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Why I Love Danish Silver Jewellery Design

Posted February 21st, 2017 by Jane Burgett and filed under Dealer Corner

Pictured: Shepton International Antiques & Collectors Fair

Jane Burgett is a specialist in Georg Jensen and other Danish silver jewellery. She is a regular exhibitor at the IACF Antiques & Collectors Fairs, and she tells IACF's team member Grant Nicholas about her love of Danish jewellery design.

Georg Jensen - Bio

Born in 1866, Georg Jensen was the son of a knife grinder in the town of Raadvad just to the north of Copenhagen. Jensen began his training in goldsmithing at the age of 14 in Copenhagen. His apprenticeship with the firm Guldsmed Andersen, ended in 1884, and this freed young Georg to follow his artistic interests.

Jensen graduated in sculpture from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1892 and began exhibiting his work. Although his clay sculpture was well received, making a living as a fine artist proved difficult and he turned his skills to the applied arts. First as a modeller at the Bing & Grøndahl porcelain factory and, beginning in 1898, with a small pottery workshop he founded in partnership with Christian Petersen. 

In 1901, he abandoned ceramics and began again as a silversmith and designer with the master, Mogens Ballin. This led Jensen to make a landmark decision, when in 1904, he risked what small capital he had and opened his own little silversmithy at 36 Bredgade in Copenhagen.

Jane, tell me about your specialist area and what attracted you to it?

I specialise in Georg Jensen and other Danish silver jewellery. I absolutely love their designs - from early pieces at the start of the 1900 to the modernistic designs from the 1950s - 1970s. I am Danish, so I personally source most of my stock in Denmark, from dealers I have known for years.

What makes Georg Jensen so unique and such a collectable designer?

What makes the Georg Jensen "brand" so desirable is the quality and the huge range and variety of styles - right back from the start till present day, always ahead of their time and leading the way for others.

What kind of items might appeal to the entry-level collector?

For the new collector, maybe start with a little pendant or a nice ring, price ranging from £90 - £200.

Are there useful publications/websites/public collections that you can recommend?

The best book to start with is: 'Georg Jensen; A Tradition of Splendid Silver', by Janet Drucker, published by Schiffer.

Can you give some idea of the range of prices that collectors in this area might expect to pay?

Prices range from £60 to £1,000, but most is very affordable, in the lower £100s.

Pictured: Georg Jensen Heritage Collection Pendant

Georg Jensen started in 1904 and the company has since 1988 retailed the "Heritage" collection, which is an annual design taken from an old drawing by Georg Jensen. They make a pendant on a chain and earrings to match. The company still make a new version every year. I try to carry a good selection of these, and they would be in the lower price range at around £ 160.00 for a pendant (pictured above) or a pair of earrings. At the higher price range a lovely silver necklace (pictured below) would be around £ 1,200.00

Pictured: Georg Jensen Necklace by Harald Neilsen

Starting out, should would-be collectors go to fairs, auctions, specialist dealers - or take their chances online?

I think it's always best to go to a specialist dealer, as they will have the knowledge of their field and be more than happy to share that with a new collector, or an old friend!!

What are there traps and pitfalls to avoid?

With Georg Jensen pieces, it's best to see them and handle them as they always have a very special feel. And don't buy any items made in the USA! These were pieces made by American and Mexican silversmiths (under license) during and after the 2nd world war. And quite frankly do not meet the quality, or fetch the prices of the pieces made in Denmark by the company itself. They will usually have USA included on the back stamp.

Do you have a personal favourite item?

One of my favourite designers of the modern era is Vivianna Torun Bulow-Hube, who designed the iconic bangle watch in the 1960s, which I shall be bringing to the Fair at Ardingly on 7th & 8th March (pictured above).

Jane Burgett will be exhibiting at Ardingly International Antiques & Collectors Fair 7th & 8th March, and Shepton Antiques & Collectors Fair Friday 10th - Sun 12th March. Jane can be contacted on: jane.burgett@btinternet.com

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