Georg Jensen — the ultimate in Scandinavian jewellery design
Scandinavian Jewellery Design by Georg Jensen
Georg Jensen was the son of a knife grinder in Copenhagen, who began his training as a goldsmith aged 14 in 1880. After a four-year apprenticeship, he returned to his first love, sculpture, and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. But since he could not make a living modelling and potting and producing ceramics, he went back to silversmithing and combined the two talents. In 1904 he opened his own shop.
For more than 100 years Georg Jensen has been at the forefront of Scandinavian design by tirelessly challenging the established conventions of the design category itself.
By the end of the 1920s he had shops in Berlin, London and New York. Most of his work was hallmarked with the year and GJ, but his designers also had their own brand signs.
The ultimate in Scandinavian design, Georg Jensen’s beautifully crafted fine jewellery is both timeless and contemporary.
In Jensen’s earliest work, the silver, ranged from 826 to 830 to 925 (sterling), but after1933 he only used sterling, so this is one way to date early pieces.
The company embraces a design ethos similar to the Bauhaus — devoting attention equally to functionality and beauty.
Jensen’s work tended to be naturalistic and Art Deco in style, but his designer Sigvard Bernadotte was more geometric and abstract, and another, Johan Rhode, was more mathematical and rigorous. More recently the company teamed up with Mark Newson and Zaha Hadid to produce limited edition collections.
The Jensen silversmith shop also made cutlery and hollowware
During the silver shortages of the Second World War, Jensen designers created a line called jernsølv in ‘iron silver’, using patinated iron for the central part of a piece and silver or gold as an inlay.
Hammer marks are a unique part of what the house does. A lot of people at the time were polishing out the hammer marks to make the surface completely smooth, but in Jensen’s world, the hammer marks are almost a reference to the hand of ceramics, and to Scandinavian light.
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