There are still a few days to go before the fun starts at DesignMarch 2013.

Gudbjörg Ingvarsdóttir of Aurum will show new works there – a geometrical series of pieces made from silver and a community project in collaboration with African handcrafters – and we cannot wait to see it!

While waiting for it, take a look at this QA we did with her a couple of months ago:

How did you end up as a jewelry designer?

I went to high school in Bainbridge Island in the US when I was 18. It is a little island, you take a boat from Seattle. I stayed for a year and took all the art classes ¬¬– I didn’t have them at home in Ísafjördur. I took a course in jewelry, too, and felt for it. When I returned home, I started to look for a practicant place.

After studying and working in Denmark, you returned home and opened your own workshop and label in 1999. What is the Aurum ideology?

I felt I could show Icelanders something new. The jewelry I was doing was nothing like what was available here back then, I work very three-dimensionally with clear, feminine forms.

And I want to make jewelry that women can come and buy themselves. I wanted them to afford to just come and pick a pair of nice earrings to go with the dress, to not have to wait until Christmas.

How has your work developed through the years?

My graduation pieces were dark and heavy, black and made of iron.
When I got pregnant with my first daughter, my work got lighter and more feminine.
I am always developing and pushing myself to make new things.

You introduce new collections twice a year, one during the annual design festival DesignMarch and one before Christmas. What is new?

Bríet, Dröfn and Dís. Bríet is made of copper and has a vintage feel to it, and Dís is inspired by dragonflies. The idea for Dröfn comes from corals I found on the beach in the west of Iceland. We have a summerhouse there. It doesn’t have electricity, there are no cars driving by, it is just out in the middle of nowhere. There, I have everything I need – the sea, the mountain and the glacier. I get a lot of my ideas there.

Icelandic design is often said to be inspired by nature. Does this ever bore you?

We have this fantastic nature around us, with so many things to be inspired by. It is difficult not to be inspired by it. There are endless things to pick out and work with. No – we should not be bored with it.

How is the Icelandic jewelry design scene like? There seems to be a lot of jewelry stores in Reykjavik, at least?

It’s because there is no one big company, like Kalevala Koru in Finland or Georg Jensen in Denmark. Instead, we all do our own thing in our own shops. There are a lot of different things being made these days, lots of raw, heavy pieces but also lots of lighter, feminine ones. I hope more people will push themselves further.

Tell me about the process of making an item?
It always depends. Drifa comes from the Snow flakes. I started with the bigger pieces and then developed them into smaller. Sometimes, like with Drifa, I got the idea and finished the whole thing in 2 days – I went straight to working with the silver. It differs, how long a collection takes, sometimes it can take years. It is interesting – the piece is just lying there, and I keep working on it in my mind, and then, when I take it and start working on it, it is ready in my mind.


Where are the Aurum products made?

We have a workshop here in the back of the store. We are 3 goldsmiths and 2 practicants – 5 in total. All the silver and materials are bought from Nordic countries. I don’t use the new computer-based technology, but have developed my own methods over the years instead.

What in your opinion is good jewelry design?

I always think about the human body and its lines. When you make a painting, it goes on the wall. When you design jewelry, it goes on the body. Jewelry should be nice to carry.


You have recently extended your work beyond jewelry, haven’t you?

Yes, I launched a collection of ceramics tableware based on the Dögg and Hekla patterns previously used in my jewelry in collaboration with the Finnish Elinno. There are more things like that on the way.

And the store, too, has changed?
Yes, we got this space next door to our workshop a year and a half ago. It is a lifestyle store with lots of different things handpicked from all over the world, things that you wont find elsewhere in Iceland, labels like Donna Wilson, Design House Stockholm and a lot of children’s art equipment. We also stock some local design, such as the NotKnot pillows by Umemi. Just a lot of things that I like myself!

The Aurum store is located at Bánkastraeti 4, Reykjavik.

Images courtesy of Aurum