Modern Norwegian Silver Hallmarks

by B. Lennart Persson & Svein G. Josefsen

 


The strong emphasis on enamel on silver that gave Norwegian goldsmiths their reputation made Norwegian silver a growing industry, and meant a lot for the export. This is especially true for the jewelry. Today one can find mid-century enameled jewelry from Norway anywhere in the world. Although Norwegian silver should always be marked, it usually takes some knowledge to decode the different hallmarks that appear. This article gives some guidelines on the subject of hallmarks on modern Norwegian silver. The emphasis will be on mid-century enameled jewelry, but as the same hallmarks also appear on other jewelry and silver items, the article may also be useful in a broader sense.
There are no city stamps or date letters on modern Norwegian silver. Early pieces are sometimes marked with the year, e.g. 1921, and/or the city such as Oslo, Christiania (the former name of Oslo until 1906), Bergen or Trondheim. The bigger companies started using 'Norway' and the content mark 'Sterling' after World War II. However, since this has been a question of company policy there are no rules for this. When the word Norway or Norge is not stated, the first clue to identification of Norwegian silver is the content mark that gives the quantity of pure silver in the piece. This usually is either 925 S (meaning 925/1000 pure silver which is equivalent to Sterling silver) or 830 S ( a quality often called 'coin silver' in the US) which means 830/1000 pure silver and is often used in the Nordic countries.

     

Mark used by David-Andersen
 1924-39

 

There should also be a maker's mark that identifies the goldsmith, the company (or the importer responsible for the marking). This is to guarantee that the content of silver is not lower than stated. For the collector this makers mark is an important clue to the identification of the piece. Other marks that appear on Norwegian silver can be designers marks, initials or symbols referring to the designer, or the abbreviation 'inv'. and the initials (inventor = designer). Numbers other than the content marks can be product numbers or in some cases limited editions. There can also be Norwegian words that refer to the production, such as handarbeid = handmade, and mønsterbeskyttet = copyright.

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Makers' marks on mid-century enamel jewelry

On Norwegian silver the maker's mark often consists of a symbol, but it could also be a printed name, an abbreviation or the initials of the maker. Many companies have more than one hallmark registered, this can sometimes be confusing. If the hallmark consists of letters it can also easily be confused with Danish hallmarks because they have the same system with content mark and makers mark. In these cases, one will need a guide to be able to find out if the hallmark represents a Danish or a Norwegian maker.
Makers' marks used on Norwegian silver are to be registered with the authorities. There are more than 1,600 marks registered. The marks listed here are examples of hallmarks from a few of the most important makers of Norwegian mid-century enamel jewelry.

 
Øystein Balle

 

 
Einar Modahl

 

 
David-Andersen A/S

 

Arne Nordlie
 
O. F. Hjortdahl

 

 
K. A. Rasmussen

 

 
Aksel Holmsen A/S

 

 
Albert
Scharning

 

 
Ivar. T. Holt A/S

 

 
A/S J. Tostrup

 

 
Finn Jensen

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 Designer marks on Norwegian silver

For the collector, it is always useful if there are also marks indicating the designer of a piece of jewelry. This is not often the case on Norwegian silver. The David-Andersen company started using designer marks in the 1930's. These hallmarks were rarely used on jewelry, but rather on larger enamel vases, bowls and bonbonnieres. In the 1960's, the company also started marking some jewelry with the designers mark. Normally the D-A designer marks have the abbreviation 'inv.', for inventor, and the initials of the designer. In 1959, Uni David-Andersen, the great granddaughter of the founder of the David-Andersen company, began a small workshop of her own. Uni and her designers used the same system for designer marks as the family company. Jewelry from that workshop are typically marked both UNI and the designers mark.

The designer mark of Marianne Berg on a piece made at the workshop of Uni.

The designer mark of Bjørn Sigurd Østern on a piece designed for David-Andersen.


There are also pieces made by the company J.Tostrup in the 1960's that have designer marks. It is very rare to find designer marks on pieces from other companies, other than studio jewelry. To be able to identify the designer one must often use other sources than the hallmarks, such as old ads and articles in magazines.
The designer mark of Gine Sommerfelt on a piece designed for J.Tostrup.

The designer mark of Gudmund Elvestad, also for J.Tostrup.

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Guide to designer marks used
 by the David-Andersen company


The following is a list of some of the designer marks used by the David-Andersen company. The years stated are the years the designer worked with David-Andersen. The designer's marks were not necessarily in use all of that time. There are also important designers who's jewelry was not signed with designers marks, such as Agnar Skrede (1953-57), Hannelore Sorge (1960's), Torill Bjorg (1972-80's), and Erik Blom (1972-80's).

 

INV.B.D-A Ben (Benedicte) David-Andersen 1960's, UNI's workshop
INV.B.S.Ø Bjørn Sigurd Østern 1961-85
INV.ESTHER Esther Helén Slagsvold 1994-97
INV.G.G Guttorm Gagnes (Kristiansen) 1950-62
INV.G.K Guttorm Kristiansen (Gagnes) 1927-49
INV.H.S Harry Sørby 1929-70's
INV.I.D-A Ivar David-Andersen 1927-70's
INV.I.H Ingjerd Hanevold 1992
K.J.Otteren Karl Jørgen Otteren 1960's
INV.K.M Konrad Mehus 1990's
INV.L.S.R Liv Solnør Rogan 1970's- UNI's workshop
INV.M.B Marianne Berg 1964-2002 UNI's workshop
INV.M.B Millie Behrens 1992-2001
nora g. Nora Gulbrandsen 1958-62
INV.S.K Synnøve Korssjøen 1990's-2001
INV.SOL

Solfrid Simensen

1984-2002 UNI's workshop
SØNKE   1970's
INV.T.L-J Torbjørn Lie-Jørgensen 1927-61
UNI Uni David-Andersen 1959-2001 UNI's workshop
INV.U.T

Unn Tangerud

1964- UNI's workshop
W

Willy Winnæss

1950's
The designer mark of Willy Winnæss.

The designer mark of Karl Jørgen Otteren on a piece made for David-Andersen.


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Article and photographs by B. Lennart Persson & Svein G. Josefsen
http://effie-graa.com/

Web design by Marbeth Schon  
 Copyright © 2004 text and photo: egc online publications and Modern Silver Magazine
 
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