From Trollbeads to Troll beads to giant sized California Trollbead,Taking the world of jewellery making by storm, Trollbeads emerged in 1976 in a small jewellers shop in Copenhagen, and have since become one of the most covetable, collectable and ubiquitously worn items of jewellery ever to be made. The first Trollbead was designed by silversmith Søren Nielsen, which consisted of a small silver bead with six faces, each with a different expression. Because of the “troll-like” features of the face (Trolls frequently also appear in Danish Folklore), the beads became known as Troll beads. The beads have since become immensely popular due in part to their versatility (The beads can be interchanged on the bracelet they are strung onto), but Nielsen was quick to discover just how many possibilities Trollbeads had to offer: “Their intention was to tell a story and facilitate communication between people. More than 30 years have passed since I began and new Trollbeads keep coming. Trolls, stories, mythology and other cultures are often my inspiration." The Nielsen-Aagaard family still work closely together to produce Troll beads even to this day –Lise Aagaard, Søren Nielsen’s sister, is in charge of shipping and distribution. In 1987, it was Lise who opened a sister store in Lyngby, and who later began shipping the beads to buyers the world over. The following year, Aagaard introduced the use of Murano glass into the making of the beads, which were originally made by glass blown in an 800 degree flame.
The eighties also saw a change in the design of the bracelet which would revolutionise jewellery making as a whole –the introduction of a removable lock, like many aspects of the company, was a seemingly minor alteration in design which produced huge changes for the company. Soon customers realised the cult potential of Troll beads –they were no longer quirky, funny little pieces of jewellery made in the Netherlands –they were changing the way people wore jewellery forever. In addition, a stopper or spacer Trollbead could be placed between beads on the bracelet to stop larger beads from falling off and to add a neater effect to bracelets containing one or two beads.
Since the company’s inception in the seventies, beads have been made in a variety of different materials. Apart from the silver and Murano glass versions, there have also been beads made from gold, precious and semi precious stones. The silver and gold versions continue to be highly popular, largely due to their potential to be formed into an endless variety of different shapes, colours and sizes. In a similar sense to traditional charm bracelets then, a Trollbead could be given to the wearer signifying a special occasion such as an anniversary, a birthday, or a bead could be given denoting a particular passion or hobby the wearer might have.
Over the past three decades, the company has spearheaded new concepts in design and jewellery making, demonstrating again and again how tiny design ideas really can blossom into something extraordinary –not unlike the first bead created, back in 1976.