Upcycled Jewelry: Making A Statement With Sägen

Photos by Bodil Johansson, courtesy of Sägen

Work & Business

Upcycled Jewelry: Making A Statement With Sägen

Upcycling is a term you hear a lot when you talk about sustainability. What we love about the concept of upcycling, opposed to recycling – where a material may be melted down and recast as something similar – upcycling is the continuation of a material’s story, which becomes transformed into something new and different.

Back in 2007, what a lot of people may have disregarded as broken, unusable porcelain, Elin Sigrén saw as raw material for jewelry. Sigrén would grab those pieces and create the first pieces that would help launch Sägen as a business. Salvaged porcelain. Recycled silver. Classic lines. Outlandish statement pieces. Sägen has it all.

Sägen sells rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings, organized into a series of thematic collections. The Atelier collection, for example, has in-your-face street jewelry. Think the “Carrie” gold script necklace from “Sex in the City”, but 10 times the size. Check out this Drama King necklace, which is sure to be a conversation starter. We’re also fans of the Luna collection, which is inspired by – you guessed it – the moon. How gorgeous are these lunar eclipse rings (which have been out of stock every time we check, but maybe you’ll get lucky)?

We caught up with Elin Sigrén, founder and creative director of Sägen, to learn a little bit more about the Swedish business and what’s next for the brand.

Tell us a little bit more about how Sägen came to be.

Sägen started out a summer in my birth city Visby, on the beautiful island of Gotland. I was actually on parental leave with my daughter visiting my parents. As the antique and flea market enthusiast I’ve always been, I happened to come across a large assortment of vintage Swedish porcelain from a local antique dealer. Many of the pieces were broken but I just couldn’t throw these design treasures away. So, I started experimenting. I made my first 10 Sägen pieces that summer. No one, and I really mean no one, believed in this new business idea of mine. But look at us now, 10 years later we’re three full time dedicated women at our Malmö office, we have a Swedish sales rep, a steady growing web shop and very loyal customers from all over the world.

We love some of the classic design motifs that are found in many of Sägen’s products. What drew you to these clean and simple lines?

I’ve always loved the clean Scandinavian mid-century design classics and patterns. These designs never go out of style. The whole idea is to honor these classics and give them new, quite unexpected life as modern, timeless jewelry.

Now that we’ve said that, we also love some of the pieces that are more kitsch (like the Fabulous brass hoops). Where did the inspiration for pieces like these come from?

So glad to hear! This particular range is where we let our most extravagant ideas come to life. These pieces don’t come in collections, we make them whenever we feel like it, sometimes for a particular artist and often one-of-a-kind. So, for a designer this is heaven! The Fabulous earrings were designed after a combined vacation and business trip to Asia. A well-deserved break resulted in many great ideas, the Fabulous earrings just one of them.

We’ve talked to a lot of Sweden businesses that value sustainability. How does Sägen embrace sustainable practices into its business?

Sustainability is in our business DNA and has been from the start since we work with upcycled and recycled materials. We design for the modern woman who shops consciously for a lifetime-lasting style using already existing designs to produce our jewelry.

Nowadays we work directly with the Swedish porcelain manufacturers and receive porcelain straight from their production. We take care of waste and discarded plates and cups and turn them into jewelry. So, the use of porcelain is approved by the producers.

Although the jewelry looks very clean and simple, it takes really skilled smiths to grind and set each piece in the recycled silver. We call them high-end sustainable jewelry design with a story – as the material already has a given history.

What is your best-selling piece, and what makes it so popular?

The reversible Berså and Mon Amie Duo Necklace is a very popular gift. But all the classics like the green leaf Berså, blue flower Mon Amie and Sweden’s most sold china, Swedish Grace, are popular. People often already have a relationship with these designs. Cherished memories from fika at their grandmothers or from family dinners.

It looks like Swedish Kontur is the only retailer in the U.S. that carries your products. Any plans for expansion?

You can also find our jewelry at the Scandinavia House shop on 5th Avenue in New York and The Maidstone Hotel in the Hamptons, and the plan is definitely to grow on the U.S. market with the right partners. Don’t be a stranger 🙂 We have many web-shop customers from all over U.S. Especially from the Swedish and Nordic community parts of the country since we work with beloved Scandinavian designs.

To learn more about Sägen, visit its website.

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