Preference By Ebba

Provenance

Hallmarks and other stamps

The majority of our pieces of jewelry bear responsibility marks, either a hallmark or a so-called name mark (which is the registered name mark of the maker or the importer), in combination with a fine content mark indicating the purity of the precious metal.

Furthermore, many of our items also feature a year mark indicating the year the jewelry was made. Information about the production year is provided alongside each piece of jewelry.

If you would like to learn more about a specific hallmark or any other marks on one of our vintage jewelry pieces, please do not hesitate to contact us a info@preferencebyebba.com.

The silversmiths and jewelers

Our fantastic pre-loved vintage jewelry has been designed and made by internationally well-known silversmiths and jewelers. Many of them lived lives and experienced things that few of us ever will. Below, you will find brief summaries, far from complete, of some of these silversmiths’ backgrounds, works, and preferences—just to give you an introduction.

Wiwen Nilsson (1897-1974)

Wiwen Nilsson was one of the most celebrated and noted Swedish silversmiths and designers of the 20th century, both in Sweden and internationally. He is often referred to as the master and pioneer of Swedish modernist jewelry.

Wiwen Nilsson was known for using geometric lines, clean cuts, and matte shimmering luster. He often incorporated rectangular and square faceted-cut rock crystals, Art Deco stair-shaped pendants and settings, as well as bracelets and necklaces with a ring and bar chain in his designs.

Born in 1897 in Copenhagen, Denmark, where his father, the Swedish silversmith Anders Nilsson, was working at the time, Wiwen Nilsson was christened Karl Edvin. However, because he did not like his christening name, he was called Wiwen within the family.

Wiwen Nilsson was trained to be a silversmith in his father’s workshop. As part of his education, Wiwen Nilsson studied at the oldest and most prestigious goldsmith school in Hanau, Germany, the Zeichenakademie. He also studied in Paris, at the famous schools of arts Académie De la Grande Chaumiére and Académie Colarossi, where he became friends with the famous Swedish painter Gösta Adrian-Nilsson (1884-1965).

In 1927, Wiwen Nilsson took over his father’s workshop in Lund, Sweden. The following year, he was appointed royal court jeweler. Wiwen Nilsson’s big breakthrough came at the World’s Fair in New York in 1939, and in the early 1940s, an exclusive shop was opened in New York where his jewelry was sold.

Did you know that Wiwen Nilsson was the one who introduced the cross as a fashion piece of jewelry in the 1930s?

In the 1950s, Wiwen Nilsson began creating jewelry brooches in the form of birds and dragons, inspired by Chinese and Japanese art. Besides jewelry, he also created corpus works and tableware, all made by hand, as well as sculptures.

Wiwen Nilsson is said to have once said, “the simpler and more undivided something is in its kind, the greater the potential and the greater the inherent power it possesses; it can do more.”

Initially, Wiwen Nilsson signed his jewelry with his father’s responsibility marks AN and A Nilsson. Later on, he used additional marks such as WN and an N on top of a W inside an oval, as well as his signature.

Sigurd Persson (1914-2003)

Sigurd Persson was one of the most important and internationally well-known Swedish jewelers, designers, and sculptors. He was always curious about trying out new things and designs, and his jewelry was consistently influenced by Swedish functionalism, as well as by jewelry in the shape of flowers and plants, symbolizing reproduction, birth, death, and other aspects of the biosystem.

Persson did not only see himself as a jeweler; he also considered himself to be a creator of forms. Besides jewelry, he designed everything from cutlery and coffee pots to ecclesiastical corpus silver and plywood chairs. He also designed new emblems for the Swedish defense uniforms, a besom, and a Swedish coin called the “femkronan” (with a value of five Swedish crowns). His works are represented in several museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the National Museum in Stockholm.

Sigurd Persson was born in the Swedish town of Helsingborg in 1914, the son of a silversmith, similar to Wiwen Nilsson, and he apprenticed with his father. After completing his apprenticeship examination, Persson attended the school for gold and silversmiths in Munich.

