Georg Jensen (1866-1935, often misspelled George Jensen) was a Danish silversmith who started the Copenhagen-based company that still bears his name in 1904. Although he trained as a goldsmith from 1880-1884, Jensen was initially intent on being a sculptor and ceramist. That pursuit occupied him until 1901, when he took a post with acclaimed Arts and Crafts silversmith Mogens Ballin.

Ballin encouraged Jensen to follow his instincts, which shaded to the natural order and balanced, organic embellishment of Art Nouveau. Jensen had profound respect for his chosen material, so much so that he insisted on creating not just stunning pieces (rings, brooches, cufflinks, earrings, pendants, bracelets) but an entirely new tradition of silver craftsmanship. In that respect, he appears to have learned a thing or two from Ballin.

Most of Jensen’s first silver jewelry pieces featured flowers, bunches of grapes, birds, and other animals. Jensen’s silver was hammered to create a pebbled surface, then oxidized to give his designs depth and distinctive tints. Semi-precious, often locally quarried stones such as agate, amber, opals, and malachite were also used, but sparingly. Some pieces were formed from 18-karat gold, but for Jensen, silver was his main medium.

For collectors, an important aspect of Jensen’s earliest work is the fineness of the silver, which varied from 826 to 830 to 925 (sterling). It wasn’t until 1933 that sterling silver was used exclusively at Jensen, which gives fans of his early work a clear way to date a vintage piece.

The Jensen silversmith shop, which also produced cutlery and hollowware, quickly made a name for itself throughout Scandinavia and Europe. Jensen had a growing following in the Unites States, too. His first North American exhibition in San Francisco, in 1915, generated several gold medals — newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst even bought a couple of pieces.

But it was not until 1924, when Frederik Lunning opened a branch for Jensen in New York, that he became more widely known in the United States. Lunning introduced Americans to some of the most sought-after designers from Jensen’s pre-war years, including Sigvard Bernadotte, a Swedish prince, whose geometric and abstract designs marked a shift from Jensen’s Art Nouveau preferences.

Johan Rhode was another important early Jensen designer. His mathematically rigorous forms have been described as serene and sensitive, a logic-driven counterpoint to Jensen’s na...

Although Lunning was one of the company’s greatest champions, he was also briefly one of its most troubling competitors. Silver shortages in Denmark during World War II had prompted Jensen designers to create a line called jernsølv, which means iron silver. To save their precious reserves of scarce silver, they used patinated iron for the body of a piece, with silver or gold as an inlay.

Lunning responded to the 1940s silver shortage in Copenhagen in an entirely different way: He hired designers such as Laurence Foss, Alphone La Paglia, and Joan Polsdorfer to create pieces for a new company called Georg Jensen U.S.A. This made the folks back in Copenhagen none too happy. Indeed, they disavowed any association with the American line, and from 1945-1951 marked their pieces "Georg Jensen & Wendel A/S Denmark" to ensure that the separation was abundantly clear to customers.

In fairness to Lunning, he was not the only one trying to profit from the Jensen name and the silver shortages across the pond. Even vintage costume jewelry company Coro got into the act, making cheap, die-stamped copies of Jensen designs.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

All About Jewels Dictionary

All About Jewels Dictionary

This incredible reference dictionary on jewelry, from Enchantedlearning.com, is both beautiful and comprehensive. S… [read review or visit site]

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Jewelry collectors, feast your eyes on this internet gem! It's a goldmine of jewelry information featuring all styl… [read review or visit site]

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

With its vast galleries featuring clear images of jewelry and style, this site really covers it all! Divided up by … [read review or visit site]

