For Håkan Orrling, the Changes collection is an everyday decision to oppose gun violence and seek a peaceful alternative—it just so happens that a rise in everyday violence and news of mass shootings are happening in such rapid succession that his jewelry has never felt more timely or important.
Arild Links, the jewelry brand Orrling cofounded with longtime friend Fredrik Ivansson, seeks to develop a more peaceful end to illegal guns, melting them down to turn them into jewelry. As Orrling puts it, their jewelry has a deeper meaning beyond its good looks. As the brand’s motto puts it: “Fine jewelry. Fine future.”
In recent weeks, Orrling and Arild Links have donated the proceeds from the Changes original bracelet in orange to Wear Orange, a U.S.-based organization that seeks to end gun violence. Orrling says he sought to do this hoping not only to make a statement against gun violence but also to boost knowledge of the brand’s overall effort to change the way the world views guns and how they can be used beyond the expected.
This is nothing new for Arild Links—Orrling donates 15% of the brand’s yearly revenue to organizations that seek to eliminate gun violence. He creates his work using Humanium Metal, which he defines as the material created from illegal firearms that were taken off of the streets and melted down for a new purpose.
“The organization IM developed the concept about seven years ago with the idea of reclaiming illegal weapons. Their goal is to seize as many illegal firearms taken off the streets as possible and melt into Humanium Metal for a new purpose,” Orrling says.
“Arild Links is the only jewelry brand in the world that has the right to buy the metal from IM, from which we then make jewelry,” Orrling continues. “Our jewelry is made from this resource and labeled with the symbol Hu.”
While some may avoid the hard discussions around gun violence, Orrling says he welcomes the conversations and hopes more people are willing to take a stand.
“A calm and loving behavior contributes to calm just as a smile is contagious. I think to arm oneself is to be fully prepared for an impending conflict and to be constantly ready to kill,” Orrling says. “I’m not naive, we know that unrest breeds anger, but I believe that a law that gives people the right to bear arms has no place in a modern society. I think it is completely reprehensible, and I think it must be banned now. We have the same problem in Sweden, albeit on a relatively small scale.”
The second-generation goldsmith and fine jewelry designer says he sees jewelry as an art form and a way to express the rising number of voices that seek peace and a better future. To date, Arlid Links has helped remove more than 12,000 illegal weapons from use through its jewelry production, Orrling says.
“We used transformed weapons of violence as a message for peace,” Orrling says. “To express oneself is the artist’s desire. A poet writes, a singer sings, and Picasso created paintings. I am a jewelry artist, and this is my expression at this moment: jewelry for change.”
Orrling designs his jewelry in Sweden, where he was born, and it is produced in Europe and sold all over the world. Along with the Changes collection, Arild Links also makes earrings, necklaces, and rings for all genders.
Gun violence will always be an issue, something Orrling innately understands. He says he hopes his efforts will show there is another way.
“One in 400 trillion are the odds for each one of us to be born and it’s a blessing to even exist. This is reason enough for me to go on, so choosing love over violence is for me not an active choice, but rather an act of survival just like the need to drink, eat, or sleep,” Orrling says. “It’s not only important now or this year; it’s always been important and will always be the most important relationship between people.”
Top: Arild Links created its Changes bracelet for people to wear as part of an everyday outfit as a statement against gun violence, and they are seeing more and more reasons for people to seek to support its mission, says cofounder Håkan Orrling (photos courtesy of Arild Links).
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