencil, 0,1 black pen and good paper. Plus some colored pencils. Sometimes I also scan the designs and manipulate them in Photoshop in order to create variations of the same design to choose from for my customers. However, I prefer hand drawn designs in the initial stage. On rare occasions, such as the Two Forever set, I am working with a 3D designer in order to get the lines exact and symmetrical.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
Designing is playtime and NOT time consuming! Running a business with all the logistics involved plus working with marketing is the real time sink. I wished I had more time for designing and creating prototypes!
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
Designing and subsequently creating a piece of jewellery can take anything from 2 hours to 20 hours – or MUCH more if it’s a grand project such as the convertible Adorabella tiara!
What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
“How did you get so good at drawing?” The answer: Lots and lots of practice, also drawing anything else than jewellery.
What was your most important job experience?
Working as a PA at the media bureau Omnicom Media Group for the CEO. Experiencing his tasks in running such a big company as well as the big emphasis put on how to make the employees happy has probably prepared me better for running my own business than anything else.
Who are some of your clients?
Men, who want to propose, couples who want to get married, but most importantly: Grown up women who want to celebrate something in their lives! This could be the end of an education, a new beginning with for instance a new career or cherishing the memory of someone deceased.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I love creating prototypes, because this is the playground. This is where I get to design a variety of versions of an idea, knowing, that if I don’t take my time here, the collection will fall flat.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
I would like to see some of my creations abroad – especially the Adorabella collection, which is a bit too far away from the conservative “Danish Design – Danes”. As a beginning, I am on the verge of opening both my own web shop as well as one at Jewelstreet.com
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
All my designs are developed by myself, but I have a few talented employees who help me actually create the jewellery since I mostly don’t have the time to do so myself.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
I am currently working on a new collection called CUPIDO. So far it consists of a pendant which also can be worn as a choker when put on a satin band plus earrings. In future there will also be a ring plus possibly a bracelet. I hope to launch the collection within a month or two!
How can people contact you?
Please mail me at design@castens.com or call me at +45 32 20 04 44

Designer of the Day Interview with Karin Castens

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?
I am a Danish jeweller with my own studio-shop in central Copenhagen. I have an academic background (I hold a Masters’ degree in Communications and History of Art) and have only worked professionally as a jewellery designer and creator for the last 9 years. These 9 years however have been the best of my life because I am fulfilling my potential and living my dream!
How did you become a designer?
I was taught the basics of jewellery creation at the castle Engelsholm in the mid 90’s, when attending an art school there. Here drawing and sewing was my main subject. But then for one week everyone was allocated to a different study and I ended up in the jewellery workshop. Here the heavens opened, a beam of light came down and the angels sang as I realized my calling. Nonetheless I afterwards studied at the university for 7 years and subsequently followed a career within marketing and communication –while running a hobby workshop in my basement where I worked with jewellery whenever time permitted it. Though having attended the Institute of Precious Metals, I have never done an actual apprenticeship with a master jeweller. When the recession set in and I found myself without a job, I decided to do the one thing one should probably not do: Start a professional studio workshop where I created and sold high end jewellery. However, this of cause meant, that things only could get better – and they certainly did!
What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?
My designs always start with a drawing – sometimes on the go I design in a small sketchbook which I always carry with me and sometimes, if it is a big project, I create a gouache on tinted paper, which is a work of art in itself. Most projects are created by hand at the bench in my workshop – either by myself or my employees. However, on rare occasions such as the Two Forever design, I deem it necessary to have it created in 3D in order to get all the lines absolutely symmetrical.My work comprises of a combination of 100% handcrafted pieces, pieces with cast details, such as flowers, settings etc. and fully cast pieces, which only need renovation and stone setting, once the design has been created and a mold made. I pride myself to have very skilled jewellers in my workshop, who can do practically any sort of task! A necessity because I personally only have time to design models for new collections and special commissions.
Which emotions do you feel when designing?
Ahhh… that dream phase where everything is possible is wonderful, isn’t it? Paper is grateful, as we say in Denmark, and so I can work for hours doodling away before I slowly encircle the exact right proportions and lines. This state elevates me, which is not smart, when I wake up in the middle of the night because my inner muse has decided that I NEED to get a certain design, which has popped up in my mind onto paper. Now. However, when subsequently working with the piece at the bench, I often slip into the desired state of flow. Because most of my pieces are actually one of a kind, they demand my full attention and I have to stretch my abilities and knowledge to their maximum in order to be able to create yet a new piece to the world, which is totally new and untested.