He settled in Stockholm in the early 1940s, where he worked as a silversmith and teacher at Atelier Borgila.

Persson signed his jewelry with the responsibility mark SIGP. After some time, he began to use a signature stamp in the form of a chestnut leaf as a complement to the responsibility stamp SIGP.

Rey Urban (1929-2015)

Rey Urban was one of Sweden’s most well-known silversmiths and designers. He was born in Stockholm in 1929. He began his studies at the department of metalwork at the Swedish University of Arts, Crafts, and Design in Stockholm (Sw: Konstfack) in 1947 and graduated from the school in 1951. After that, a number of study trips followed, including visits to France, Germany, Brazil, and England.

Rey Urban opened his workshop and showroom in Stockholm in the 1950s. He participated yearly in arts and crafts exhibitions, showcasing his work. He also exhibited internationally, for example, in Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki, New York, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo.

During the 1960s, Rey Urban, along with his silver smith colleagues Claës E. Giertta and Lars Fleming (the son of one of the founders of Atelier Borgila), embarked on a praised, multi-year tour around Sweden and exhibited under the name “Tre Smeder” (eng. The Three Smiths). With unique creations, they demonstrated how, as modern jewelry artists and skilled silversmiths, they treated the material in a way that the material’s own beauty fascinated as much as the design. The goal was to show that the jewelry really adorned and could become a personal expression of its wearer.

Today, Rey Urban’s work is represented at the National Museum in Stockholm.

Rey Urban has been described as the master of design, quality, and silver. Of course, Rey Urban also worked with gold and many different gemstones. His jewelry is not only very well-crafted and elegant but also possesses an attitude rarely seen. Rey Urban also designed ornaments as well as silver objects for churches in Sweden.

Rey Urban signed his jewelry with the responsibility mark RU, often in combination with his signature.

Atelier Borgila (founded 1921)

Atelier Borgila was founded by the two brothers and barons Claes and Erik Fleming in Stockholm, Sweden, in the year 1921. It quickly became one of the most respected silversmith companies in Sweden, achieving international success. Notably, Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco visited Atelier Borgila’s shop in Stockholm.

From the outset, Atelier Borgila received special orders from, among others, the Swedish royal family. In the early 1930s, Erik Fleming was bestowed with the unique title of His Majesty the King’s court silversmith. Later on, Erik Fleming worked as a designer at, among others, Electrolux and Skultuna bruk.

Towards the end of the 1940s, Atelier Borgila was acquired by the Swedish mining company Boliden, with Erik Fleming remaining as artistic leader. However, in the year 1959, Erik Fleming’s son, the silversmith Lars Fleming, repurchased the company.

High-quality craftsmanship characterized the work of Atelier Borgila. From the workshop came not only jewelry and cufflinks but also silverware, tableware, and cigar cans.

The name Borgila derived from the sailboats that the brothers used to sail during their summers outside the Swedish city of Lysekil. The boats, in turn, were named after the Swedish bay called Berghälla; a name which sounded like Borgila when pronounced with the dialect spoken in that area.

Atelier Borgila marked its jewelry with the responsibility marks BORGILA in capital letters, and/or with the initials CF (for Claes Fleming) or ABA (representing Atelier Borgila AB).

Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe (1927-2004)

Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe was a Swedish silversmith and master jeweler. She created innovative jewelry that gained her international fame, especially during the 1950s. Her most notable works include the watch “Vivianna” and the collections “Mobius” and “Dew Drop.”

Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hube was born in the Swedish town of Malmö in 1927. After completing elementary school, she studied at the Swedish University of Arts, Crafts, and Design in Stockholm (Swedish: Konstfack).

In 1948, she began creating her so-called “antistatus jewelry” from twisted silver wire adorned with crystals and stones. Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hube used to say that it was time for women to choose their own jewelry and stop being mere adornments for men’s status symbols. According to her, diamonds were a girl’s worst enemy. Her jewelry was distinct, featuring new materials and sweeping lines, and it accentuated the beauty of the female body.

