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Georg Jensen portrait

Famous Danes: Who is the Legend Behind the Georg Jensen Jewelry Brand?

by | May 30, 2019

Whether your home is traditional English, casual Australian or Californian or super chic urban, you just cannot go wrong with Georg Jensen accessories. In Famous Danes: Georg Jensen designs we show you the best in Danish silver and lifestyle accessories. The Copenhagen design company, which now has outleats the world over, is perhaps best known for its minimal, sleek silver and steel candle holders, it’s watches, tableware and earrings. We’ll look at all those areas, but first a few lines on the background of this amazing brand and how it has influenced designers in interiors as well as fashion/lifestyle.



The founder Georg Jensen was originally a potter – but he was also much married and realised planters made in the sparse conditions and with the modest technology available in the early 20th Century was not going to pay the bills. Jensen loved art and craftsman ship and was not simply a jack of all trades – he became an expert in everything to do with his trade. Added to that, he kept an eye on the future, what the new generation was looking for, which was the unique driving force behind his brand and the answer to why it is so admired today, over 100 years later.

Browse Georg Jensen Classics

Georg Jensen Candle Holders trio

Georg Jensen Cobra Candle Holders

Timeless, unique and eyecatching candleholders in true minimalist Scandi style. Stainless steel. Hugely popular in the Nordic countries.

Georg Jensen Daily Pendant

Georg Jensen Daisy Pendant

A classic piece by the Danish jewelry and home ware brand - gold plated and enamel Daisy pendant.

Georg Jensen Ilsa Fruit Bowl

Georg Jensen Fruit & Salad Bowl

Our own favourite Georg Jensen piece - perfect and minimalist bowl in mirror polished stainless steel. A classic.

Georg Jensen History

Born in 1866 he became a widower and single father at a relatively young age and realised he had to abandon ceramics, which didn’t sell well, to set up on his own. His gamble to go into silverware paid off. In 1904 he opened a small boutique in the smarter part of Copenhagen, forged partnerships with artists and artisans in the capital to design knives and forks, tableware and jewellery.

We have the gorgeous bowl shown above – to get your own mirror polished steel bowl or to just see the details and similar Georg Jensen bowls check HERE with Amazon. He loved art and craftsman ship and was not simply a jack of all trades – he became an expert in everything to do with his trade. Added to that, he kept an eye on the future, what the new generation was looking for, which was the unique driving force behind his brand and the answer to why it is so admired today, over 100 years later.

Little Luxuries: Pure & Simple

Wall mounted bedside lamp with cream shade

Ralph Lauren

Beautifully simple and well-designed lamp - ideal for bedside or office space with a linen shade finished with leather trim. Available to order only from the Bond Street store, UK.

£525

High backed dining chair by Tom Dixon

Tom Dixon

Originally designed for the Royal Academy of Arts restaurant in London, this simple dining chair is in itself a work of art. Pure and simple...

£1,200

Round black framed mirror

Soho Home

A simple wall mirror with beaded oak frame. Despite the minimalist look each mirror is unique and exquisitely crafted.

£345

Jensen stuck to a pared down look – some art nouveau and other styles incorporated – but his simple design struck a cord with the Danish and Scandinavian consumers and Jensen bit by bit he became a leading force in home decor design. Today his name is a byword for luxury – his ultra modern ladies’ open bangle watch and Daisy earrings are a must-have status symbol for young students. At the end of the 19th Century Georg Jensen set up a pottery studio but in 1901 he quit to re-train as a silversmith.

It paid off. Three years later, after his pieces started selling, he staked his modest fortune on the Georg Jensen company in Bredgade in Copenhagen. It was a wise move. His elegant designs and sense of quality and craftsmanship were in demand and sold not only in Denmark and Scandinavia, but he soon opened up shops abroad. Although he worked with associates which kept his business alive and moving forward, Georg Jensen himself focused on design, thereby ensuring his products from jewellery to candle holders stayed firmly on brand.

With a quick temper, a big personality and energising work ethic, Jensen created a sense of pride and loyalty among his staff which also help his brand move forward quickly. And this helped establish him as a founding father of the modern movement in Danish design.  Ironically, what shaped his sense of minimalist elegant style was time spent abroad. Jensen had won a travel grant and after seeing “beautiful things in galleries and ugly things in shops” he merged the two and decided to make “beautiful things sold in shops”. That meant functional things that were also beautiful things to looks at and sell as well as use. Or see his iconic Daisy diamond studded yellow gold earrings HERE on Amazon.

