Mads and Mikkel Kornerup

You founded your brand in 2005 with a strong vision. How has this developed in the last decade?

MIKKEL: Shamballa Jewels is born from a combination of inspiration and curiosity – among others, from the Far East. We have both practiced yoga for many years, and this was kind of where it started; the curiosity of how people have used ‘accessories’ for ages, such as prayer beads, bells, chanting and meditation to explore their inner self, which is something that we could be better at remembering today. To stop, breathe and find balance – to remember your values in life. And that exact aspect is what we hope to remind people of through our jewellery through symbols, icons and stories from the Eastern philosophy. This vision has stuck to the brand ever since and is more relevant than ever today, where people are looking for luxury beyond materialism.

Did you work in the jewellery world before – and if not what were you doing before this?

MADS: During my first big trip to Brazil when I was 19 years old, I was captured by the beauty of gemstones and I never lost it. My love for jewellery design came very naturally thereafter, bringing me on a year-long journey that culminated with the creation of Shamballa Jewels.

MIKKEL: I have never been afraid of wearing jewellery and Mads and I shared this vision and idea from the beginning, that if we liked wearing it so much, it had to be possible to get more men on that same wave-length. I started my career in IT, so it wasn’t really in the cards that I should work with jewellery design, however, the ability to find solutions where others can’t necessarily see them has been – and is – essential when talking about product development.

How would you say working together has affected your relationship as brothers?

MADS: Working together every day – building this brand that Shamballa Jewels has become – has allowed us to maintain the strong relationship that we have had since we were kids. There will always be difficulties when working together as a family, such as who gets to decide the direction – and which way to go if we don’t agree. But then the good thing is that we know each other so well, that even though we disagree, we know that at the end of the day, we are still friends.

Shamballa Jewels Bracelet and Ring

What did you want to achieve with your brand?

MIKKEL: We wanted to reach our vision of creating a fine jewellery brand that is more than just precious materials – that goes beyond what is simply luxury. And in the beginning, we wanted to do this for the modern man. For centuries men have worn jewellery as a testimony of their beliefs, achievements or memories, but for many years, this has been replaced by a beautiful suit and the perfect watch. We believed – and still believe – that these two can be combined. Over the years, the women’s range has come along as well, and today we create jewellery for men and women alike.

You have taken traditional high jewellery concepts and added layers of meaning. Can you tell us more about that?

MADS: We want to give people the opportunity to wear a piece of jewellery that reveals a small part of their unique personality. Every piece of jewellery within the Shamballa Jewels universe can be customised bead-for-bead to tell a special story about its wearer, thus giving our collectors the freedom to add their own layers of meaning to the piece of jewellery they are creating. Maybe they are fascinated by the story behind our Om Mani Padme Om pendant or they just want a certain gemstone to symbolise a specific achievement. There are endless opportunities that are all united by the overall vision; to create a piece of jewellery that goes beyond.

The much-loved combination of string and precious stones is an intriguing one. Why do you think they complement each other so well?

MIKKEL: Shamballa Jewels, and especially the Shamballa Bracelet, came at the exact right time. Never before had such precious materials – diamonds, gemstones and 18K gold – been united on a humble thread through the ancient macramé braiding. It is an unexpected fusion and happens to be a very casual, understated look, that allows collectors to wear their piece of jewellery every day and at each and every occasion.

Shamballa Jewels Bracelet and Cufflinks

What inspires you?

MADS: There is no doubt, that our inspiration comes from the Far East and the philosophy they live by there, as well as the colours and aesthetics that characterises this part of the world. We then combine it with Nordic design traditions where we are fascinated by our ancestors within the world of design; the quality and craftsmanship, but also their eye for functionality – three keywords that have been important cornerstones of Shamballa Jewels from the beginning.

Where is your jewellery made?

MIKKEL: We are so fortunate that our flagship store, production and office are united as one in Copenhagen. Here, every piece of jewellery is braided, polished and quality-checked, giving us great flexibility across our departments.

Tell us about the jewels that on offer themselves…

MADS: Since the Shamballa Bracelet, we have expanded the repertoire to include necklaces, earrings, rings and cufflinks. Every piece of jewellery is made in 18K gold with diamonds and gemstones, that can be customised as the collector wishes.

All the collections have a bold, very distinctive design. Would you agree this an important part of your design philosophy?

MIKKEL: I think it has been important from the beginning to show the modern man that fine jewellery does not necessarily have to be small, posh pieces, so to say. They can also be masculine without being over the top, and they can characterise his personality the exact way he wants it to, either through different icons, symbols or colours.

Shamballa Jewels Necklace

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

MADS: There have been so many beautiful experiences and achievements along the way that it is impossible to pick out the greatest of them all. Having said that, opening our flagship stores in both Copenhagen and New York has got to be two of them. Seeing Karl Lagerfeld wearing our iconic Shamballa Bracelet, in full Colombian emeralds at one of his showsm, was also one that we won’t forget any time soon. I remember thinking to myself that very night, “We put colours on Karl – we did it.”

Where are your pieces available?

MIKKEL: Shamballa Jewels pieces can be bought at Frost of London, as well as in our two flagship stores in Copenhagen and New York.

How closely do you both work with your artisans?

MIKKEL: We rely on impeccable quality and excellence in craftsmanship. We have worked very closely with a team of highly skilled artisans for years, who know the brand and our standards inside out.

More at: www.shamballajewels.com