Wednesday, April 14, 2010


It is springtime in Sweden and there would be nothing more refreshing than breathing in ocean air while standing on the sands of Sudersand Beach. Sweden is also the home of featured jewelry designer Karin Johansson.

Over the centuries, Swedish jewelry design has been known for clean, geometric lines without fanfare; however many early designers like Wiwen Nilsson and Sigurd Persson revved up the time-honored style by implementing bold colored, large, faceted gemstones like Brazilian aquamarines and quartz.

So far, my research has uncovered Swedish jewelry designers who follow eclectic design approaches from the fashion-forward pieces of Yvone Christa to the foreboding, ominous designs of Hanna Hedman. Johansson, however, embraces the traditional Scandinavian aesthetic of streamlined proportions with few gemstones.

The essence of her jewelry--at least from what I have viewed on her website--is marked by very little deviation from muted colors and clear-cut forms.
It is not conventionally pretty in the sense of sparkly and high gloss. The heavily oxidized sterling silver pieces from her Box, and Island Collections, respectively, are inky black providing a rather stoic aesthetic.

Her off-white enamel pieces from her Time Collection provide a classic color contrast with items such as a brooch and necklace that are simple circle structures.  The brooch's curves are accented with a beautiful outline of 18-karat yellow gold; and lovely, brown wood accents a linked circle necklace.

Her Butterfly Collection pays homage to the insect with brooches in varying sizes and textures fashioned from sterling silver, 18-karat gold, and enamel.
"I wanted to do an exhibition where the viewer has to face a large collection of objects that at first glance may seem very similar; however, you discover all the brooches are individual," says the designer.

The Gothenburg University alumna keeps her geometric forms interesting with surface accents like perforation, ridges, and granules or accents of silk and even black diamonds. These inclusions blend with the larger design; a layering of complementary elements that seem to seep into each other.

Since 1995, Johansson's minimalist designs, with their studious, futuristic flair, have been exhibited in galleries across the glove including the United States of America, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and London.
Photo 1 (top right): Oxidized Silver and Enamel Ring
Photo 2 (bottom left): Sterling Silver, 18-Karat Gold and Enamel Necklace
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