As a young woman, Torun Bülow-Hübe used herself as a model for her jewelry for many years, and numerous articles about her appeared in magazines such as Elle and Star Weekly Magazine.

In 1956, Torun Bülow-Hübe moved to Paris, France, where she befriended Billie Holiday. She created jewelry for Holiday to wear on stage. Other famous wearers of her jewelry included Brigitte Bardot, Juliette Gréco, Oona O’Neill Chaplin, and Ingrid Bergman. Torun Bülow-Hübe also became friends with the renowned artist Pablo Picasso, and from 1958 to 1960, she exhibited her jewelry at the Picasso Museum in Antibes, France.

In 1967, Torun Bülow-Hübe began a collaboration with Georg Jensen, which lasted for many years. In 1978, she moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, and worked with a foundation associated with the Subud spiritual movement. After being diagnosed with cancer, she moved to Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2002.

Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe signed her jewelry with the responsibility mark “TORUN.”

Pekka Piekäinen (1945-2004)

Pekka Piekäinen was an eminent silversmith and one of the pioneers in Finnish modern jewelry and silver art. During the 1970s, Piekäinen became an internationally well-known designer.

The characteristics of Pekka Piekäinen’s designs are plain shapes, clean, strong lines, and the use of color. Like many other silversmiths, Piekäinen was inspired by nature and everyday life, creating expressive jewelry and watches in silver.

Pekka Piekäinen designed silver watches for Omega and Tissot, and he also created jewelry for Princess Diana. It is also said that Pekka Piekäinen was the first Nordic designer whose jewelry was sold in Tiffany stores.

Pekka Piekäinen signed his jewelry with the responsibility mark “PP” in cursive handwriting or with a mark shaped as two Ps joined together.

Ateljé Stigbert (founded 1920)

Ateljé Stigbert is one of the best-known producers of Swedish modernist jewelry from the 1950s, but its history dates back even further.

In the 1920s, a man named Heribert Engelbert started his jewelry business in Sweden. During the 1940s, his son, Stig Engelbert, took over the business, and by the late 1940s, he established Ateljé Stigbert. During this period, designs were characterized by straight geometric shapes, shiny surfaces, and faceted rock crystals.

In 1962, Stig Engelbert’s sons, Lars and Peter Engelbert, assumed control of the business, and in 2013, the fourth-generation Engelbert, Oscar Engelbert, took over the company.

During the 1960s, Ateljé Stigbert expanded its presence to New York.

Ateljé Stigbert marked their jewelry with the responsibility mark ‘Stigbert,’ while early pieces bore two sets of responsibility marks: one for Ateljé Stigbert (‘Stigbert’) and another for Heribert Engelbert (‘HE’).

Liisa Vitali (1918-1987)

Liisa Vitali was a Finnish jewelry designer known for her modernist designs, often inspired by nature.

Her most famous designs include the Leppäkerttu (meaning ladybug) and Pitsi (meaning lace) series. These designs feature circular cut-outs reminiscent of lunar craters, crafted in silver, or less commonly, gold. When examining Liisa Vitali’s jewelry, one can easily discern the love she had for nature, evident in the names she chose for her various series.

Born in Finland, Liisa Vitali began her career in jewelry-making in the 1950s, operating from her home workshop. Her work was exported worldwide, and Princess Margaret was reportedly a fan of Liisa Vitali.

Liisa Vitali signed her jewelry with the responsibility mark ‘Liisa.

Claës E Giertta (1926-2007)

Claës E Giertta was born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1926. He was a baron, as well as a remarkable entrepreneur and marketer, considering himself to be an artist and designer of precious metals and stones.

Giertta was educated at the Swedish University of Arts, Crafts, and Design in Stockholm (Swedish: Konstfack), and he opened his own workshop in Stockholm in the 1950s.

Until the beginning of the 1980s, Claës E Giertta participated in approximately thirty exhibitions in Sweden and abroad, including Copenhagen, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Moscow.