What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?
As mentioned above, I actually hold an academic degree within the History of Arts and I can see how this vast well of art knowledge has provided me with the ability to perceive and appreciate the lines, details and execution of more or less any art form which I come across in my daily life as well as on travels. This also means that I am never–ever running out of inspiration! My challenge is not to come up with new design ideas, but the lack of time to bring just a fraction of them into reality!
What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?
I would love to work more with high end versions of my design, meaning more and larger gems and diamonds and in general oumpf up the opulence of the jewellery. A wedding ring has to be practical for everyday use, and I respect that, but so much more fun is to be had with other pieces which are created in order to adorn and convey the taste of the wearer. In my case, my customers are free-spirted individuals who are not ashamed to show off their love of fantasy and romance. These sort of people are few and far between in Denmark and so I am looking outside the borders of my small country to find the customers which I can make happy with my particular design aesthetic.
What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?
Always carry a drawing pad! You never know when the ideas surface, but often they do unexpectedly – in the Metro, when the curve of the approaching tunnel inspires you, at the market, where the pile of red apples bursts whit color or at your nephews’ baptism, where a detail of the altar catches your interest. Always be open to these influences and transform them into your particular field of design. So many aspects of being a designer can be learned, but what makes your designs unique is YOU and YOUR ability to be inspired and come up with ideas. Always come up with more ideas than you need, just to be sure that you execute the right one. The “worst” that can happen is, that a design process results in more than one successful design.
You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?
Most draw and some build models in order to develop an idea. I have experienced, that keeping on learning new techniques within these two fields has proven very beneficial. In my case I have had my only-pencil-period, then a green marker with a black fineliner on top, for a long time I have worked with pencil and the fineliner and currently I am experimenting with colored pencils on top of tinted paper. The goal is always to make the project as easy to imagine for your customer as possible and hence being a good artist when it comes to drawing is rather crucial!
What is your day to day look like?
My workday always starts with a short, 10-minute meditation, where I focus on gratitude, send my love to those who need it and then turn to the goals for today, the near future and the big audacious future goal. Priming myself this way grounds me enough to handle the many mishaps which can happen during a work day. At work I spend the first half of the day at the computer, where I handle administrative tasks as well as marketing and of cause design. Come afternoon, if time permits, you will find me at the bench amongst my jewellers, where I create these little dreams of gold and diamonds, which someone in the near future will be happily wearing. It is a good life and when I bike home though the beautiful city of Copenhagen, I feel tired and truly blessed!
How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?
I have never created jewellery based on trends. Mostly trends are out of tune with what I prefer and so I ignore them. However, I always follow my peers in order to be inspired – trends or no. “Direct inspiration” is in my book to see a piece of jewellery and thinking to myself “I like the basic concept, but I would never have executed it that way”. Then I set out to create my own version, which usually is so far removed from the inspirational base, that it is virtually unrecognizable – as it should!
How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?
Being a jeweler, aesthetics is a major part of the overall design. However, to me practicality, usefulness and a basic lack of annoyance when wearing my pieces is a concern too. To me, the ultimate design is a piece which is beautiful, pleasant to wear and preferably also conveys a certain idea or message.
How do you decide if your design is ready?
Ahhh… knowing when a design is “right” is a FEELING. Like when adjusting the temperature of the water you are about to shower in. You will KNOW when it is JUST RIGHT, won’t you? However, at times I revisit an old design and decide to do a second take on it with the knowledge and know-how I have gained in the meantime. Never be afraid to admit, that your design could become even better!
What is your biggest design work?
My proudest piece is the grand Adorabella tiara – a convertible piece of white gold, diamonds and mysterious Tahiti pearls which is a pure labour of love. It took most of a year to create and making it move like it should for a necklace while being rigid on a stand for the tiara version was a real design challenge. However, the result is literally worthy to be worn by a princess and I hope this will become true in future!
Who is your favourite designer?
I love the designs of my fellow Dane, Lene Vibe. Her designs are quirky and she embraces imperfection as a part of her design, which I find daring and beautiful. Having seen my pieces, the obvious dead designer deeply respected and loved by me would be Lalique, though Mucha and Horta of cause also are on my list of most adored designers. What I like about these designers is, that while they all embraced the same flowing lines of the French Art Nouveau as I do, they all worked with a lot more different medias and often ended up designing a “gesamtkunstwerk” where architecture, furniture etc. was created to work together. This uncompromising approach to design is truly inspiring!
Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?
I often claim that my design is not very Danish, understood in the way that Danish Design is minimalistic and without adornments. But I love scrolls, bubbles, flowers and details! However, many of my simpler pieces still refer to the main credo of Danish Design: functionality. The Two Forever bridal set, which was my participation to this years A’Design Award celebrates just that, while still maintaining what is so characteristic for me: the soft lines and shapes.Because I am so aware of the fact that I stand on the should of giant, the Design Museum here in my beautiful Copenhagen is probably the museum which I have visited the most and where I can discover and cherish ingenious and aestetic solutions to everyday problems – even when the “problem” is as inconsequential as “how do I convey to the world how special I, as an individual, truly am?”
Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?
When working with people and having employees, it is impossible to avoid that things at times “go south” and this is when loving what you do and whom you do it with comes in very handy. I do my best to praise when praise is deserved and my employees and I have a lot of fun during the day, Caring for their wellbeing while they make my designs happen in real life is enormously satisfying! In Denmark the hierarchy of a workplace is generally very shallow, meaning that I prefer to show the way by walking in front rather than sitting in the back and shouting at people to do things. This, I believe, creates mutual respect and a work ethic which inspires my employees to do their best for the company and our design.
What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?
In fall, I will be sponsoring “My Princess Dream” https://minprinsessedroem.dk/ which is a one day event for a select few little girls with life threatening illnesses. These girls are being taken to a castle, pampered in every way and then photographed in princess dresses. One of my signature designs is a small dragon – the Dragonling – and in my shop it is a basic philosophy that every girl of cause should have a dragon to take care of her. Therefore, each of these girls will receive a Dragonling necklace with a small booklet, created especially for the occasion, featuring a story of a small dragon, which befriends a princess.To me, contributing in such a hands-on way is by far more satisfying that “just” donating money, and I hope to be doing more of such work – for instance creating a piece of jewellery which will be sold in order to support the fight against cancer.
What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?
My main reason for participating in the competition was to be able to prove, that the Two Forever design was truly mine. Shortly after having created it, I realized its popularity and considered having it patented. However, such a patent – especially if worldwide – is economically outside the reach of my small company. The A’Design Award was a good alternative.When I realized that the judges found my design medal-worthy, anticipation in the small workshop of cause grew and we put even more work into having good pictures taken, creating good descriptions of the design etc – something which we of cause have put to good use afterwards.Tomorrow we will create a new window display, using (amongst others) some of the items from the winners kit. We hope this will attract even more customers and convince them of the high quality of the design!

Extended Interview with Karin Castens

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I was a creative child, drawing constantly and therefore went to schools and courses which supported this. After high school, where I finished my arts exam with the highest degree, I went on to an art school, where I studied construction of sewing patterns and drawing – and where I for the first time had jewelers tools in my hands! From university I hold a Masters’ degree in Communications and History of Arts and carried on to the Institute of Precious Metals, where I fought for my right to combine beauty and meaningfulness in a piece of jewellery. It was a fight, because I was expected to create pieces of art, which related to the body – and beauty was considered somewhat suspect.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
It is actually hard NOT to! Shapes and lines inspire me to dig out my notepad and I often see items (of cause mostly jewellery) where I think “great idea – but seriously bad execution. If I would have done it, it would have looked like…” and that is the starting point for some of my designs. In the end they are 100% unrecognizable from the initial idea and carry their very own identity.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
I have tried to be a lot of other things, but kept coming back to creating jewellery. I guess it is my calling and I have stopped struggling against it.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I create jewellery of the soft, romantic sort. I would love to create grander pieces within that framework, such as (more) tiaras and large necklaces.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
Don’t expect world dominion within the first couple of years, but just work humbly creating a LARGE body of work. You might think that you have gotten the techniques under your belt – in 5 years you will look back at your designs now and think “aww… cute!” So just create as much as you can as fast as possible in order to get to the stage where you create the substantial designs.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
Good = it works very well Great = It works very well, is beautiful and a totally new way of solving a problem
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
Good design is when functionality and beauty meet in a comfortable way which is never a nuisance in everyday life. This is also why I never use sharp angles and points in my designs, such as claw settings. The softness of a closed setting is much more gentle to live with and will therefore only please, not irritate.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
I would claim a higher quality of life! Isn’t that worth paying for?
