The Troll Series of David-Andersen
This article will give a presentation of the two ‘Troll jewelry Series’ of the Norwegian company David-Andersen; ‘The Stone Series’ from 1964 and ‘The Silver Series’ from 1966.
The Stone Series (1964)
In November of 1964, David-Andersen launched a new collection of cast silver jewelry called the ‘Troll Series’. It soon became a great success. This collection of cast jewelry was characterized by a new sense of simplicity and the use of stones found in Norway, such as the green/turquoise Amazonite and red/pink Thulite.
A prominent point in the creation of the collection was the increased emphasis on the artistic value of the pieces themselves, rather than on the economic value of the materials used. This was jewelry not meant to impress and state the economic status of the wearer, but rather to express the simple beauty coming from the materials themselves.
Six designers working for D-A and for Uni D-A’s workshop were appointed for the job. They were Harry Sørby, Bjørn Sigurd Østern, Uni David-Andersen, Marianne Berg, Unn Tangerud and Ben (Benedicte) David-Andersen. Harry Sørby had been working with the company since the 1920s.
He had made jewelry in different styles over the years. With ‘The Troll Series’ his designs once more took a new turn. Bjørn Sigurd Østern was engaged as a designer in 1961. Since the start he had contributed to a new and modern David-Andersen look, and was already known as an exciting designer. Uni David-Andersen had grown up in the company but had started her own workshop in 1959, working close to the family company, and also designing pieces for production at David-Andersen. Marianne Berg, Unn Tangerud, and Ben David-Andersen were the first of several women that came to work together with Uni in her workshop.
It’s not clear who took initiative to ‘The Troll Series’. Both Bjørn Sigurd Østern and Uni David-Andersen have made jewelry designs similar to ‘The Troll Series’, allthough not part of the series.
Some of the pieces in the series, such as the pendant ‘Marianne’s Heart’ and the brooch ‘Unn’s Sun Chariot’, got their names from the designer. The name of the series also points out the Norwegian profile, using stones from Norway and designs inspired by ancient Norse culture.
Norwegian Trolls are large, ugly creatures living far away from everything and everyone in forests, under rocks and in caves in the mountains. They are sometimes friendly, often unfriendly, and always difficult to co-exist with. Trolls are also closely conected with magic and treasures of gold, and jewelry with precious stones.
Norway nature is dramatic, with a richness of minerals of many kinds. This gives the connection to the use of stones in the Troll Series. Amazonite and Thulite were the most used ones, but some of the pieces were also made with dark grey Labradorite.
One of the brooches, ‘Spider’s Web’ was put in production for the first time in 1962 (before ‘The Troll Series’ was launched), that time with Amazonite or Turquoise. Another brooch named ‘Sun Beam’ has also been made with Turquoise, set in gold instead of sterling silver.
Later the Amazonites were left out, and the pieces by Ben David-Andersen and Unn Tangerud were relaunched in an extended stone series with Thulite and Mylonite, wich is a composite stone with stripes in white, yellow, brown and black. This series also had quite a few new designs.
The Silver Series (1966)
A few years after the launch of the stone series, a second series, ‘The Silver Series’ was released. The idea of this collection of 1966 was a radical new-shaping of the traditional Norwegian enamel jewelry.
Enamel jewelry traditionally had enamel all over the surface, making the silver work almost like a canvas of a painting. In these new designs the enamel was made to co-operate with the forms of the shiny metall in a more obvious way, giving the silver a prominent place in the designs.
The series consisted of 15 pieces of jewelry designed by three designers. Bjørn Sigurd Østern supervised the work and made most of the pieces. The other designers were Uni David-Andersen and Mariannne Berg.
The jewelry was made in different colors of enamel, using patterns in the silver under the enamel to add to the design. Some of the pieces by Marianne Berg were made in sterling silver without enamel, using patinated/oxidized surfaces to give variation in the louster.
The individual character of the deisgners got a more distinct expression in this series, than what was the case in the stone series. Where as the enamel work of Marianne Berg shows a studio approach and has a hand made look with different shades of a color merging in the same field, Bjørn Sigurd Østern favours the clean Scandinavian style with a use of enamel that bears influences from the very distinct Georg Jensen enamel jewelry designed by the dane Henning Koppel in the 1950s.
The pieces of ‘The Silver Series’ have clean modernistic and geometric shapes, at the same time recalling old symbols from the Norse Sagas, such as the hammer of Thor, the god of war and thunder, and the romantic ideas of old treasures connected to folklore and the Trolls.
Both ‘The Stone Series’ and ‘The Silver Series’ had a great impact on Norwegian jewelry in general. Amazonites and Thulites were to be found on many Norwegian pendants and brooches in the years to come. Also the combination of strong geometric shapes of shiny silver with feelds of brigthly colored enamel, influenced designeres of other companies and came to be a lasting characteristic of Norwegian jewelry.