By Patricia Contreras
Look at any fashion week front row these days and you’re likely to see some celebrity or editor casually fingering the Shamballa beads on their wrist. Shamballa jewels, founded by Mads Kornerup in Copenhagen, Denmark, takes its name from the Tibetan word for ‘happiness, or place of peace and tranquility.’
Born from Kornerup’s interest in yoga and spirituality, the company’s aim is to create simple jewellery from ethically sourced precious stones, in order to convey a sense of peace and calm–in fact, the designs borrow heavily from traditional prayer beads, using a macrame technique to unite diamond-encrusted spheres into bracelets and necklaces.
The first celebrity to custom-order a piece was Jay Z, and from there, the A-list orders kept pouring in, from Karl Lagerfeld and Georgio Armani to Gwyneth Paltrow and European royalty. The range now includes earrings, cufflinks and rings, and is becoming synonymous with chilled out, ethical luxury.
Eluxe met with Shamballa’s International Business Developer, Michael Lillelund, for an exclusive interview about the brand. Portrait and interview by Patricia Contreras.
How do you ensure that all your stones and metals are sourced ethically? All our stones are GVS certified and sourced from only ethical mines.
Which piece is your best seller? That would be our bracelet: 10 mm gold with our 10 mm white pave ball.
Who is the typical Shambala customer? It’s somebody who feels their spirituality, who likes something different, and who likes to project that with personality and class.
Talk us through the design process for a piece, say, a bracelet? To customise a bracelet, it all starts with the client and asking what he/she wants. Then, production is carried out in Copenhagen, where the bracelet is put together and is soon sent out to the customer. This process can be very fast, and is usually about a week, but of course this depends on the type of material and stones the client wants.
Why do you think the brand is so popular in the world of hip hop? Jay Z is the king of hip hop, and has of course inspired a lot of other hip hop artists (to buy the brand). Lebron James, for example, bought his (piece of jewellery) because he saw it on Jay Z.
What would our readers be surprised to learn about you? Besides creating ethical jewellery, I am very much into taking care of my health, by eating good food, doing sports, and having a healthy lifestyle, which improves the spirit. I opened restaurants in Copenhagen, London and recently in New York, called 42raw. The concept is raw food, which maintains all the vitamins and minerals of the food, and which we cook under certain temperatures and with certain special machines to keep all the nutrients intact.
Finally, what defines a timeless piece of jewellery? For me, a timeless piece doesn’t have to be classic; you just have to absolutely love it. Then it would be even more precious to pass on for many generations to come.
For more information, please visit: www.shamballajewels.com