Georg Jensen Prices – Middle to High End

For 30 years Georg Jensen dominated the world of jewelry design and on his death in 1935, the American newspaper The New York Herald Tribune described him as the greatest silversmith of the last 300 years. The brand got into trouble, however, already while Jensen was alive.

Georg Jensen’s Vivianna watch in rose gold: ca £12,000

He kept selling shares in order to expand – he was also a widower several times over with children to look after – and eventually lost control of his own business. When he married a fourth time, his shareholders, the family of wife number three, found it hard to work with him and he ended up without much say.

He became virtually another employee and since then there have been several struggles for the survival of the company. It was been sold and bought a number of times and is no longer in the Jensen family. A variety of investors and brand mangers have battled to steer the brand into the 21st Century, but the signature look is so significant it has a life of its own.  Still, investors have been over ambitious and lost out as they position in higher or lower. Georg Jensen himself wanted to bring luxury to the masses and that is where the brand is still, but there is very much a touch of class and luxury about the pieces, both jewelry and silverware.

Super modern confectionery bowl

Georg Jensen USA: The Company expands heavily

As business grew almost exponentially in the years 1907-20, Jensen and his board members looked to expand abroad, particularly to the USA.  In 1923 the brand arrived in New York where sales boomed. There was no shop but the Jensen collections were sellouts at exhibitions at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.  The clientele was exclusive, the brand was established and opened its first shop in New York the following year.

Super Luxe Scandi Boho

Missoni Cushion

Missoni at Browns

Iconic Italian brand Missoni carries its famous multi-colour zigzag patterns from fashion into the home. Scroll down for more cushion covers.

£355  |  $487

Classic cream urn

Maisons du Monde

If you've go thte space - garden urn for indoor use as well as outdoors.

£132  |  $181

Ralph Lauren leather storage basket

Ralph Lauren

Super stylish storage basket - handwoven & stitched leather.

£595  |  $816

Georg Jensen in London – Success and Sorrow

In the middle of an extensive expansion throughout Europe and an eye on the American market, and as the First World War was coming to an end, Georg Jensen had plans to open in Paris and London. But his third wife, Johanne, whose positive and supportive personality had helped him to success, died tragically of Spanish Flu which was sweeping through Europe. To help drown his sorrow an aggressive expansion programme was put in place and a London store opened in 1923. London was the perfect market for Georg Jensen. His pared down style, with simple lines, proved a hit among the well heeled and to this day the brand has kept a presence in top locations.

For several years the flagship store was at the centre of Bond Street – it has since moved to the uber chic Mount Street and Westfield shopping centre. There is hardly a girl or young woman in Denmark who doesn’t have the Daisy earrings or ring, or necklace, on her wish list.  The Daisy collection has played an important part in Danish design in the last century – and this one.  It was created to commemorate the birth of Princess Margrethe in Denmark in 1940.  Indeed, the now Queen of Denmark’s nickname amongst family and friends is Daisy.

The Danish national flower is a feminine, summery, white flower and represents a fresh look for a new beginning – the perfect graduation or coming of age gift. It comes as earrings, bracelets, rings, pendants, brooches, necklaces and much more – and in different colours, although mainly white and black. If there is such a thing as a national jewelry collection, the Daisy is it.

Georg Jensen Australia – The Danish Connection

Australia have taken the Scandinavian look to their hearts – they appear to love the white, the minimalism and the hygge. Nothing to do with the fact that the next Danish queen will be Australian Mary Donaldson, who wed Crown Prince Frederik after meeting him at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. The pure, eternally modern style the company has perfected over decades fits in perfectly with the relaxed Aussie lifestyle. Australia is a relatively big market for the Danish silverware company. Around 10 percent of its stand alone stores outside of Denmark are in Australia. But the country was a latecomer, only opening the first shop in 1972.

Georg Jensen Jewelry

To Scandinavians Georg Jensen is perhaps best known for its silver ware such as candle holders, jugs and knives and forks – but jewellery is and has been a big winner for the company since its beginning. In fact, it was arguably designing jewelry that gave Georg Jensen the lift off he desperately needed when setting up shop in 1904. The craftsmanship, the quality of materials and the style as he moved from the busy design of his first “Adam & Eve” belt buckle to a more streamlined “modern” look struck a cord with an upmarket clientele ready to pay top dollar. Since then, silver jewelry has been a big seller – the three-colour fusion ring, the bangle watch and the iconic Daisy earrings have become hero pieces sold worldwide.

