Her atelier and jewellery designs share the same resolved marriage between aesthetics and functionality. Rebekka Notkin has always wanted to become a goldsmith and through her passion and dedication, her dreams came true.
By Theresa Valbæk
Gold, silver and gemstones enjoy a perfect setting in Rebekka Notkin’s bright and airy atelier with its amazing old goldsmith’s tools. Beauty rules in the inviting downtown boutique where she has welcomed her clients since early 2009. And there is more to her designs than aesthetics, according to the goldsmith: “I’m very preoccupied with the relationship between aesthetics and function and how it can evolve in new ways. My designs have no superfluous ornamentation. They’re a symphony of luxurious gemstones and precious metals.”
Magic of history
Rebekka Notkin is particularly inspired by how history and culture has influenced jewellery design throughout the ages, be this in gifts of affection, objects of trade, part of a garment, or symbols of knowledge, power, wealth or beauty. “I am inspired by the magic that surrounds jewellery and gemstones in a historical perspective,” she says. “The symbolic value of a jewel relates a unique story that can either be personal or cultural in character. Jewels represent their times, a trend or art movement. They are inspiring because they offer so many layers of history and culture.”
Rebekka Notkin’s style icons include some of the greatest names of the twentieth century: “My style icons are Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor. Jackie Kennedy for the subdued elegance of her exclusive jewellery, Elizabeth Taylor for her passion for ostentatious gemstones.”
Creating a jewel
Being a jewellery designer is a natural part of Rebekka Notkin’s life: “New ideas can pop up anywhere and at any time. I am very passionate about my work and to me the border between work and leisure is quite fluid. That is why I always have a sketchbook in my bag to jot down my thoughts and ideas,” she says.
Rebekka Notkin then turns her ideas into refined designs; sketches become working models and materials are selected. Precious metals are pliable, allowing you to shape them by hand using a number of different tools. The metals are often heated to retain their pliability while soldering the different part and shaping the claws or channel settings to hold the gemstones. The joints are then refined with a file and sandpaper before the process is concluded by polishing the jewel to bring out its lustre.
Rebekka Notkin graduated as a goldsmith in 1996 and opened her first boutique and atelier in 1997 in Fortunstræde, Copenhagen. She inherited her passionate approach to craftsmanship from her father and grandfather. Her father was a goldsmith by profession, whereas her grandfather was a dental technician. And her collection of tools includes those inherited from both her ancestors.
“For as long as I can remember I have always been attracted to jewels, pearls and gemstones, and as a child I was always absorbed with creating jewels and dresses for my Barbie dolls. Inspired by my father, I decided very early on to become a goldsmith and took and completed my apprenticeship in the traditional way.”
Rebekka Notkin has never regretted her decision for a moment: “It’s fantastic to be a goldsmith and to create beautiful jewellery. I value the personal contact with the clients greatly … Being a goldsmith makes you quite vulnerable since each creation is very personal. I view meeting my clients as a private, confidential experience and a way to learn about the special value my designs are given through the stories and occasions that bring the client to me. That’s quite fantastic and very good. And that’s why I give a lot of emphasis to meeting my clients in a very welcoming and personal ambiance.”
In 2009, Rebekka Notkin was ready to take a great step forward and open her atelier and boutique in downtown Copenhagen salons, which were once part of the illustrious Bruun Rasmussen auction house. In fact, she’s never been afraid of competition: “It’s definitely a business with stiff competition, but what drives me is my passion and commitment. I have plenty of dreams and ambitions and over the years I’ve achieved an amazing following of loyal clients.”
Rebekka Notkin hopes her jewellery will eventually become wider known internationally.
“My dreams and ambition is to continue developing my business, both artistically and commercially, with an international outlook. A lot of positive things have happened over the last year, despite the economic turndown. I have spent time on developing my business to create a good platform for the future, and this has already proven to be a good investment.”
Rebekka Notkin’s boutique on Bredgade showcases her own bespoke designs and unique collections, including her favourite, the Silhouettes Collection, from 2008, which includes the beautifully handcrafted braided leather bracelet ‘Oregon’ and the fine signet ring design ‘Moment’.