Eigil Jensen for Anton Michelsen Grass motif necklace c.1955 Denmark Antiques Art Design Potts Point Sydney Christopher Becker

Vintage silver jewellery | scandinavian silversmiths | Sydney shopping

Cool, understated elegance that belies inner sparkle and sizzle.

A new treasure trove of wearable silver is inspiration for gift hunters, collectors and connoisseurs.

Aficionados of vintage Scandinavian silver are making a beeline for Christopher Becker’s shiny new pocket gallery in Sydney’s Potts Point, called Antiques-Art-Design.

His seductive display of Danish, Swedish and Norwegian pieces – polished to a mirror shine – includes designs by Georg Jensen, Hans Hansen, Arne Johansen, Björn Weckström, Vagn Hemmingsen, Anton Michelsen and Bent Knudsen.

Eternally sophisticated and contemporary, there are buy-me earrings, bracelets, neckpieces, rings and brooches. As Becker told Excess All Areas, “The thing I find most incredible about the modernist Scandinavian silver is that despite having been designed 50 or 60 years ago (and even longer in some cases), it is still as modern as anything on offer today.”

Antiques Art Design store Potts Point Sydney Christopher Becker

Antiques-Art-Design, Christopher Becker’s new jewel of a store in Potts Point, Sydney

Australians, it seems, have always lusted after quality silver jewellery. Becker says that between the 1920s and the 1970s, we were the second largest market for Scandinavian design in the world.

Key collectables are those by the master silversmith Georg Jensen. But, says Becker, “there are a number of other Scandinavian designers who hold equal gravitas. Björn Weckström of Laponia, who rose to fame when his jewellery was used in the Star Wars films, has a very unusual and interesting design style. Hans Hansen [Denmark], whose company was bought by Georg Jensen, is another. Matti Hyvärinen is a Finnish designer who created a lot of Luna landscape jewellery. Additionally, there are a number of enamel designers such as David Andersen of Norway and the Dane Volmer Bahner.”

Hans Hansen for Georg Jensen bangle Antiques Art Design Potts Point Sydney Christopher Becker c.1990 Denmark2a

‘Alternating Planes’ bangle, Hans Hansen for Georg Jensen, c1990, $795

The pieces Becker is particularly proud to have in store right now comprise a complete collection of the “Grass” motif designs created in 1952 by Eigil Jensen for Anton Michelsen, the jewellers to the Royal Court of Denmark (the necklace in our featured image sells for $3750).

“It consists of a motif of a folded blade of grass in various lengths. As a rare and iconic design, pieces from this collection are referred to in numerous textbooks and held in many museums and important collections around the world. In more than 20 years of collecting, this is the first time I have been able to offer a complete collection for sale.”

Ge Ka Smyckek Cubist ring Antiques Art Design Potts Point Sydney Christopher Becker 1970 Sweden2a

Ge Ka Smyckek ‘Cubist’, 1970 ring, Sweden, $395

If the Scandinavians seem prolific when it comes to making beautiful pieces of silver, there’s a good reason for it, explains Becker on the Vault blog: “I once asked a Finnish friend how a small city like Helsinki, with a population of only about two million, could be so active in terms of design. He said ‘You have to remember, Chris, it’s nine months of winter. We’re all locked indoors and we have to do something, so we all start doodling, tinkering and designing’.

“It’s hard for us to grasp, but there are thousands of designers in Denmark and hundreds in Finland and Norway. Before globalisation, design in these countries was quite an introspective movement.”

Antiques art design christopher becker potts point vintage scandinavian silver

Treasure trove of vintage silver at Antiques-Art-Design, Potts Point, Sydney

Antiques-Art-Design isn’t only about silver. Opposite the silver display cases are precious and semi-precious jewels – both antique and modern.

Becker’s background is menswear design, styling consultancy and premium retail.  The shop he founded in 2006 with Jason Minty – Becker Minty – has long been magazine stylists’ go-to source. Becker left that business in 2011.

He made headlines later that year when an extremely rare 14th century timepiece he discovered as a boy, in a box of brass fittings at his former Central Queensland home, went up for auction at Bonham’s in London with high expectations. The brass quadrant, marked with the badge of King Richard II, was tipped to sell for between £150,000 and £250,000; however it didn’t reach its reserve. But don’t expect it to be on display at Antiques-Art-Design. Since discovering that it was more than just a useful road grader for his toy cars it’s been under lock and key!

Related stories: Unique Sydney shopping; Marc Newson’s silver medal

Antiques-Art-Design, Shop 3 115, Macleay Street (enter from Orwell Street), Potts Point, (02) 8937 0959.   www.antiques-art-design.com.
Becker is presenting a seminar of Scandinavian silver from 1945-1980 for the Australian Antique and Art Dealers Association on November 19; www.aaada.org.au     



Editor. Writer. Traveller. Keeping tabs on all things fab. susan@excessallareas.com.au

'Vintage silver jewellery | scandinavian silversmiths | Sydney shopping' has no comments

Be the first to comment this post!

Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

Copyright © Susan Skelly 2020.