And because of the modern look, it appeals to the new generation of shoppers and image conscious professionals. The pieces look right at home, at the office and out and about in a party dress.

In Scandinavia, giving graduates a piece of Georg Jensen jewelry is equal to giving them a piece of Danish history and culture as much as a shiny object.

Silver cufflinks ca. 1905

The Daisy Earrings: The Flower that keeps giving

There is hardly a girl or young woman in Denmark who doesn’t have the Daisy earrings or ring, or necklace, on her wish list.  The Daisy collection has played an important part in Danish design in the last century – and this one.  It was created to commemorate the birth of Princess Margrethe in Denmark in 1940.  Indeed, the now Queen of Denmark’s nickname amongst family and friends is Daisy. The Danish national flower is a feminine, summery, white flower and represents a fresh look for a new beginning – the perfect graduation or coming of age gift. It comes as earrings, bracelets, rings, pendants, brooches, necklaces and much more – and in different colours, although mainly white and black. If there’s a national jewelry collection, the Daisy is it.

Georg Jensen – Jewellery Online, the Modern Way

The brand appears to have a proactive approach to online presence…it’s adverts pop up on websites everywhere, but it is eminently suitable to online ads. The simplicity of design in jewelry and jugs as well as bowls and candlesticks help create beautiful, sharp and striking images that stand out online.

As a sign of its forward thinking – the ethos of the founder – created a tool to engage its customers with the design process, helping them to put together their own unique pieces.

With a large TV screen shops can let shoppers interact with the brand, deciding with the movement of a hand how many diamonds, and the size, they want in a given piece as well as the metal colour.

 

Me Time: Handcare & Sanitiser

A plant based hand soap by Diptyque with sweet almond oil

Diptyque

A plant based hand soap, with sweet almond oil - gives you a delicate fragranced foam: lively, floral and delicately fruity. Good enough to eat (no don't!)

£22  |  $31

A body & hand lotion by Jo Malone that is easily absorbed to hydrate and condition the skin

Jo Malone

A body & hand lotion that is easily absorbed to hydrate and condition, the skin. While fragrance-diffusing properties help radiate scent from the skin. 

£42  |  $58

Hand sanitiser 70% alcohol surgical medical grade

Ocean Free

Made in the UK surgical-grade hand sanitiser with high emollient content that reduces the drying effect on the skin. Easy to use in a beautifully simple bottle.

Prices vary according to size.

Georg Jensen Timeline: What happened when

  • 1866: Georg Jensen was born near Copenhagen, Denmark, to a knife grinder
  • 1880: Jensen became a goldsmith apprentice at the age of 14
  • 1892: Graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagn and sets up a pottery studio, but he struggles to make a living from his ceramic pieces
  • 1900: Jensen has a ceramic jug he made exhibited in the Danish pavilion at the 1900 Exposition in Paris
  • 1901: Drops his career as a ceramicist to become a silversmith employee
  • 1904: He stakes the money he’d earned on a workshop, Georg Jensen, making silverware and jewelry
  • 1909: Opens a shop in Berlin, Germany
  • 1910: Awarded a gold medal for work he showed at the International Exhibition in Brussels
  • 1912: Opens a larger workshop and retail shop in Copenhagen
  • 1915: Wins the grand Prix at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, USA. Newspaper mogul Randolph Hearst was said to have bought the entire Georg Jensen collection.
  • 1917: Problems at the height of the First World War with lack of silver. Jensen’s brother-in-law and another investor take large stakes
  • 1924: Georg Jensen loses control of his own company and investors raises money for a branch in New York
  • 1925: Jensen moves to Paris, France, and opens French branch
  • 1926: Jensen returns to Copenhagen, is reconciled with his investors and continues as an employee and creative leader of his own company
  • 1935: Georg Jensen dies, aged 68
  • 1950s-1970s: A new high in the Georg Jensen brand as prestigious artists join, including Henning Koppel and Nanna Ditzel who built on the founder’s standards of expertise and imagination
  • 1972: Royal Copenhagen porcelain bought Georg Jensen
  • 2001: The company was passed on to Axcel Capital Partners, though a varity of companies and interests
  • 2012: Investcorp paid US$140 million (£110 million) for Georg Jensen

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