Skønvirke translates as “Beautiful Work.” It is the name applied to Danish jewelry made in an Arts & Crafts style. This skønvirke movement in Denmark encompassed the years 1900 to 1925, roughly the period when Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau were popular in Europe. In harmony with the other European movements, skønvirke was a reaction to over industrialization and strove for a return to quality craft work. The skønvirke jewelers were in tune with the British movement in that they wanted their creations to be available to the masses. Unlike the British, the Danes sometimes employed machines in the production of their jewelry. The marriage of Princess Alexandra of Denmark to Prince Edward of Great Britain may have some connection to the influence that the British Arts & Crafts movement had in Denmark.
Skønvirke jewelry was rendered in silver by hand and exhibits hammer marks. Gems used included chalcedony, turquoise, amber, and others. Many jewelers working in this style were trained as sculptors and this influence is evident in jewelry worked in this style.
- Zorn Karlin, Elyse. Jewelry & Metalwork in the Arts & Crafts Tradition. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. 1993.