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Poul Havgaard

Poul Havgaard (1936 – 2011) Many jewelry designers achieve success and recognition in other fields of art. A notable example is the Danish artist, Poul Havgaard.

Before he began his career in jewelry design, he worked as a blacksmith and a painter who restored murals and frescos in medieval churches. In 1960, he established a workshop in his hometown of Faaborg where he also created sculptures. His sculptural talents are also seen in the ceramics collections he designed for well-known companies.

As a jewelry designer, Havgaard first achieved his reputation when he created unique jewelry and sculptures forged in iron and steel which were his favorite materials. He continued creating these pieces in his workshop even after his career as a jewelry designer took off.

In 1971, Havgaard became a head designer (along with Bjorn Weckström) at the Finnish firm Lapponia where he continued to develop his skills. However, this appointment, as he recalled in a newspaper profile the same year, had not come easily.

It was not until a chance meeting with the noted fashion designer, Pierre Cardin, changed his luck. Carrying his tattered suitcase, he took a seat in a Paris hotel. When the doors opposite opened, “… Inside sat none other than fashion king [who] looked at the Danish jewelry designer’s worn suitcase, and so was Havgaard’s fortune made!”

Until then, his work had not been accepted in his native Denmark. “But after the events in Paris, it was different. People suddenly stood in line to buy my stuff. It was the same people who had rejected me before, so I could not [help] being a little scornful at first,” he said at the time.

In 2001, Lapponia celebrated its 50th Anniversary year. During the celebration Havgaard was honored by the European Association Europa Nostra for his 1971 pendant necklace, Pretty Earth. Despite Havgaard’s visionary designs, it took more than a generation before they were fully accepted and recognized.

While working at Lapponia, silver was Havgaard’s favorite material even though he also designed some gold pieces. He loved amber and uniquely combined that gem stone with silver.

Forms communicating with each other among the principles of Havgaard’s designs. He created tension in his pieces by letting interesting forms collide. Havgaard also believed that adorning oneself for another person was among the key factors that influenced culture and his creations often emphasize the sensual nature of jewelry.

Examples of this are found in the rings (often called, ‘finger sculptures’), bracelets and other jewelry pieces he created. Some were intended to rust and erode.

In 2008, Poul Havgaard announced that he would stop designing new jewelry collections for Lapponia. He and his wife, Anne, a photographer, then returned to their workshop in Faaborg where he continued to work until his death in 2011.

“A piece of jewelry can also be a part of the sign language of the erotic, a tool in influencing the opposite sex. Adorning oneself for another person’s sake is, in my view, one of the central factors that has influenced culture. Jewelry expresses desire.” – Poul Havgaard

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