By Nina Hald
Pure Scandinavian simplicity in luxurious interplay with black Tahiti pearls and dazzling gemstones. Meet one of Denmark’s leading creative talents, goldsmith Bodil Binner.
The rippling ocean is her principal source of inspiration. That’s why Bodil Binner’s jewellery designs always reflect her relationship with water. Such as the ‘Buddy’ wedding rings (you always scuba dive in pairs) and her ‘Reflection’, ‘Caviar’ and ‘Big Blue’ ring designs.
A unique design feature of her rings is their ability to combine with other jewellery items, such as pendulums or large earrings – or to create a baroque chain of diamond-studded rings.
All her jewellery is handcrafted and customised to requirement. “I love being wowed,” says Bodil Binner during our afternoon interview in her downtown atelier at No. 7, Ny Adelgade, Copenhagen. “Like when an idea for a new design suddenly strikes me just out of the blue. For instance my baroque pearl earrings, which are mounted with detachable black diamond rings. When I see a dazzling pearl or gemstone then I instantly visualise the design and the mounting for the gem.”
Binner graduated as a goldsmith in 1994 with a long-held dream of starting her own business. “My training at the Institute for Precious Metals was an eye-opener. You have to wash the slate clean and start afresh. All you need to know are the basics about how metals behave.” Since then Binner has developed her talent within pearls and diamonds at the International Gemmological Institute of Antwerp, Belgium.
A several-year stay in Paris in the late 1990s has also influenced Binner’s design. “I’m especially influenced by the attitude French women have toward jewellery. They often change the jewellery they wear several times a day and are very colour conscious. In Paris I decided that extravagant luxury would always be a part of my professional approach.”
Bodil Binner’s design universe is pure and graphic with a feminine touch of rounded shapes. Her choice materials are gold and diamonds, along with platinum and pearls – the latter in white, black and golden.
And finally, her mounting system for diamonds is somewhat magical – they make the gems appear larger. She creates this illusion by combining large claws and a more discreet ring band, or hoop, so not to cover the diamonds too much.
To the question “When do you work?” Binner replies with a smile: “All the time! I make prototypes in gold directly whereas other designers often use silver. My reasoning is straightforward: You might as well go for it!” Although the trophy pieces of Binner’s collections are visualised on paper first, she believes that rendering designs on paper is simply far too gratifying – you don’t get a real feeling of the end product. That’s why she prefers the three-dimensional approach.
For anyone looking for a unique gift with deep-sea romance and true Copenhagen provenance, you need look no further than No. 7, Ny Adelgade.
The boutique in Ny Adelgade
Danish architect firm Schmidt+Hammer+Lassen has designed the atelier and showroom interior of Bodil Binner’s boutique at No. 7, Ny Adelgade. The basement atelier and the mezzanine boutique illustrate the creative process – from ashes to fire. The choice of design studio came natural since Binner had admired one of their principal showcase designs – the extension to the Royal Library in Copenhagen called the Black Diamond. “The name itself conjured up associations to my profession and so does its waterside location,” explains Binner.
The Pearl Whip – Mademoiselle Sade
When Bodil Binner took part in the French Polynesian pearl competition Tahitian Pearl Trophy in 2008 it was the special prize category that spurred her creativity. Her entry was a whip called Mademoiselle Sade, which won the Scandinavian section of the competition and scooped second prize in the international final. The whip is mounted with Tahiti pearls on a rhodium silver stock set with white diamonds and a 60 cm tassel of blonde human hair!
As a tribute to the women who juggle motherhood and a career, Bodil Binner has designed a special gold ring that can be customised with any number of diamonds – either a single stone ‘globe’ or as a pavé design.