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Wiwen Nilsson Modernist Ring

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Item 11328

Karl Edvin (Wiwen) Nilsson is known as the first modernist Swedish jeweler. The son of the Court Jeweler to the King of Sweden, he was awarded a gold medal for design at the 1925 Paris Exposition des Arts Decoratifs. From 1925 through 1926 he worked for silversmith and designer Georg Jensen. About a year later he opened his own shop in Stockholm and as his father, appointed Court Jeweler. During the 1930s he concentrated on design and fabrication of jewelry and worked in a strictly geometric style, apparently inspired by the cubists and perhaps to an extent by classic Romanesque forms. His basic forms are built around undecorated surfaces that meet at sharp angles.

This ring is an example of Nilsson’s ascetically rendered geometric style which shows an orderliness of form akin to the structure of a molecule. Stark and most assuredly modern, this simple 18k yellow gold ring is set with a faceted slightly tinged with yellow green beryl. The stepped sculptural approach Nilsson applied to his work is clearly demonstrated in both the mount and the cut of the stone. Some of his works fetched tens of thousands of dollars at recent auctions.

Condition: Very good; slight wear to bezels on each side east and west; very light wear to the beryl commensurate with age and use.

Hallmarks: Wiwen Nilsson mark, “18k”, “L” Lund city stamp “AN”, “M8” date mark (for 1938) and Swedish triple crown.

Measurements: 7/16 of an inch (1.1 cm) in width by 1/2 of an inch (1.2 cm) in height north to south. This ring has a weight of 3.4 dwt and 5.2 grams.

Ring Size: Currently a US 8 1/2 (UK Q 1/4; Euro 18.5; 58.25 mm) and easily sized.

Date & Origin: Circa 1938 and is Swedish in origin.

Notes: A book on Wiwen Nilsson (in Swedish) is available entitled “Silver Smeden, Wiwen Nilsson” by Kersti Holmquist. Pictures of a similar ring are on page 208 and 211