Known for functional, minimalist attire and an approach to life which is more lagom than lavish, Swedes aren’t usually associated with the conspicuous extravagance of diamonds. And indeed, you wouldn’t necessarily expect diamond designers to set up in Stockholm – more famous for fast fashion brands such as H&M. Yet Jenny Kask and Lisa von Baumgarten, the creative minds behind Baumgarten Di Marco, decided to take the risk in 2014 when they launched their own brand.
‘We found a technique to work with leftover, raw-cut diamonds’ they tell me over email when I catch up with the pair ahead of Fashion Week Stockholm. ‘By recycling the spill material during the grinding of diamonds, we saw a new way to wear diamonds: sustainable, affordable and beautiful.’
It’s this sustainable approach which has earned them a revered following in just a few years, as the brand offers a refreshing and powerful alternative to large commercial manufacturers.
The two met when working together at Indiska, and found that they shared a similar approach to design, as well as a shared sense of humour. They decided to take the leap to start their own company, putting unisex design at the core of their brand – not an obvious choice when working with diamonds. ‘We believe that regardless of style, sex and age everyone shall be able to find their favourite piece of jewellery from Baumgarten Di Marco,’ says Jenny, also noting: ‘today we have seen the same ring being worn by both an elderly lady and a younger guy.’ That they have achieved parity between the genders is not surprising, and their brand also caters to wider needs through bags, cufflinks and scarves.
Throughout their pieces, a design aesthetic which is classic and simple unites collections. Whether it’s a signature diamond or cashmere scarves in neutral hues, the look is classically Scandinavian – a facet which is mirrored in their sustainable approach to production. ‘Our ethical responsibility will always be factored into everything we do and thus, is reflected in the way we act in all situations,’ writes Lisa, adding: ‘our aim is to be part of the solution rather than the problem.’
While genuine raw-cut diamonds and precious gemstones are their materials of choice, fans can look forward to experimentations with glass, plexi, fabrics, leather and wood to compliment the precious stones in the future.
‘Our biggest challenge is the consumption patterns that we face today,’ they say, noting while Stockholm is an amazing city for designers to work and home to a fantastic jewellery scene, the struggle that their brand faces is global. Yet in spite of the challenges posed by adopting a concentrated, sustainable approach over fast expansion, Lisa and Jenny feel optimistic about the year ahead: ‘We received the Swedish Fashion Talents 2017 prize, and are very excited to show the press our new collection,’ they tell me. So they should: in a saturated market, Baumgarten Di Marco shines bright as a new brand carving a new path for other makers to follow. Watch this space.