Skin friendly jewellery is our passion
The 35 dedicated employees at Blomdahl consider the notion of "suffering for beauty" to be rather insane.
– Why should you have to risk your health for the sake of beauty? Everyone should be able to wear beautiful jewellery without having to worry about for example nickel allergy. That is why our jewellery always will be both beautiful and safe to wear.
These are the words of Karl Blomdahl, founder of Blomdahl Medical, a Swedish company that designs and manufactures skin friendly jewellery and medical instruments for ear and nose piercing.
Making beautiful jewellery is a complicated art. Making beautiful jewellery that takes into account the wearers' health is even harder.
– Sometimes it feels as if we are making the impossible happen, says Karl.
In 1985 Karl began working with his father, Lars Blomdahl, in the small family business in Halmstad. Their innovations stemmed partly from Lars' background within medical technology, and partly from two of the major medical concerns at the time; nickel allergy and HIV.
Sitting at the kitchen table, they developed the first ear piercing jewellery from plastic of pure medical quality, guaranteed to be completely nickel free.
But nickel allergy was not the only risk facing those who wanted to have their ears pierced during the 1980s. Lars and Karl saw major flaws in the existing ear piercing techniques and found that there should be a way to avoid the spread of blood borne infections, such as HIV and hepatitis B.
Using the health care industry as role model, they came to develop a new, safe and hygienic ear piercing technique; Blomdahl Medical Ear Piercing.
Blomdahl became the first in the world to launch a sterile, disposable cassette containing a sterile ear piercing earring with earring back.
– We have always been creative and made sure to stay far ahead of our time. Sometimes even a little too far ahead, says Karl.
From the very beginning, Blomdahl has been about both style and safety.
The jewellery should be both beautiful and "friendly" to wearers' skin and health. This is something that requires ambitious product development, precision and independent quality controls.
– Not everyone succeeds, but ends up compromising with skin friendliness in order to keep the costs down. This is something we will never do, says Karl.
Blomdahl often sets higher standards for themselves than the law actually requires. For example, they have chosen to get certified for the manufacturing of medical devices in accordance with ISO 13485, even though they do not legally have to.
With the help of, among others, dermatologists at Skåne University Hospital in Malmö, Sweden, they keep themselves informed about safe materials and stay ahead of the law when it comes to protecting the consumer.
Besides nickel and other substances that can cause contact allergy, they also make sure to avoid toxic and carcinogenic substances, such as cadmium, lead and formaldehyde, phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA). Consequently Blomdahl's earrings are today made out of carefully selected plastic and titanium of pure medical quality.
Having the right people in the right place is imperative to the successful implementation of Blomdahl's high ideals.
The family business has 35 employees, all of which contribute with their individual knowledge and commitment.
– Power comes from within. We love beautiful jewellery and are proud to be able to make a difference. This is something we are reminded of every time a client thanks us for finally being able to wear earrings without any trouble, says Nina Andersson, CEO of the company.
The staff consists mainly of women, many of whom are also parents and/or suffer from nickel allergy. The whole of Blomdahl's target group are more or less represented within the company. When ideas and new jewellery models are to be tested, staff and their families are able to provide valuable feedback.
– Our children and youths are our toughest critics, so there is nothing that makes us happier than when they like our designs, says Nina.
Blomdahl's designs are classic and stylish. The earring models range from a small elegant pearl or stone, to more playful shapes, like hearts and flowers. Whatever the shape and colour, all the components that come into contact with the skin must be guaranteed skin friendly. That requires a lot of handwork and precision. For example, the coating - available in the colours gold, silver and black - is applied only to the parts of the earring that do not come into close contact with the skin.
– Within the world of jewellery, this is something very unique. It is also very costly. But we are continuously driven by the conviction that our work is important, that it makes a big difference to many people's health, today and in the future, says Karl Blomdahl.