Dangling chandelier and drop earrings, necklaces and bracelets, anklets, belly and waist chains made of hand-beaten and sterling silver from Northern Thailand, natural, all-nacre Keishi, Tahitian and South Sea fresh water pearls, and semi-precious stones – these are one of a kind elegant handmade jewelry that Annika Franzen is known for.
This forty something Nordic beauty has been calling Boracay her home for the past twenty years, churning out exquisite pieces from a Mediterranean inspired house that also doubles as her design studio, and selling them under the label “Angel Network.”
She recounts: “I was 19 in 1981 when I left Sweden to see the world. At one time, I was detained in Bali, Indonesia, for overstaying, and somehow, since it coincided with election time, I was forgotten and abandoned in detention.”
She was almost delusional when small children she considers as “angels” found her and saved her from dying of thirst and starvation.
She first set foot in Boracay in 1984 where she met Jose Ramon Gutierrez Villa whom she fondly calls Josera, son of a Spanish government official who had come from Madrid to visit relatives in Manila. What followed was a whirlwind romance that resulted in a sunset wedding along DiniwidBeach which was then virtually uninhabited. The couple started an import-export business in clothes and jewelry and opened a bar in Boracay, Hotel California, just across where their house in TulubhanBeach, which they built themselves, still stands.
Sadly, the happiest years in Franzen’s life did not last long when Josera suddenly passed away in 1992 on the island paradise.
She put herself back together with art – painting, sculpture, jewelry design, interior design – as her therapies and decided to stay put on the island.
While sauntering around D’Mall in the center of Boracay’s WhiteBeach in 2002, Franzen met a lady she only remembers as “Peachy” who profusely complimented her on the necklace she wore. This nudged her to transform her jewelry-making hobby into a business. Today, her clientele base has grown to include ten countries in Europe, Asia and the US. Those interested may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos of jewelry: Walden Villapando
Photo of model: Jun Pasa
Model & stylist: Celeste Patrice L. Capulong