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
A collection of jewellery inspired by the stories of Hans Christian Andersen
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
Don’t think too much in the initial stages – feel. It has to FEEL right. Then you can figure out how to make it happen afterwards.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
I love when designers get to work on both architecture as well as furniture – a gesamtkunstwerk. Examples are houses by Victor Horta or William Morris. Everything is coherent and nothing looks out of place.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
My al time favorite is the Primavera ring – a cocktail ring, which features a very beautiful yellow citrine, depicting the sun. It is placed at a 45 degree angle and held above the finger in an airy basket setting made of white gold. From beneath, small yellow gold sprouts - tipped with green peridots - wind their way up towards the warmth of the citrine sun. It is stunning and tells a story of joy and hope at the end of the winter.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
Draw and test a LOT of different solutions before committing to the one you want to produce.
If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
Most likely work with advertising, but I would have loved to become an artist or writer.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
Design is when a product goes from being merely functional to working extra smart while being extra pleasant to the eye. Design isn’t just “pinking” – putting a certain color or pattern on a given product and now it “looks nice”. Form and function should work closely together, tuning into a logical, aesthetic unity.
Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
My father was my investor the first 5-6 years and together with my boyfriend, who supported me through those first hard years, they made it possible. Creating jewellery is extremely expensive to get started with and so it would never have been possible without these two men in my life!
What helped you to become a great designer?
Unwavering faith that my designs were very, very good. I question so many of my abilities, but never my designs as such.
What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
Convincing myself to have faith in myself and my design and then take the leap.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
I am dreaming about creating a series of pieces inspired by the stories of Hans Christian Andersen – possibly brooches with cut out details of gems or mother of pearl.
How does design help create a better society?
First and foremost: Do you contribute to making your customer a happier person? If my design elevates the user’s mental wellbeing, this will spill over into his or her life will all sorts of positive side effects. Plus if in any way possible: When creating the product, try to work as sensible as you can: Use renewable materials or materials sourced in ethically sustainable ways. Make sure your employees work in a safe and pleasant environment (happy employees = better products) and above all: Be kind!
What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
I am currently working on a new collection called CUPIDO. So far it consists of a pendant which also can be worn as a choker when put on a satin band plus earrings. In future there will also be a ring plus possibly a bracelet. I hope to launch the collection within a month or two!
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
A hub where interesting new materials are pied with providers, making it possible to work with these materials straight away instead of using oceans of time trying to figure out WHO can provide it.
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
A quickie would be 2 hours, most around 1-2 days, a few several months
What is the role of technology when you design?
I only rarely use 3D design and occasionally adjustments through Photoshop, but mostly it is all rather old fashioned: pen and paper, a saw, pliers, hammers, a torch, files and polish.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
I don’t know. I believe in me designing and then having partners who understand my drawings and the thoughts behind and are able to create it in real life. Which is not an easy feat!
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
Green, the forest, a lamb roast, my daughter van Cleef & Arpel
Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
This story is NOT funny, but moving: A customer brought me most of her jewellery, asking me to take it apart and create ONE big bracelet for her. She had terminal cancer and wanted to wear ALL her jewellery from her beloved husband for the rest of her life. She also showed me a diamond ring and told me, that when she was gone, her husband would bring it by in order for me to set it into one of my signature designs – the Dragonling. Then it was to be given to her sister in order to look after and protect her, now my customer wouldn’t be around. 5 months after I gave her the finished bracelet (which she loved), her husband brought me the diamond ring. I took the order, said my condolences and after he left the shop, I sat down and cried. She was such an amazing human and so brave faced with her own demise…
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
By day is the very best when I don’t spend it at the computer but at my bench, creating prototypes. These are my honeypots, which I look forward too and keep me motivated.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
It was absolutely obvious that I would work within some sort of creative area!
What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
Either the planet will be in an post-ap period or we will have solved the issues of poverty, illness and pollution
Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
I live with my Finnish boyfriend, whom I met playing World of Warcraft, my teenage daughter and our 2 cats in the northern part of Copenhagen. My bike is green and so is my nail polish when I am on vacation (not possible when working with precious metals!)

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