Björn Weckström (1935- )
The Finnish sculptor Björn Weckström is one of Scandinavia’s best known jewelry designers. In 1956 he graduated as a trained goldsmith, and soon after he opened his own studio in Helsinki. Combining his yearning to be a sculptor with his trade, he immediately started making modernist jewelry with characteristic angular shapes and matte surfaces. In 1961 he participated in a large exhibition of modern jewelry design at Goldsmith’s Hall in London, which catapulted him into both domestic and international fame.
In 1963 he joined Pekka Antilla to start Lapponia Jewelry, expanding the production and reach of his designs. This became clear as he won the Scandinavian design award the Lunning Prize in New York City in 1968. Drawing inspiration from his trip to the United States, Weckström designed a series called “Space Silver”. The series includes some 50 designs with themes as diverse as space, nature, and Greek mythology. Often incorporating people in silver in his pieces, the Space-series express an unprecedented sculptural and alluring quality in jewelry. Continuing this successful merging of beauty and intrigue, Weckström went on to create a series of jewelry serving as a commentary to the weapons manufacturing industry at the time. Made in color-patinated bronze with names such as “Daytona”, “Bethlehem Steel” and “General Motors”, the series reflects the inherent qualities of Weckström’s designs: thought-provoking, yet art in its own right.
In the early 1970s, Weckström started incorporating acrylic resin into his silver jewelry. Despite the outrage from conservative forces in jewelry making, these objects are some of his most beautiful and expressive to date. The mixing of materials in Weckström’s jewelry serves as an extension of the contradictions in life and art: a rough finish meets soft angles and plastic meets silver.
At this point, Lapponia had become so successful that in 1976, Björn Weckström was contacted by George Lucas to provide “statement jewelry” for his new, unnamed, film. Even though Weckström had no idea who George Lucas was, he accepted the work. However, due to time constrictions it was impossible to finish any new designs, and Lucas decided to have Carrie Fisher wear two existing designs, “Planetoid Valleys” and “Darina’s Bracelet” for the final scene of the movie. The use of Weckström’s designs in Star Wars further spread the word about his jewelry, and Weckstöm was pleased to see the result on the screen in 1977.
Today Björn Weckström lives in Italy, where he works mostly with sculpture. Still, the Finnish nature serves as a constant inspiration with ice, snow, and glaciers serving as themes today as well as in the 1960s.