During the 1960s, Giertta, along with his fellow silversmiths Rey Urban and Lars Fleming (the son of one of the founders of Atelier Borgila), embarked on a praised multi-year tour around Sweden, exhibiting under the name “Tre Smeder” (English: The Three Smiths). Through their unique creations, they demonstrated how, as modern jewelry artists and skilled silversmiths, they treated materials in a way that the material’s inherent beauty fascinated as much as the design itself. Their goal was to demonstrate that jewelry truly adorned and could serve as a personal expression for its wearer.

Claës E Giertta once said, ‘A handicraft product has a soul, life, and warmth.’

In 1969, Giertta designed the Swedish music industry’s newly established Swedish Grammy trophy, equivalent to the United States Grammy. The Giertta Grammy design remained in use until 2007. Additionally, Giertta received various sculpture and interior design commissions from prominent companies such as VOLVO and one of Sweden’s largest banks, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (SEB).

Giertta also completed a series of assignments for Swedish churches, one of the most notable being when he, together with one of the first Swedish female priests, Margit Sahlin, designed the ordination cross for the first female ordination in 1960.

Claës E Giertta signed his jewelry with the responsibility mark ‘GIERTTA,’ either in cursive handwriting or as ‘GIE’.

Elis Kauppi (1921–2004)

Elis Kauppi emerged as a luminary in Finnish jewelry design, celebrated for his seminal contributions to modernist jewelry. As a trailblazer, Kauppi played a pivotal role in elevating Finland’s reputation on the global stage as a distinguished jewelry-making nation. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Kauppi eschewed personal branding on his creations; instead, his works were identified by the hallmark of his studio, Kupittaan Kulta Oy. This company was founded in 1945 when Kauppi, alongside fellow goldsmiths Pekka Kivipuro and Jorma Nurmi, was just 24 years old.

As the artistic director of Kupittaan Kulta Oy, Kauppi’s primary focus lay in the realms of jewelry design. His formal education in the arts commenced at the Turku Drawing School during the 1930s, followed by further mentorship under Willy Baer, a German-born artisan. Additionally, Kauppi honed his skills as an engraver at Auran Kultaseppä Oy in Turku.

Kauppi’s design ethos was marked by the use of native Finnish gemstones such as spectrolite and garnet, which he incorporated into designs characterized by simplicity and restrained elegance. Despite drawing inspiration from the natural world, Kauppi maintained a pragmatic perspective on the commercial aspects of jewelry design, acknowledging the need to balance creative expression with market demands and production schedules.

Theresia Hvorslev (1935-2024)

Theresia Hvorslev began experimenting with jewelry at the age of 13 after watching her two brothers make pewter soldiers. Her early creations were crafted in a small workshop in a carpentry shed and several of these early pieces were successfully sold to various stores, including the Paul U. Bergström fashion department store (PUB) in central Stockholm. In her twenties, Theresia Hvorslev attended the HKS School of Arts in Stockholm, after which she began working for Georg Jensen in Copenhagen. She successfully participated in several international design competitions, notably winning the jewelry industry’s equivalent of the Oscars, the Diamond International Award, three times. She is the only person in Scandinavia to have won the award three times.

Theresia Hvorslev continued her career as a jewelry designer for companies such as Alton and Mema. At Mema, she created several cutlery models including Theresia, Thema, and Tradition. A revised version of the Tradition cutlery collection was later used by the Swedish Airline company Scandinavian Airlines, SAS, on their international flights for more than 30 years.

Her works are today represented in several prominent institutions, including the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, the Röhsska Museum of Design and Craft in Gothenburg, and the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York, among others.

About US

At Preference by Ebba, you can safely purchase fashionable, high-quality, and unique vintage jewelry along with other timeless items. Our preference lies in jewelry designed by Scandinavian and Finnish internationally well-known silversmiths and…

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Contact

Ebba +34 711 020 383
Ian +46 (0)708 62 25 82
info@preferencebyebba.com

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