Celebrating: “Homo sapiens”

1996 is not only the year that Efva Attling started her jewellery brand, she also designed one of her most iconic pieces – the “Homo Sapiens Necklace”. in connection with our 25th anniversary, we get to take part of a surprising story about the necklace worn by none other than Madonna.
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  3. Celebrating: “Homo Sapiens”

“I got a great idea. If I divide the word ‘Homo Sapiens’, which means the knowing man in Latin, and punches the words on the side of two silver tags, and then ties a black leather strap in the loop of the tag ... Naturally with a durable knot, ‘Half stroke around own part’. It would be a cool necklace with a strong message – that we all humans have the same value.” – Efva Attling

In 1996, one of Efva's first pieces of jewellery, the Homo sapiens necklace, was launched. It has become a popular and classic piece of jewellery that many people associate with the brand. An iconic piece that with its simple design contributes with a powerful message that is still just as relevant to talk about. In connection to our 25th anniversary, Efva shares a most unexpected story about the Homo sapiens necklace.

“I was invited home to a friend to watch Johan Renck’s brand-new music video for Madonna’s song ‘Nothing really matters‘” Efva says. “Johan was about to fly to LA for the MTV Awards and meet Madonna the very next day. I had just started my new life as a jewellery designer and asked Johan if he wanted to bring some pieces of jewellery to Madonna, the Homo Sapiens necklace and the Human ring.”

“A few months later Johan called and told me that she liked my pieces of jewellery and that she had worn them at a photoshoot. I was happy of course. That summer I stood in the kitchen in our country house and flipped through the American fashion magazine “W”, and who was sitting in the lap of a young good-looking actor if not Madonna. With my Homo Sapiens around her neck. I saw that the necklace was tied a bit loose with only a single knot, oh no. The text said that Madonna had been dancing all night.”


“One day when I was in my studio, the phone rang – it was Madonna's assistant. She wondered if Madonna could get another Homo Sapiens necklace because she had lost hers. I even think I know when it happened... Of course I sent her a new one. A new phone call came sometime later. This time from a Norwegian journalist who had seen Madonna in a Max Factor commercial on television. And she had both the Homo Sapiens necklace and my Human ring! She actually promoted a lipstick, but when she touched the necklace and said “It's beautiful”, it could just as well be an ad for Homo Sapiens. The rest is history… thank you Madonna!” Efva says smiling.

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