Every now and then in my Etsy shop I notice I seem to have a lot of jewellery in a particular style, or by a particular maker, or in a particular colour. And the other day I realised I seem to have accumulated a lot of blue jewellery.
Sadly none of the stones is a sapphire: blue glass, sodalite, turquoise and chalcedony, plus wonderful blue enamel on the Joid’art ring at bottom left. I haven’t listed everything yet, and two of the brooches are already spoken for, but just today I put the wonderful NE From sodalite ring in my shop. I don’t expect it’ll hang around for long …
NE From sodalite and sterling silver modernist ring. Could it be any bluer? Click on photo for details.
December 2016 update: I always seem to have Viking ship jewellery in my shop. Click here to see the current selection.
More by accident than design—and a very happy accident at that—I have three Viking ship brooches in my Etsy shop at the moment. I think they show longships, as opposed to the other kinds of Viking sea-going vessels.
Fabulous David-Andersen Viking ship brooch, dated to between 1924 and 1939. For sale in my Etsy shop: click photo for details. (NOW SOLD).
The jewel in the crown is an exquisite silver and enamel brooch by the renowned Norwegian firm of David-Andersen. The craftsmanship in this piece is stunning, and shows why David-Andersen enamelwork is so highly thought of.
The brooch can be dated quite closely to between 1924 and 1939, as the combination of 925 (sterling) silver and a particular form of the maker’s mark for the company was only used in this period. This brooch design is rarely seen and so is highly collectable.
The second Viking ship brooch dates from 1946 and was made by the Birmingham firm of Shipton and Co. It is solid sterling silver and was hallmarked in Chester (I wonder why a Birmingham firm didn’t send their silver to the Birmingham Assay Office to be hallmarked, rather than the Chester one?). It is very reminiscent of the popular Iona silver Celtic-style jewellery, made famous by designer Alexander Ritchie:
Sold sterling silver Viking ship brooch, made by Shipton & Co of Birmingham and hallmarked 1946 in Chester. For sale in my Etsy shop: click photo for details. (NOW SOLD).
The third brooch is also the youngest one: it was made by famous silversmith Malcolm Gray of the Ortak silversmithing firm on the Orkney Islands, and hallmarked at the Edinburgh Assay Office in 1981:
Sterling silver Viking longship brooch by Malcolm Gray of Ortak, hallmarked Edinburgh 1981. For sale in my Etsy shop: click photo for details. (NOW SOLD). September 2015 update: I have another of these for sale, also from 1981. Click on photo for details. (NOW SOLD).
This brooch is also solid sterling silver. The hallmarks and Gray’s maker’s mark are tiny, and barely visible among the textured dimples on the back of the brooch. The choice of subject matter is a fitting one, for the Vikings were an integral part of the history of these islands. The people of the Shetland Islands, north of the Orkneys, remember their Viking heritage every year with the Up Helly Aa festivals, and one day Chap and I are going to make it up there to see the festivities.
Update 22 June 2015: I have a new Viking ship brooch, by Aksel Holmsen of Norway, and dating from the 1930s:
Viking ship brooch in 830 silver, by Aksel Holmsen of Norway. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details. (NOW SOLD).
Malcolm Gray Ortak sterling silver Viking ship brooch, 1975. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details. (NOW SOLD).
September 2015 update. A couple more Viking ship brooches:
A Shetland Silvercraft brooch from 1968:
Sterling silver Viking ship brooch by Shetland Silvercraft, 1968. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details. (NOW SOLD).
and a tiny mystery:
Tiny enamel and sterling silver Viking brooch. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photos for details. (NOW SOLD).
And finally, I just had to end with a clip from a great Saturday tea-time favourite film of mine when I was a kid: The Vikings (1958), starring Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh and Ernest Borgnine.