By Daniela Degrassi
Aurum Jewels have been on my radar for quite some time now and today I am finally sharing their inspiring story and beautiful designs with you all. Their name, AURUM, stands for Ambition, Understanding, Responsibility, Unity and Mindfulness.
Aurum places great emphasis on Ambition through their design, product development, quality and customer care.
They show Understanding of the needs of their customers and with respect and empathy, are able to be helpful and flexible.
They apply Responsibility by developing a positive and respectable working environment that encourages collaboration and cooperation between employees. Aurum sources materials from certified fair trade companies and provides environmentally friendly packaging for our clients and customers.
Aurum displays Unity with their community by supporting charities with short and long-term projects.
Aurum is an equal opportunities company and encourages Mindfulness and a prejudice-free environment where everyone has a voice.
All these traits classify them as one of the top sustainable and ethical jewelry signatures worldwide.
Photo by Magnus Andersen
Aurum was founded in 1999 by Guðbjörg Kristín Ingvarsdóttir, goldsmith and designer and Karl Jóhann Jóhannsson MBA. Together they run both the label and the Aurum store and workshop in the heart of Reykjavík’s city centre. Guðbjörg began her career studying gold-smithing at Copenhagen Technical College. She completed her master craftsman examination in gold-smithing at Reykjavík Technical College in 1994, subsequently returning to Copenhagen to study jewelry design at the Institute for Precious Metals. In collaboration with like-minded others, Guðbjörg ran the jewelry workshop Au-Art in Copenhagen from 1996 to 1999. She then returned to Iceland where she founded the design and jewelry firm Aurum.
Guðbjörg’s jewelry designs have attracted much attention worldwide and she has taken part in many international design exhibitions, both as a solo designer and in group shows. She was awarded first prize in the jewelry competition Spirit of the North in St. Petersburg in 2000, received the DV Cultural Award in Reykjavík for art design in 2002 and the Icelandic Visual Arts.
Aurum jewelry is inspired by nature, with its delicate, irregular shapes and is characterized by rich details and a sense of movement, finesse and balance. Simultaneously light, feminine and intricate, the three dimensional designs evoke natural patterns, resulting in pieces that are both modern and timeless. Each and every piece is expertly handcrafted from sterling silver in the company‘s integrated workshop in Reykjavík, Iceland.
Guðbjörg upbringing and surroundings couldn’t but inspire a sustainable approach to Aurum’s business model.
“Our emphasis on being eco friendly can be seen in our display, gift boxes and our jewelry itself. I have resolved to introduce eco-friendly thinking into every aspect of running the company to show our prospective clients that we were unafraid of going our own way and being unique by for example, using unpretentious materials.
The West Fjords part of Iceland, where I grew up, has taught me with their tranquillity and unspoiled nature how important it is to take care of nature. The energy there provides me with endless creative ideas. I want my customers to sense that in my jewelry design.”
Guðbjörg has a very prolific talent, resulting in the launch of several collection in a span of a year. Along with a permanent bridal section, you can find her latest creations in her Sand, Kolga and Sindur Collections.
Guðbjörg’s Bridal Collection is influenced by her innate affinity with Icelandic nature resulting in the most delicate designs, each with their own meaning. Bridal jewelry is often chosen because of a special relationship it holds to the bride, and for any bride who shares a close connection with nature like Guðbjörg, Aurum’s range is the perfect way to express this passion on her wedding day. The collection includes hair pieces, necklaces and wedding bands, and they are truly stunning!
Featuring an arresting campaign shot in black and white, KOLGA is named for and inspired by the eldest of the nine daughters of the Norse gods of the Northern Seas. Meaning ‘Cold One’ the KOLGA collection honors the spirits of this majestic sea. Known as the ice maiden of the ocean, Kolga rests lightly on a strong foundation. Her form is reminiscent of a delicate creature that gets its nourishment from the sea but rests on land. She is sharp but sparkling and in her, and in the jewelry, we feel the transience of a moment. Designer and goldsmith Guðbjörg expertly reflects this sense in her jewelry designs. Icy, sculptural and wave like forms are crafted from 925 sterling silver and oxidized silver, with some plated gold pieces. Beautiful pearls add a luminescence to standout pieces in the range, evoking the many troughs and crests in the colors of the sea.
In creating the SAND collection, Guðbjörg was inspired by the idea that in one grain of sand, we can see the whole world and all the connections that each and every individual component in this world shares. Aurum believes that we must take good care of even the smallest components that are revealed to us in nature, as each of these has the potential to grow. The SAND range also features Swarovski, crystal pearls, perfect replicas of real freshwater pearls set in silver. The pearl too has its origins in a single grain of sand. Reflecting a sense of timelessness and eternity, each pearl is made of a unique crystal core covered with an innovative pearl coating, producing a flawless, silky smooth, rounded surface, contrasting with the sand-like texture of the silver.
The SAND range is comprised of earrings, necklaces and bracelets each of which have a textured beauty found in the Icelandic landscape. Fluid forms designed to be worn alone or layered for dramatic effect are crafted from recycled 925 sterling silver, sterling silver plated with gold and from a distinctive oxidized silver, are each inspired by the breathtaking beaches of the Westfjords loved by Guðbjörg for their peaceful and untouched nature.
The SINDUR collection is one that connects two worlds; the wild and the sophisticated. Both have their origins in nature and each needs the other to achieve the equilibrium that nourishes them both. The stylish collection has an organic feel and features finely crafted earrings, bracelets and necklaces in both gold plated sterling silver and 925 sterling silver. Pearls and precious stones abound including Spinel, the lustrous gemstone Topaz and Swarovski crystals. Like shards of Icelandic ice, earrings hang from the ear while rings and bracelets wrap the fingers and wrist. This is a grown up collection for the modern woman.
Aurum designs are captivating audiences worldwide, with their sometime minimalist and delicate, sometime exquisitely intrigate styles. Guðbjörg heritage is clearly preserved in her jewels and yet elevated to a new modern feel.
A feminist and independent spirit since she could remember (her childhood heroines were Pippi Longstockings and Katharine Hepburn) Daniela Degrassi found her creative outlet as a lifestyle photographer, working mainly in Northern California where she lived for 15 years before moving back to her native Italy to continue to be her autistic sister’s primary caregiver. Vegan since 2014, she found a perfect way to carry her message of compassion while celebrating her love for the wedding industry launching The Kind Bride in February 2018.