Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NIELS ERIK FROM

Built by famed Danish sculptor Edvard Eriksen in 1918, the bronze statue of The Little Mermaid is Copenhagen, Denmark's most popular tourist attraction on par with New York's Statue of Liberty. Denmark was also the home of the late jewelry designer Niels Erik From.

Eighty-four years ago, renowned Danish jeweler Georg Jensen once compared the white luster of silver to the glow of the moon.

Appreciating the metal's challenging, and unyielding nature, he loved the idea of cultivating and conquering it. For this reason, he believed the metal better than gold possessing greater effect.

According to what I have read, many of the earliest Danish jewelers worked with sterling silver, using native stones like amber in their distinctive, minimalist jewelry.

A trained silversmith, in 1931, at age 23, From opened his first workshop. For the next 40 years, From's floral-inspired pieces from Denmark's Arts and Crafts period, and sculptural, modernist pieces of the 70s would become the company's signature styles.

The metalwork is gorgeously lithe and supple. There are obscure details of oxidation, carved out metal, surface etchings as well as the incorporation of lovely translucent and butterscotch amber.

The overall designs are masterful examples of From's ability to achieve unique detail and sinuous fluidity in simple forms.

His Off Center Amber Ring, for instance, is composed of a slightly patinated, cupped sterling silver disc with a smaller disc placed slightly off center against the larger one ultimately serving as the setting for a smooth, round amber stone.

There is something about the execution of his jewelry. There is something intangible I do not know how to articulate.

It is ultra simplistic yet at the same time visually striking. The combination of slightly voluptuous geometric structures and large, round and flat stones like onyx or carnelian is quietly magnetic.

Since his workshop was closed shortly after his death in 1986, From's legacy of limited, modernist jewelry items are distributed through Scandinavian Silver's website.
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Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver Carnelian Pendant
Photo 2 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Fish Brooches with Amethyst Cabochon
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