The Royal Jewellers S04 ep2 : Shamballa Jewellery [Copenhagen]

Interview with Mikkel & Mads Kornerup

Shamballa Jewels have come up with a wonderfully imaginative and thoughtful design, inspired by the Buddhist prayer flags that dance in the wind above the Himalayas. Shamaballa Jewels have proved a roaring success and have found themselves planted on the wrists of an assortment of A-list celebrities since their launch in 2001. Gywneth Paltrow, Jay-Z and the amazing Diane Von Furstenburg are all big fans, and so am I! Danish brothers, Mads and Mikkel Kornerup, are responsible for giving us the irresistible Shamballa bracelet and a taste of the champagne lifestyle. However, the inspiration behind the creation of the jewels is one of spirituality and mythical concepts. Imagination fashioned into design; always worthy of a few extra noughts at the end of the price tag! Travelling across the world at the young age of 19, Mads Kornerup became fascinated with the brilliant world of Buddhism. The jewels, the yoga, the meditation became an inspiration that would one day create the fine jewellery of Shamballa.


Shamballa was a word I, came into contact with in New York and I didn't know what it meant, but I
loved the sound of it. And there was so much as my intuition knew that there was something
magical and secretive about this, word. 01:34

It comes from the regions of the Himalayas. It said that the King of Shamblas studied at an
ancient mediation technique that he then shared with his people. And at that time, three, four or
five thousand years ago, Assiterk teachings were not shared with commoners. But the king
defied this and so his little kingdom became this, the new utopia of people living in harmony
with each other, with love and compassion, which is ,you know, the mantra of the whole
Himalayan region today is, everything is about wisdom and love and compassion. 02:17

As Danish people, we brought up with speaking English, German, French, Swedish, Danish. I
think today some Russian and Chinese. We're explorers and that comes back from the Viking
blood. You know,we don't stay in our little country, we get out there, we get on the plane, we
get on the boat, we get on the train, we go out there,in the world to see what's happening and
whose there. And then I think you know, for our family we've been entrepreneurs and traders, so
that's what we have in the blood. 02:59

It was really due to these three year old Hippies that would take into the magic bus, whether it
was called from Coponeg and down to Afghanistan and into India and they were bringing back
all this traditional jewelry from there. All the young kids in Denmark were adorning
themselves, especially the guys. The Italians were doing it a little bit too, but not with the same
style. 03:29

Shamballa diamond bracelet

We decided we want to drive around America on holiday but since, and sell jewelry to all the
colleges. But then what happened is,we figured out that very quickly, that the mentality in
America is that the kids don't work, to make pocket money, as we do in Denmark. So the kids in
college didn't have any money.So that was a bad idea. We had a friend who wanted to move to
Paris and boom, boom, boom,coincidence, we had a store in Paris.04:04

I had picked the name Shambala and so, it just stuck on and at this time, we still really didn't
know the full meaning of Shambala,other than it was a beautiful name and slowly these monks
and rincochies and llamas, they started coming into the shop in Paris and which we later, two
years later we moved to New York. Paris was 93, 94 and New York was 94, 96. 04:37

I was assistant photographer and actually new in computers but he came and work with me
quite a bit on the sets, so we were assisting, background you had to change films all the time
and do the light readings, entertain the talents and at that time, there wasn't a lot of
photographers, there wasn't alot of assistants so, it was a very niche little thing and I was thrown
straight into the middle of it and Neville who came to New York to visit ,you know, he came
along. 05:12

Shamballa diamond bracelet

Already in, with the store in Paris, in 94 , it started getting serious and then I think I go to India
the first time in 96, 97 and I start changing, Alot of the North African anklets, the heavy, heavy
Bur Bur and Ethiopian anklets and Indian anklets, I started making them into bangles. So I
would downsize a big anklet to a bangle.Would change the size of the chains because we were
in America and everybody was big. So the little hand braided snake chains and - chains we had
them enlarged. So the essence was always antique jewelry that was bought at antique shows and
at fairs and then it was altered. The inspiration from CatmanDucibi was so overwhelming that I
started translating those elements and embedding them in the jewelry. 06:21

Mickle takes care of the finances, the H&R, the product development and I take care of sales
and marketing and design. Now we've grown alot.We've becoming a big company, we're
worldwide, you know the brand is known worldwide now so, it was just the two of us seven
years ago and that was it, you know, our first employee,she knocked the door herself and said,
"I'm coming to work with you guys, we said," no, no," we, we you know, we going to lunch
now,cause we sold the bracelet every week and we're happy.07:05

We changed everything from silver into gold. It all boil back in 98. So that was clean cut. In
2001, that was the big introduction of the whole gold collection that was based on the thunder
balls. Think I drew the logo and yea in 96, 97, and it was inspired by the cross and the ball. So
the logo ended being the star of Shambala, which just like the name, has created its own magic,
its own power. I mean people really drawn in by this star symbol. There's never been anything
called a Shambala bracelet before. You know, there's never been a star of Shambala before but
the two of them had become these crazy, world known icons. The star of Shambalan, the
Shambala bracelet, people think that this is something that existed for thousands of years. 08:02

