Not just a Certified Photo Organizer and storyteller, Caroline Guntur, as a Swedish Genealogist and Family Historian that has extensive knowledge of Scandinavian culture, traditions, and design, helps more people know about Nordic styles from all angles. Today, we are proud to bring the Nordic design insight of Caroline Guntur about Swedish Talisman jewelry.
Q: Could you share some of the best part of the culture and tradition in Scandinavia?
A: One of the things I really love about my country is that nothing is overcomplicated, and I think that reflects in everything that's designed in Sweden. We're highly efficient and don't reinvent the wheel every time we need something. We have our staples and they work. Is it slightly boring? Perhaps, but because there is great design and thought behind it, it feels OK. And it works in every aspect of life. A great example is the classic holiday meal of herring, potatoes, and eggs. Scandinavians eat this no matter what holiday it is, from Midsummer to Christmas, and everyone still loves it. It's tradition, so it's just expected that you serve it during any important holiday get-together. If you're going to someone's house on Easter, you know what you'll be eating. You know what you'll be wearing. It frees you up to care about more important things. Perhaps the word consistency sums it all up. We're reliable, dependable, consistent people, and we like our stuff that way too.
Q: Could you share with us some classic stories in Scandinavian Talisman Jewelry design history?
A: Scandinavian jewelry tends to be very simple and minimalistic, like most other things. This comes from the collective cultural attitude that sustainability and functionality are ideals, and the idea is that you don't need too much variety, just great quality in whatever you own. Swedish jewelry is often very sleek and simple in design, but that's what makes it beautiful. Nothing is overcomplicated or too busy. I think there is a strong emphasis on sophistication too. I find that Swedes don't give many gifts, but when they do, those gifts are well thought out and meaningful. It will be something you can get a lot of use out of throughout your life. As for Talisman, Viking brooch, Mjolnir thor, antler, clover, and Celtic coins are typical ones.
Q: What makes a Scandinavian design and what does Scandinavian/Nordic design actually mean?
A: Scandinavians value clean, simple, and sophisticated design, along with good quality and functionality, of course. To me, Nordic design means versatility in that your pieces can be used or worn for many different occasions, and easily dressed up or down. This goes for anything.
Q: How do you define Scandinavian fashion & beauty?
A: Less is more with this, I find. Natural beauty, minimal makeup, and simple clean lines on clothing is valued. Are there exceptions? Of course, but this is how I see it as a native Swede.
Q: In your perspective, what does all the Nordic design share in common, from IKEA to Volvo?
A: I'll go back to my earlier response on versatility because that is the one thing that ties everything together. Scandinavians want to be able to buy few things and used them throughout life, so if you buy a bookcase at IKEA, you can have it in a kids room, in a living room, in a hallway, or in a dining room, and it looks just a good in all of those places. That's why Nordic design is also very functional. People enjoy that flexibility and freedom to change things up. The same goes for clothing or jewelry. If I buy one great necklace, I'd appreciate being able to wear it at a wedding, a birthday party, or at a funeral. Being able to balance that is what Nordic designers are so great at, and why their products are so popular.
Q: It is told that there is a lot of meteorite debris found in Scandinavia, could you share some of the meteorite stories with us?
A: I haven't personally seen any meteorites fall in Scandinavia, but I know there have been a few instances of it. I think the most recent one landed sometime in November 2020 in the Uppsala area because I heard about that on the news. Overall, Scandinavia is a hotspot for finding all kinds of treasures, especially historical artifacts. My grandfather used to joke that every time he would plow a field, he'd uncover some sort of sacred Viking burial ground, and while he may have been exaggerating a bit, there is a fair amount of truth to the statement. It's not hard to find stuff because there's just so much of it, so it's more a matter of knowing who to call at what museum when you do.
Q: As it is known to all, the most attractive phenomenon in Scandinavia is the polar light, what is the best time and place to enjoy the amazing scene?
A: As long as the skies are clear, you can see the northern lights between August and April. It's not easy to spot anything in the south, so I would suggest heading to the northern parts of Scandinavia, or hop on a flight over to Iceland where you're much more likely to get a good show. If you visit Scandinavia during the summer, you can catch the Midnight Sun instead, which provides consecutive daylight in many places up north.
Q: Another interesting phenomenon is the polar day/polar night. Will the local people's life and work be greatly affected during those periods?
A: No, in the North people are used to all of that, and I quite enjoy it myself. You just have to make sure you remember what time it is!
Q: What is your recommendation on must-buys here for travellers?
A: A few must buys when travelling to Scandinavia are local food delicacies, like canned marmalade, cheese, salt, and chocolate. The food is always great no matter where in Scandinavia you travel. Wearables like jewelry and clothing are always a great investment too as well because like I have mentioned because it's usually of very high quality. It may cost a little more, but it will last you a lifetime.
Q: There is a saying that people in the Scandinavia are the happiest, do you agree with that, and why?
A: Generally speaking, yes, I do agree with that, and I can say that because I've lived in many places and gotten a glimpse of what life is like elsewhere. In Scandinavia, there is much more value placed on the human connection than on materialistic things, and I think that's because it's not a very capitalistic society overall. People value time with friends and family a lot, and you work to live, not the other way around. Scandinavia has got many of their priorities straight, even though we don't always get it 100% right. There is also a collective sense of working towards the greater good, which doesn't exist in many other places around the world. That has been my experience at least, but I can't speak for everyone. Every place on earth has its pros and cons, and the Nordic countries are no exception.