Some time ago, I realized me and basically all of my friends standing on two legs. Such a realization, huh? And now I have to disappoint you – these legs are not the ones that you put your jeans on. But they still do take us from one place to another. Like from being a blacksmith to becoming a jewelry artist with 47 studded crowns. Yes, I am talking about the legs metaphorically here. I am talking about the principle of duality and about making differences match. Like does my dear friend from Estonia – jewelry designer (and wine drinker) Hans Kristian Mänd.
Hans Kristian, the floor is yours!
What personal and professional roads have led you to where you are now?
Actually, I wanted to study architecture, since at school I really liked drawing/ designing and those “hard” subjects like math. But destiny apparently had other plans for me and I ended up studying blacksmithing. From the very beginning, I found this kind of craftsmanship also being closely related to architecture (forging, fenceposts, decorative items, etc.). After my studies, I had to serve my duty in the Estonian Defence Forces. But during my free time there, I was making jewelry and rings for my friends though. Then, I also started to think about developing my own brand. And here I am at the moment, making jewelry based on my own vision, but also substantially influenced by various wishes of my customers.
What kind of language does your jewelry speak?
Brand HANS KRISTIAN jewelry speaks in the language of simplicity and uniqueness. Since I like minimalism and purity, this, accordingly, also passes on to the items I create.
Describe your jewelry brand in one sentence.
HANS KRISTIAN is a Scandinavian jewelry design brand that is characterized by classic minimalism and geometric harmony.
Is there any outstanding detail or an ongoing element that would distinguish HANS KRISTIAN from the crowd?
I am a blacksmith who became a jewelry artist willing to give a new and beautiful, as well as sometimes also colorful life to metal or wood.
Can you name the most favorite piece you have made? What is its story?
My most favorite piece would be a robust, full of metal necklace, that I have made as a present to a good friend of mine. This piece of jewelry is a metal wire connected to a bunch of forged nails. Therefore, it is not really wearable. Since it was made as a present for my friend’s 22nd birthday, it has 22 nails. The last – 22nd – the nail is made of Damascus steel (a multi-layered strong metal).
I am also very proud of 47 metal crowns with studs I have created for the Estonian fashion designer Ivo Nikkolo and his 2013 collection.
What kind of materials you are working with the most?
At the moment, precious metal and wood. In the future, I would like to expand the usage of different materials by adding stones and pearls but, also, to start forging more.
Do you stick to any strict rules of jewelry making from both technical and creative perspectives?
Technically, I follow the rules of how jewelry is “supposed” to be made, but in a creative way where are no specific rules (only the sky is the limit for me). Everything I do comes from my soul, heart, and “moments” of emotions. I get my inspiration from everyday events, communicating with people, and drinking wine.
Would you call jewelry crafting your passion, work, hobby, a way to express yourself, or it rather contains them all? Why?
As I have already said, I wanted to study architecture, but my fate has brought me to metal art, and I have fallen in love with it. At the moment, I can say that, first and foremost, designing jewelry is my passion and hobby that has gradually evolved into everyday work.
Do you see being from a small country as an advantage when working in your respective field?
In the big picture it doesn’t matter from how big or small country you are starting out, especially, when your future plans and ambitions are to expand your brand in the foreign markets. A smaller country though has its upside, less competition and it makes it easier to connect with the local audience.
Could you name any inspirational sources you rely on when crafting a new piece of jewelry?
I walk around with my eyes open and when a notice something inspiring (be it nature, city, streets, people), then, I think what kind of materials I have in my warehouse and according to that, I start figuring out the design and making sketches.
Do you consider yourself being an artist? Why?
I think I don’t consider myself an artist yet. I think of myself as more of a designer. I have been creating jewelry for HANS KRISTIAN brand, with the concept that they would be comfortable, resistant to wear and, also, meet the clients’ expectations. Being an artist means something else for me. I have participated in various projects of cooperation where I had made art, but for HANS KRISTIAN its main focus is on something else. In the nearest future, my plan is to continue expanding the brand of HANS KRISTIAN and start creating a bit more artistic jewelry.