Naturalistic and Modernist
Georg Jensen (1866-1935) created silver jewellery for the Danish middle classes that found international acclaim. He went on to employ ground-breaking designers whose work is still considered to be contemporary many decades later.
Jensen trained as a sculptor and goldsmith before working for the artist and metalworker Mogens Ballin, a leading figure in the skonvirke (“beautiful work”) movement that had ties to the Arts & Crafts movement and flourished from c.1890 until World War II. The simple, rounded shapes popular with skonvirke designers can be seen in Jensen’s jewellery.
In 1904 he opened his own workshop in Copenhagen and exhibited silver jewellery at the Danish Museum of Decorative Art. These pieces received international acclaim and, by the time he died in 1935, Jensen had showrooms in several major European cities, including London, Paris and Berlin, as well as New York.
Jensen jewellery – as well as his flatware – was relatively expensive, despite being mass-produced, and vintage pieces are relatively common.
Pieces designed by Jensen himself tend to feature naturalistic motifs, depicted in finely executed relief modelling. Pieces may be set with cabochon semi-precious stones such as moonstones, chalcedony, amber and cornelian.
Pieces were also created in the Art Deco style and Modernist style before and after World War II.
The Jensen workshop employed many designers including Henning Koppel (1918-81) whose biomorphic designs from the 1950s and 60s continue to be made today.
The company also employed Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe (1927-2004) whose designs featuring quartz and rock crystal were inspired by Viking neckbands. Her customers included Brigitte Bardot, Ingrid Bergmann and Pablo Picasso.
Other designers include Harald Nielsen, Johan Rhode, Sigvard Bernadotte, Arne Jacobsen, Jacqueline Rabun and Søren Georg Jensen.
Georg Jensen jewellery is usually marked with the company name, the initials of the designer and a design number.