Located in between Hvolsvöllur (east) and Selfoss (west) is the small town of Hella, southern Iceland, 58 miles east from Reykjavik. As of 2021 it only had a population of 942 people, so why does such a tiny place in the world inspire our Hella gold star and Hella silver star pendants Read on to find out...
A short history
The geographical land that became Hella formed around 11000 years ago after the last ice age with prehistoric rivers creating what are now small valleys in otherwise flat terrain, says funbiceland.
The first settlers who came to Hella were reportedly Irish Monks who lived in the caves nearby. A great source of salmon, Ytri-Ranga (still a popular fishing spot today) provided food. The town was officially founded in 1927, writes guidetoiceland, with Icelander Þorsteinn Björnsson building its first store by the bridge over the river in Gaddstaðaflatir.
Today, the town sits on Hringvegur known as ‘’Route 1’, a national road that famously loops around the whole of the country connecting all major dwellings. Hella has become increasingly popular for tourists who flock to see the Northern Lights and bright stars on a clear night.
Hella has a special place in Aquila’s heart due to our copywriter Clare getting married there under a small, locally known waterfall not too far from Hella.
The wedding party stayed at the Stracta Hotel, the ideal spot for stargazing and one of the best in the area to spot the aurora.
Whilst it was summer when the wedding took place and the aurora wasn’t seen during our short stay, clear skies allowed for a breathtaking amount of stars to be seen at night time.
You can spot the stars and the aurora at their brightest during November, December and January if you are happy to brave the elements. Northern Lights tours run from September and April.
This dense network of stars acted as inspiration for the Hella Gold Star Necklace and its silver counterpart.The midnight black skies of Hella are reflected in the black Meena work that fills the hand carved star shape on the pendant. The star shape itself came from any and every one of the hundreds of thousands of stars that shine in the Icelandic skies with the added sparkle of the Northern Lights.
The necklace’s lightly hammered circular pendant disk comes from the moon with its full appearance telling those who are spiritual that rest and relaxation are important when the moon is full. The warm glow of the 9ct gold vermeil and the bright lustre of the 925 sterling silver can be compared to the shimmering gleam of the stars and the aurora.
This kind of sentimental handmade pendant is the perfect Christmas gift for someone you love for a long lasting, durable piece of unique jewellery that celebrates nature’s beauty.
What to buy
With Hella being so small, the only shop to visit is the family run Litla Lopasjoppan where you can buy locally made wool hats, scarves, mittens, traditional Icelandic jumpers and some smaller gifts. When it comes to Iceland in general you might find that investing in a few locally made items is enough - the price and quality means you won’t need much else.
What to visit
Depending on the season you go there are a large number of outdoor activities to enjoy in Hella and the surrounding areas. Gamla Laugin or ‘The Secret Lagoon’ is a man-made pool 33 miles northeast of Hella. It is the oldest of its kind in the country and filled with natural hot springs made in the nearby geothermal area of Hverahólmi close to the village of Flúðir.
Head further south (21.3 miles to be exact) to the dynamic waterfall of Seljalandsfoss and take in the sheer scale and power of nature at work.
If tours are your thing or you want some group travel/pre arranged activities try Reykjavik-based wedding, event and activity planners Pink iceland like we did!
An example is a tour of the Caves of Hella, a set of mysterious caves with a rich history that offers seasonal tours right next to Hella, located on a family farm. Walk through the wide doorways and look up at the tall steepled ceilings in this unusual piece of human creation.
Vik is 57.7 miles south of Hella and home to Reynisfjarna, the famous volcanic black rock beach which is too incredible to miss. Seeing is believing as watching the waves crash with black sand under your feet is almost like being on another planet.
So there you have it! A little story from Aquila about why Hella is special to us and how it became the namesake for our pendant range.
Interested in more gold jewellery pieces to add to your collection? Read some more travel stories with our gold range.