Jewel History

Jewel History

Since March of 2007, readers of Lori Ettlinger Gross’s JewelHistory blog have been treated to her weekly (sometim… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Georg Jensen Danish Sterling Silver Brooch DenmarkVintage Georg Jensen #67 Sterling Silver Large Rare Coral & Agate Basket BroochVintage Georg Jensen Style #213b 925 Solid Sterling Silver Octagon Swan Brooch*Authentic Georg Jensen Brooch #138 In .925 Sterling W. 1.0 Ctw Cabochon Garnet*Sterling Silver - Georg Jensen Denmark Bangle 27g - Bracelet (8") Cz855Vintage Sterling Silver - Georg Jensen #59 Denmark 8g - Clip-on Earrings Gi3341Georg Jensen Chronograph Stainless Steel Watch Rare " Georg Jensen " Sterling Silver 925 Silver Dial Quartz RoundStunning Silver George Jensen Broach With Amber Inset Stones Circa 1916 Sterling Silver - Georg Jensen Denmark #93 Tulip 32g - Bracelet (6.5") Gm0371Sterling Silver - Georg Jensen Denmark #50 Leaf 6.6g - Clip-on Earrings Ft5871Georg Jensen Vice Automatic Stainless Steel Watch 389Gorgious Red Enamel Georg Jensen Type Scandinavian Silver Brooch Of Floral FormVintage Georg Jensen Style #189b 925 Sterling & Rd. Cabochon Green Agate Brooch* Vintage Georg Jensen Style #44d Mens's 925 Sterling Silver Moonstone CufflinksGeorg Jensen Concave Stainless Steel Watch 316Vintage 1960's Georg Jensen Cufflinks Style No.79 W/ Hematite Cabochon Accents*Vintage Georg Jensen 9ct Gold Locket Hm London 1972Vintage Georg Jensen Style #74 925 Sterling & Cabochon Green Agate Brooch*Vintage Solid 18ct Gold Georg Jensen Sapphire Diamond Ladies Ring Size OVintage Georg Jensen Sterling Silver And Chalcedony Pin/brooch SignedGeorg Jensen Bank Watch Titanium/stainless Steel WatchVintage 1915 Georg Jensen 830 Silver Oval Green Agate Bar Pin Old Mark Rare *Georg Jensen .925 Sterling Silver Moonstone Pin 27.2g Signed Brooch DenmarkGeorg Jensen #115 Sterling Silver Cufflinks 14.3gramsVintage Georg Jensen Style #44b Men's 925 Sterling & Cabochon Amber Cufflinks*Vintage Georg Jensen Style #84, 925 Sterling & Cabochon Amethyst Oval Earrings*Georg Jensen .925 Sterling Silver Bracelet 15.6g #11 Signed Art Deco - DenmarkVintage Georg Jensen Denmark Sterling Silver 925 Earrings 149A Fantastic Vintage Solid Silver Georg Jensen Locket.Vintage Sterling Silver Georg Jensen Bangle 111Vintage Georg Jensen Men's Horse Head Cufflinks #63 In .925 Sterling Silver *Antique / Vintage Scandinavian Sterling Silver Buckle Brooch. (? Georg Jensen ?)Sterling Silver - Georg Jensen Denmark #84a Modern 8.5g - Tie Clip Mens Gj1441Sterling Silver - Georg Jensen Denmark #59a 9.8g - (single) Cufflink Mens Mt546Sterling Silver - Georg Jensen Denmark 7.9g - (single) Cufflink Mens Mt573Georg Jensen Vintage Sterling Silver Bracelet Hm 1967Sterling Silver - Georg Jensen #134 Denmark 15.8g - Screw-back Earrings Ft9131Georg Jensen Style #93 Mens's 925 Sterling Enamel "domino" Cufflinks*Georg Jensen #176 Sterling Silver Cufflinks 14.0gramsGeorg Jensen #129 Sterling Silver Cufflinks 10.8gramsVintage Georg Jensen Sterling Moonstone EarringsVintage Silver Charm Bracelet & 21 Charms Georg Jensen London Stamp 1965Vintage Silver Charm Bracelet With Georg Jensen Padlock Gjltd 8gmGeorg Jensen Sterling Silver Bangle 49.0gramsGeorg Jensen Enamel Sterling Silver Cufflinks 9.9grams Vintage ItemGeorg Jensen #176 Sterling Silver Cufflinks 13.8gramsGeorg Jensen #215 Sterling Silver Cufflinks 19.7gramsVintage 9ct Rolled Gold Georg Jensen Ltd Hinged Bangle BraceletGeorg Jensen Sterling Silver Bird Brooch #134 ........ DenmarkVintage Sterling Silver Charm Or Pendant Georg Jensen Emergency Note 3.1g Rs32Vintage Georg Jensen Sterling Moonstone Ring Size 9Vintage Georg Jensen Torque BangleVintage Georg Jenson Sterling Denmark 59a CufflinksVintage Georg Jensen Sterling Doves 32 Bracelet 1 1/8" Wide 1950'sVintage Georg Jensen Moonlight Sterling Moonstone 11 BraceletAntique Vintage Lapaglia Ww2 Era For Georg Jensen Sterling Silver EarringsGeorg Jensen Sterling Silver Abstract Modernist Brooch #342 By Henning Koppel Georg Jensen Sterling Silver Single Cufflink #75 Denmark 7.5gVintage "georg Jenson" Sterling Articulated Broach