Spotlight on Scandinavian Enamel Jewellery - The Famous Makers

Spotlight on Scandinavian Enamel Jewellery - The Famous Makers

Midcentury enamel jewellery is extraordinarily popular.  Collectors love it and its vibrant colours on sterling silver make it easy to wear.  


What is Guilloché Enamel?

Most of the midcentury enamel jewellery that you’ll see is made with the guilloché technique.  Guilloché is a French word thought to derive from the name of an 18th century French engineer who invented a type of turning machine.  This would make sense because the guilloché method involves precise patterns being turned, or engraved, onto metal which is then covered and decorated with translucent enamel (melted glass).

Many of the vintage enamel jewellery pieces you'll find were made by Scandinavian goldsmiths and silversmiths.   Here is a list of some of the most well-known designers of vintage enamel jewellery.


Scandinavian Designers of Vintage Silver Enamel Jewellery


David Andersen (1843-1901)

Perhaps the most well-known of the enamellers is the David-Andersen company.  David Andersen was a Norwegian goldsmith born in 1843 in Norway. In 1876, he established his own silverware and jewellery company in Oslo, experimenting from the beginning with enamel decoration. The company gained international recognition for its high-quality craftsmanship and innovative designs and won two gold medals at the Word Exhibition in 1900. 

Upon David Andersen’s death in 1901, his widow Sophia took over the running of the company with her two sons Arthur and Alfred.  In 1942 the company name was hyphenated to David-Andersen and they began marking the jewellery with D-A.

David-Andersen enamel jewellery was always and still is, highly sought after.  Their enamel jewellery often features vibrant colours, geometric patterns, and nature-inspired motifs.   The company is still in business.  Take a look at their website to see what they produce these days - the enamel jewellery section is particularly interesting. 


Ivar T Holth (1904-1979)

Ivar T. Holth, born in 1904, was a notable Norwegian silversmith. He received his education at the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry in Oslo and went on to contribute to the family business, Holth & Sons. Holth was particularly known for his craftsmanship and precise attention to detail, specializing in the creation of enamel jewellery. His signature style involved incorporating guilloché enamel, characterized by intricately engraved patterns beneath transparent enamel in beautiful colours. He frequently combined enamel with silver, creating elegant and timeless designs. Holth's remarkable career came to an end in 1979, leaving behind a legacy of exceptional enamel jewellery designs.  Browse our Ivar Holth pieces for sale.


Hroar Prydz (1886-1963)

Hroar Prydz was another Norwegian enamel artist and jeweller. He established his workshop in Oslo, Norway, where he created beautiful enamel jewellery pieces.  His work, like many of the Scandinavian silversmiths, was inspired by nature often showcasing botanical motifs such as flowers, leaves, and butterflies.  The butterfly pins are particularly popular.  His company was sold in the 1950s.


Bernard Meldahl (1913-1996)

Bernard Meldahl was a Danish silversmith and jewellery designer. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and then worked for the famous Danish firm Georg Jensen. Meldahl later established his own workshop, where he focused on creating enamel jewellery pieces. 

His enamel jewellery style during the midcentury period was characterized by minimalism and clean lines. Meldahl often utilized bold and contrasting enamel colours, creating a striking visual impact. His pieces incorporated geometric shapes and abstract motifs, reflecting the modernist aesthetic popular during that time.


Volmer Bahner (1919-1995)

Volmer Bahner was a Danish jewellery designer and silversmith. He established his own workshop and jewellery company in Copenhagen, Denmark which was particularly known for its guilloché enamel jewellery creations in vibrant shades of blues, yellows and greens.   His designs showcased abstract and geometric motifs, reflecting a contemporary and artistic style. Volmer Bahner's enamel jewellery pieces became highly popular and he achieved significant success during his career.  His company designed many dainty pieces meant for children.

White enamel butterfly bracelet by Volmer Bahner

White enamel butterfly bracelet by Volmer Bahner on a silver gilt chain

Each of these silversmiths brought their own unique style and creativity to the world of enamel jewellery, contributing to the rich heritage of Scandinavian craftsmanship and design.


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