In 1965, the city of Rio de Janeiro organized a jewelry design competition to mark its 400th anniversary. The competition attracted a large number of participants from all over the world, but the winner was Björn Weckström’s necklace Flowering Wall. “Everything changed overnight,” Weckström tells us, remembering the victory. Weckström’s uneven matte gold jewelry, which resembled gold nuggets from Finnish Lapland, quickly gained worldwide recognition. Lapponia’s gold jewelry soon sold out in Central Europe. In response to the demand, Lapponia introduced new gold jewelry that drew inspiration from the gold of Lapland. International recognition paved the way for the new kind of design to succeed also in Finland.
“I saw gold from Lapland as a warm material,” Weckström says as he remembers his travels in Lapland, including a trip to dig for gold at the river Lemmenjoki in the late 1950s. These trips provided the inspiration for the matte glow of genuine gold from Lapland.
Jewelry made of gold from Lapland remained popular in the 1970s, but Weckström had also started designing silver jewelry, drawing particular inspiration from space. As in intriguing experiment, he combined jewelry with watches. “I wanted to create a ‘total look’ for accessorizing and complimenting the Lapponia jewelry range with matching wrist watches made from gold and silver. These watches were launched at the Baselworld exhibition in 1975,” explains Weckström. Weckström also designed watches that combined silver and acrylic, such as the futuristic Time Machine and Time Rod watches.