“A piece of jewellery should be a symbol of love. It should enhance and move with the body so that it blends with you. It must not overwhelm, but enhance you. This is why it must be timeless. It shouldn’t matter if you are 17 or 87 years old.”
Torun was an exceptionally talented artist, her pieces were all formed by bending silver into the forms she imagined using only one piece of metal. The Torun bangle folds around the wrist gracefully and it locks in a way that symbolizes the bond that two people have together, stronger in unison than being apart. Symbolism was very important to Torun and all her pieces have greater meaning. She was so connected with her ideas that she even reinvented them over time, nothing was forgotten and everything was in a constant flux in her creative process.
In the Georg Jensen smithy there is a recreation of Toruns own workshop, borrowing clothes and memorabilia, books and items that she treasured, here time almost stops and one can dive into Toruns world. A fierce feminist Torun was the voice of liberation in all fronts, social , sexual, racial, cultural, she did not conform to the tropes of her time. She began making jewelry as a teenager and she even staged her first exhibition at the age of 21. In 1948 she traveled to Paris and Cannes, where she met painters Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Henri Matisse.
Torun’s jewelry was inspired by natural shapes such as flowers, leaves, swirls and the flow of water. It is described as sober, minimalist and simple. Torun has been praised for her ability to shape solid materials into seemingly flexible forms, so that metal flows like water around the wearer’s neck and shoulders.She did not use valuable stones, preferring instead pebbles, granite, rock crystal, moonstone and quartz.
In 1948, saying that she didn’t want to design jewelry for the wives of wealthy men to keep locked up in private, Torun began making what she called “anti-status jewelry” out of twisted silver wire embellished with crystals and stones. In 1959, she designed the Mobius necklace, which included a lead crystal drop to be draped over the shoulder of the wearer. It was described by Barbara Cartlidge, author of the reference book Twentieth Century Jewelry, as a “milestone in the history of modern jewelry.” In 1962, Torun designed a stainless steel bangle-style wristwatch for an exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.It later became the first wristwatch to be produced by the world-renowned Danish silver company Georg Jensen.
The Torun bangle takes an expert silversmith more than 10 hours of work to make. It goes through various stages of process, the strand of silver is cut with a saw to an appropriate size, then filled from all sides, then following the steps of the designer herself, folded manually into its final shape. The process looks simple when you look at it from afar, but we had a chance to be involved into all the steps and I cannot stress this enough, there was nothing easy or simple when your hands are doing the work. It is no wonder takes patience and expertise that can only be gained after years of honing the procedure. The final result , the Torun bangle looks effortless, and it naturally folds over the wrist, just as Vivianna Torun herself intended.
Even though we didnt get to make our own Torun Bangle however ( despite our best efforts ), we were each gifted with one that was custom made for us, down to our carved initials on the inside. I would have treasured this gift regardless for years, but it was extra special for me after learning so much about Torun, getting involved in the whole process and being part of this amazing experience. A big thank you to Georg Jensen and our hosts for organizing one of the most beautiful trip.
// Photography and Styling by Katerina Dima
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Styling and photography by Katerina Dima unless otherwise stated.