When men wear precious metals and gemstones, it is usually on the fingers or the wrist. But, would you like a piece of jewelry to balance on your nose?
It is the proposal of Lindberg, the Danish royal guaranteed eyeglasses specialist known for his highly designed minimalist frames. The brand was founded on the idea of making heavy optical instruments light: visually, with clean lines and austere designs, and physically, using titanium parts without screws or rivets. It’s new Precious Collection Raise the stakes with an abundance of riches: 18k solid gold settings, polished buffalo horn, platinum and diamonds.
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How, in this post-bling era, has an ultra-subtle Scandinavian design firm gone from functionality and sobriety to the height of opulence? Is the family brand upset after its takeover by luxury giant Kering? Not enough. Precious metals have been there from the start, says Nikolaj Schnoor, Lindberg CCO Robb Report. “Our titanium collection was the first eyewear revolution for 700 years. But the first mount was gold, not titanium. The first spiral folding hinge was made in gold because it was flexible enough. The brand’s very first frame, also an 18-karat coin, used gold for its functional and non-reactive properties, as in dentistry, rather than for gilding the face.
If design philosophy has always been important to Lindberg, so is choice. “Personalization was one of the core values from the start,” says Schnoor. “The glasses were very limited in terms of style, color and shape. We thought, “Let’s try to find an adjustable frame, colors and shapes. This was an original cornerstone of the design. We can make billions of combinations.
Precious frames are a natural evolution of this emphasis on choice. While there have always been gold frames, the options were very limited, says Schnoor. “Now it’s a complete collection,” he says, including white, yellow, red and rose gold, white and pink diamonds and a PVD coating. “We have our own in-house jewelers. And it’s still solid gold. Most other brands will veneer but it will tarnish. It’s all the way or nothing. As opulent as these designs are, Schnoor insists they’re not meant to be centerpieces, out of the box once a season. “It’s a collection of jewelry but for everyday, not just for the opera. We do not forget the lightness, the flexibility, the durability.
There is always a tension in luxury between making the best art and craftsmanship and extravagance for itself. “Danish design is generally not so opulent, it’s true. But it’s still underestimated. It’s like Patek, our frames follow the same sobriety design pattern. The Precious line is aimed more at the wearer than the observer, he continues. “A lot of our customers feel good about having gold, but they want to be low-key. A vivid example of this stealthy luxury is the black PVD coating offered on solid gold models: a low-key luxury that others miss. “We also offer a diamond setting in the nose bridge. For one client, we even returned the diamonds so that they were inside the temple.
Lindberg’s luxury line is certainly eye-catching on paper, but on the wearer it’s surprisingly understated, like the platinum watch which could, by far, be stainless steel. The shameless glitter is there if you want it to be, but there’s another way too: clean, precise, subtle, even when she’s staring you in the face.
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