The little Jutland town of Mariager is well-known for its cobbled streets, blooming summer roses and all-round idyl harking back to slower, gentler times. And, despite being in a time of shopping centres and superstores, Mariager’s independent shops are blooming due to their cooperation and ingenuity. One of those shops is the jewellery boutique Smykkedesigner Helga Winther, which has been a jewel in the crown of Mariager’s high street for the past 15 years, thanks to its warm service and ability to take any jewellery straight from your imagination and into your hands.

“Acquiring a piece of jewellery is a big commitment and should feel special,” says Helga Winther. “We’re very aware of that, and so we strive to make the occasion stand out from the moment our customers step inside the door.” With its decadent flower arrangements, massive mirrors and Baroque-style furniture, Winther’s shop is an adventure before one even starts to take in the treasures on display. “We’re closely connected to the local community, and though we all live in the modern world, of course, we wanted to reflect the relaxing, old-fashioned vibe from the street outside. Another aspect of the past that we’re very keen to channel in the shop is the devotion to attentive, personalised service; that’s what makes us really special, I think.”

The personalised service is key to Winther’s success and the reason that people from all across northern Europe seek out her boutique: for as little as 3,000DKK (350GBP) for a reworked ring, Winther and her colleagues will work closely with their customers to design and create exactly the piece of jewellery that they want, from wedding rings to opulent necklaces. “We invite clients in for a private face-to-face consultation upstairs, which takes as long or as short a time as is needed with that particular person,” Winther says. “We’ll draw out and sketch up various ideas and go through it all together, and we won’t stop until the client is happy. It’s a very rewarding and exciting process to get to know someone and be able to help them achieve something they’ve been dreaming about.”

The real value of jewellery

Every Monday and Tuesday, Winther and her team close the shop to focus on creating the jewellery, including the collections, such as the new guardian angel pendant series, which can be specially made or bought pre-made in store and from the web shop, which is just about to be launched. The skill and experience of Winther and her team, which includes a full-time goldsmith capable of creating virtually anything, allows them to experiment and play with all types of styles, gemstones and precious metals, as well as to restore and rework existing jewellery. Some things just need a bit of a polish and shine in order for their owner to want to wear them again, Winther explains, while other things, such as inherited pieces, may be a bit outdated and therefore not be used as enthusiastically as they should be. In those cases, the ring, bracelet or necklace can be transformed into something different, while retaining its soul and affective value.

“One very touching type of jewellery transformation happens when widows and widowers come in and request to have their own and their partner’s wedding rings made into necklaces or other pieces so that they can continue to wear the jewellery. We see people at their happiest or at their lowest,” Winther explains. “There’s usually a very high emotional value endowed within the piece, and it’s our greatest honour to ensure that it is expressed as well as possible in the restyled piece.”

Representing the community

When Queen Margrethe visited Mariager in 2017, Winther was asked to create a gift to be bestowed upon her on behalf of the municipality. “It was a great honour and a very exciting task to take on,” Winther recalls. “As everyone knows, the Queen loves history, so I created a silver brooch inspired by a recent archaeological discovery in the nearby town of Fjelsted. I was very happy with the result, and I believe that Queen Margrethe was too. I got to chat with her and tell her about the thought behind it. I hope she’ll be reminded of our beautiful community when she wears it.”

Mariager, known as the City of Roses, has become a hotspot for celebrations in recent years, thanks to the loveliness of the place in part, but not least thanks to the efforts of the local shopkeepers themselves, who have come together to make the place a mecca for brides and grooms-to-be in particular. “We’ve got all the businesses, locations and expertise needed to make the day just perfect for any kind of couple here, and on 16 to 17 March, we’re hosting a bridal forum with our neighbouring shop in our showroom, which is connected to the shop. We’ve got a commitment to each other in Mariager and an eagerness to put on a real display to show everyone else what we can do, so swing by!”

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