JENSEN: KEY JEWELRY FIGURE
Floral pin set with moonstone; sterling; signed Georg Jensen; Denmark; 1.63 inches; $312. Photo courtesy of Freeman's
A number of years ago, I was given an unusual sterling silver floral bracelet decorated in moonstones. The piece had real character, something a sculptor might create.
The name Georg Jensen stamped on the back meant little to me. But the piece intrigued me enough to dig further.
Turns out, jewelry designer Georg Jensen, actually began his career as a sculptor in early-20th century Denmark and started his silver making business there at age 37.
Today he is considered one of the most important silversmiths of the last few centuries.
At first, Jensen stuck to jewelry design because the financial investment was small compared to designing flatware and hollowware. He would sketch designs on a café napkin and then head to his studio.
It was said that Jensen never followed fashion. He created it. That’s probably why his jewelry is as fresh today as it was 70-years ago. His high quality craftsmanship stands as a model of Danish design. .
Jensen made jewelry for the middle class. As such, he worked in silver which was fairly inexpensive and used malachite, moonstones, amber and opals, also affordable.
His brooches, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces were miniature sculptures, elegant and simple, with clean lines. He brought leaves, grapes and flowers to plain silver, and his original pieces were hammered and embossed.
The detail was awesome, every piece made by hand. In the early day’s, he sold the jewelry right out of a drawer in his workshop.
Jensen attracted the best artists, painters, sculptors and architects to his studio and expanded production to include flatware and tableware. In the ‘20s and ‘30s, he opened additional shops in London and New York. Even after his death in 1935, the workshops continued to operate as they do today.
Nowadays Jensen silver bracelets and brooches are highly sought after. His Blossom coffee set and flatware are especially desirable.
Older examples of Jensen jewelry tend to be more carefully hallmarked and bear a deep tone of age that collector’s love. Jensen workshops never followed an organized system of marking, but hallmarks still serve as a reliable gauge of origin. Hallmarks and designs were altered for different markets in places like Ireland, France, England and America.
The older the better rule applies here. Can’t say I’ve ever seen Jensen’s older pieces go down in value.
But prices do vary depending on where you find them. When it comes to collecting Jensen jewelry, emotion often overshadows reason. There is a wealth of pieces and designers to explore and collect from vintage to contemporary.
On Nov. 18, Freeman’s in Philadelphia offered a selection of Jensen jewelry in its 20th century design auction. Here are some current values.
Pillbox; sterling; floral center pattern; marked G 1, Denmark; 2.65 inches diameter; $264.
Horsehead cuff links; sterling; signed Georg Jensen in oval bead medallion; Denmark; .74 inches diameter; $312.
Floral pin set with moonstone; sterling; signed Georg Jensen in oval bead medallion; Denmark; 1.63 inches diameter; $312.
Abstract pin; sterling; Chinese character in design; signed Georg Jensen in oval bead medallion; Denmark; 1.37 inches long; $336.
Heart-stamped pin; sterling; outline of a thread-mold heart surrounding twin leaping dolphins; signed Georg Jensen in oval bead medallion; Denmark; 1.68 inches wide; $450.
Flexible bracelet; sterling; matches choker below; alternating floral and oval rosette links; signed Georg Jensen; in oval bead medallion; Denmark; 7½ inches long; $600.
Choker; sterling; alternating floral and oval rosette links; signed Georg Jensen in oval bead medallion; Denmark; 10 inches long; $1,175.
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