Stockholm-born Efva Attling is quite the jack-of-all-trades: model, pop star, and designer—of jewelry and other accessories as well.
Attling started training to be a silversmith at 16 under the tutelage of fellow Swede and silversmith Bengt Liljedahl. But at 17, Attling was discovered by Eileen Ford, and launched a 12-year-long modeling career. Afterwards, she spent time as a fashion editor for a Swedish magazine, and as a pop star in the girl band the X Models, even composing the band’s 1980s hit ballad “Two of Us.” Then in a serendipitous meeting with a friend, she tagged along to a jewelry class 27 years after her first one, thus rekindling her passion for design. Efva Attling Jewelry launched 13 years ago in Sweden, has garnered a following in surrounding Scandinavian countries, and is just now entering the U.S. market. Her niche? “I put life thoughts on jewelry to boost the confidence of young girls,” she tells JCK.
Jewelry designer Efva Attling
JCK: Describe your signature style and design process.
Efva Attling: Being an ex-model and ex–pop star, I like to express myself, so I make jewelry with stories, with meaning. I’m a word person. My styles are simple but heavy, and almost always have an expression on them; I call it ”Beauty with a Thought.” Each piece has a name and story behind it. But not everything is in English—like my F**k Off ring, made with the paparazzi in mind—that would be too obvious. I use Latin like in my Carpe Diem necklace, which is one of my best sellers, or braille to spell Make Love Not War on a dog tag necklace. One family who lost their father and husband all bought my rings inscribed Think of Me and wear them in solidarity with one another. But some expressions are hidden, or not just not inscribed, such as my Happy Tears jewelry, which I made for a former bandmate who was diagnosed with MS, and refers to all the times we laughed together until we cried. We have only one life, and I want to boost people through the messages in my jewelry.
JCK: What else do you design other than jewelry?
EA: I’ve designed clothes for Levi’s and H&M, eyewear for Scandinavian Eyewear, crystal glass for Orrefors, and a trophy for the Swedish Grammy awards. I’ve also designed handbags.
JCK: Do you make all your own findings and components?
EA: It depends on the piece. I have an atelier in Sweden with a goldsmith who is my “second brain,” but I do the final filing and still sit at the bench, in addition to sketching my pieces prior to design.
JCK: Where is your jewelry made?
EA: My jewelry is made in Italy and Sweden, and the bigger pieces are made in Estonia because they do them so well.
JCK: What materials do you work in?
EA: My jewelry is a 60/40 mix of silver and 18k gold. I also make a bridal and men’s line. I love to work with diamonds, topaz, amethyst, and morganite, as well as rock crystal because it’s beautiful and affordable.
JCK: How many accounts do you have?
EA: I have 200 worldwide (95 of which are in Sweden), and I just got my first U.S. wholesale order with a store in Colorado. I also have my own store on Little West 12th Street in New York City, as well as four in Sweden, one in Norway, and one in Finland.
JCK: What trade shows do you exhibit in?
EA: Couture in Las Vegas will be my first this year, outside of the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair in Denmark.
JCK: What is your starting retail price?
EA: In silver, we start at $125. In 18k gold, prices start at $500. Bridal rings (with diamond center stones) start at $1,255.