It's a mixture of the Nordic and the Himalaya way of thinking of designing and putting that into
the jewelry and putting that into the Himalayan philosophy. I see it as cleaning, you know,
cleaning the exilic I, you keep the spiritual part of it, you keep the energy,you keep the stories
but the look. I think that the fusion of the ethnic Himalayan and the clean Danish, that's the
fusion that we've made.08:38

Everything is based on luck and coincidences.If you don't visualize it, you know, if you don't
invite it, it doesn't happen. So of course we're always inviting it to come and happen to us and
of we're open a bit for it to happen. 08:59

Shamballa diamond bracelet

In Denmark, a most famous jeweler,Mr. Hartman, whose kind of the Skavinarian, Harry
Winston,one of his clients fell in love with our diamond bracelets and so he became involved in
assessing if it was worth the investment for his client to buy it. And in that process, he became
involved in producing and he became involved in buying diamonds for us and in advising us
and assisting us, and slowly diamondizing all the jewelry, because it was very heavy.
goldjewelry and it was for men.I mean it's for men, we'd never design jewelry for women. 09:45

He financed the first million dollars and said, "guys, I believe in you, here is merchandise, go
sell it and when you've sold it,you pay me." And that, you know, was our ticket also and once
we put the diamonds in there, starting with our mother, she's like: I could wear one of those and
slowly then the women were like; you've got diamonds, we like diamonds. Can we see that?
And I'm like, no, no, it's for men, its men's jewelry. It's not women's company, this is the men's
and slowly a quest, now women are 70 % of our best buyer.10:27

The elements are all the beads. It really all comes back to the main element, which were well-
known for, it's the beads. So it's all the aspects of, gold beads, diamond beads, precious stones
beads, I think a big part of our success, is that our bracelets are customizable and we deliver
them within a week or two. So of course, all our employees customize their own pieces that
they wear and in that process, we create designs. 11:04

Shamballa diamond bracelet royal

What we really like to do is to get customer to get in on the design of a bracelet. So in some,
way there are co-designer, even if it's only the thread they chose the color on or they chose
where to put the beads, or what beads go into the bracelet.11:32

It's something that's embedded in us, to adorn ourselves and men, for thousands of years have
been doing it. For the last hundred years, the suit and the watch has slowly kind of pushed out
bracelets, rings, necklaces. You know, this is how we create crazy tribal dress. You know we
have to wear the uniform and within the year can become a little bit tribal again. So you can
wear the jewelry even though thatyou're all dressed up and wearing a suit. Nowadays when
people wear jewelry, they want to wear something that reminds them of something.We try to
incorporate alot of symbols in the bracelet, like the star of Shambala or a letters or transcript
letter, to,so people remind themselves of their loved ones. 12:31

It was all thought as a Mantra. You know, the Malays, the Buddhist, they recite their Mantras on
money, but more money would be bead. That was reallythe initial inspiration. That was the
project to begin with. Then it became a bracelet.And then the Mackra, god added to frame to
each bead and be able to give it more color and diversity. And I think that whole thing about
connecting a mantra to what you wearing, my bracelet contains the name of my youngest and
my oldest and my youngest son; Storm and North.And yours has the initial of your kids. And
we encourage the clients to put something that means something to them into the bracelet,
because the first bracelet was actually custom order for Jay-Z in 2001, and I interviewed him
and said so what means something to you and at that time he didn't have a girlfriend and his
life was the Rock Wear organization. So I did the Rock wear logo for him, I did his initials
Shawn Carter,(S.S.C), I did his star sign and then I did two balls with half karat diamonds. So
these were the things at that time, meant something to him. You know the lady's thing that we
talking, about is of course is having Beyoncé and Skype Lew's daughter.14:04

Recently, I, we found out that Dian von Furstonburg have received a gift from her son, that she
had been wearing the last six months, beautiful bracelet. And last month, I was in Los Angeles
and she was having a big private garden party for the Oscars. But I never met her and kind of
felt that , you know, if she wears the bracelet, then of course I should be invited to the garden
party. So we went to the garden party and a we kind of said to the security that you know, we
were invited. and we were not on the list, and for some coincidental reason the headsets didn't
work and the woman looked at us and we were wear in very. very nice clothing and so she let
us in. And I go into the garden of Dian Fironburg and another girl from the industry, brings her
over and saysthis is Matt, who's actually the designer of your bracelet and she go, sit down and
we sit and we talked and her daughter-in-law and her grandchild comes over and I have a
couple bracelets in my bad and she actually picks a bracelet and buys a bracelet for the
granddaughter and we start talking and back and forth about business and life and then she goes,
who invited you? and I go,you didn't, nobody and she looked at me she said nobody, but I
looked at her and said, but I really wanted to come and then she started laughing. 15:48