Within Scandinavia, Norway is recognized as having produced the finest enamelwork—often applied to decorative objects, tableware and silver jewelry. Jeweler and designer Aksel Holmsen made a career of such fine enamelwork.
Born in 1873, Holmsen began his training in 1889 under David Andersen, the famous and accomplished Oslo jeweler. After a three year training period, Holmsen continued working for Andersen, mastering the art and technique of jewelry design, filigree and enameling. In 1906, he opened his own silversmity and enameling workshop in Oslo.
In 1932, Holmsen opened a new workshop in Sandefjord, 75 miles south of Oslo. It was here, in the 1930’s, that Holmsen made the oh-so-handsome pair of blue enameled Art Deco sterling silver cufflinks, shown above.
After World War II, the world went mad for Scandinavian Modernist design—including Norway’s streamlined, understated, enameled silver jewelry. After decades of heavy (or showy) Art Deco and Art Nouveau jewelry, modern, post-War women wanted something fresh, sophisticated, and minimalist. In the 1950’s, Holmsen utilized simple, botanical designs—leaves, flowers, petals—in his enameled jewelry. American and European women alike loved the look of the simple (yet luxurious) floral brooches on their sweater twin-sets. Aksel Holmsen caught the Modernist wave and profited nicely for it.
The cufflinks above, however, are from an earlier period. While they are not distinctly “Norwegian,” they are very handsome, nicely made, and exhibit the kind of fine enamelwork for which Norwegian jewelers are known. Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.