Björn Weckström - Man, Machine and Jewellery, opening on September 11, 2021, at Didrichsen Art Museum in Helsinki, will exhibit extensively the work of sculptor and jewelry artist Björn Weckström. In honor of this, we have selected the most iconic pieces of jewelry designed by Weckström from the Art by Kalevala collection as well as some of our favorite classics from the exhibition.
The first highlight of the exhibition is Weckström’s world-famous, iconic silver necklace Planetoid Valleys from 1969. Millions of people around the world have seen the necklace worn by actress Carrie Fisher in her role as Princess Leia in the first Star Wars film in 1977. But how did the necklace end up in the film in the first place? Read the whole story.
In the early 1970s, Björn Weckström was able to realize his unconventional idea of combining silver and acrylic in his jewelry. However, there was something wrong with the machine that was supposed to make the clear, transparent pieces of acrylic, as the pieces that came out were full of tiny air bubbles. Weckström didn’t mind this turn of events, quite the opposite—the bubbles made the pieces much more interesting and meant that each piece of jewelry was truly one of a kind. He decided to spray various shades of pigment into the bubbles to create unique, fantastical landscapes within the acrylics. The Petrified Lake ring was the first piece of jewelry to combine silver and acrylic. In 1971, Yoko Ono wore the ring during her appearance on The Dick Cavett Show. John Lennon had bought it in a jewelry shop in Gothenburg. After last year’s limited relaunch of 85 Petrified Lake rings, a few are still available.
Golden Chasm is the first jewelry line designed by Björn Weckström for the new Kalevala brand. Golden Chasm jewelry features a piece of solid gold, embraced by matte silver, like a gold vein peeking out through a crack in a rock face, smoothed by a continental glacier.
Organic, sculpturesque designs and the warm glow of matte gold became a signature feature for gold jewelry designed by Weckström. The name of the Thai jewelry line takes you from the rough wilderness of Lapland to the soft warmth of the tropics. The small diamonds set in the jewelry sparkle like crystal clear sea water.
Our favorite classics from the exhibition
The exhibition will display 86 pieces of jewelry designed by Björn Weckström—who celebrated his 86th birthday this year—starting with the Flowering Wall necklace that gave Weckström and Lapponia their international breakthrough in 1965, and ending with the Golden Chasm collection from 2020, the first jewelry line designed by Weckström for the new Kalevala brand. Golden Chasm and the other pieces of Weckström jewelry still in production are part of the Art by Kalevala collection, which lives and breathes the unique design heritage of Weckström and Lapponia.
The Menelaos necklace (gold and smoky quartz cut by Bernd Munsteiner) from 2002 is the most valuable piece of jewelry in Lapponia’s entire history. Even though the gold pieces are hollow, the colossal necklace weighs a staggering 867 grams. The necklace was named after the king of Sparta from Greek mythology. Only one Menelaos necklace was ever produced.
In 2010, Lapponia celebrated its 50th anniversary. The dramatic Dark Flyer necklace (gold and acrylic) was one of the special anniversary pieces. In Dark Flyer, Weckström revisits Icarus, one of his quintessential themes. The necklace can also be worn without the pendant. Lapponia only produced three Dark Flyer necklaces.