Norway is a country of tradition dating back thousands of years. Famous for its Viking history and stories of bravery in exploration, Norway has much to offer in the way of art, food, sports, culture and even jewelry design. Norway’s jewelry design is a lot like its country; it is functional, minimalist and charming with attention to detail. Gold-plating is very popular in Norwegian jewelry design. This is in part due to the traditional brooches or Bunad brooches, worn for Constitution Day (The 17th of May, marking their Independence from Sweden), which are made of brass or silver and gold-plated. and may have filigree with dangling charms (colorful CZs are now incorporated into modern Bunad brooch designs), as part of the traditional dress costume that both men and women wear.
Scandinavian wedding jewelry is minimalist in that it consists of a plain band for men, either made from gold, rose gold or white gold, silver, platinum, in high-polish, matte, or hammered finish. The feminine wedding rings also consists of a 3-4mm band and may have small diamonds but not a big center stone as seen in Western-style engagement rings.
Norwegian contemporary jewelry designers are branching out from traditional minimalist pieces stylistically by incorporating enamel, text, semi-precious gemstones, and the use of 3D printing into their statement pieces. Norwegians still pride themselves on having excellent bench jewelry practices.
You can find more contemporary pieces at Hasla Jewelry, located in Oslo where I spent the majority of my trip. Hasla features dozens of designers from all over Norway such as; Kaja Gjedebo Jewelry, Mani Kamini Jewelry, Erica Mathiesen Jewelry, Linn Sigrid Bratland Jewelry, Ina Gravem Johansen Jewelry, Maria Black Jewelry, Ulrikke Vogt Jewelry, Bjorg Jewelry, Emalje Smykker, and many more in their ever-changing store’s collections. Some of the inspirations for these collections range from space, to traditional nature like, whimsical sea shells found at the beach (perhaps by the Fjords), and big organic-shaped rings with carnelians, citrine, lapiz, quarts, and other precious gems. You will also find hip-hop inspired necklaces incorporating edgy Old English fonts, while combining many different chain lengths to appear as if thewearer is dripping in gold elegance. Hasla also carries ethnic Indian pieces as well as traditional Bunad brooches in case you aren’t ready to walk on the wild side quite yet.
The rumors are true, Norway is not an inexpensive place for anything, jewelry included. But, you can find reasonably-priced places to eat (try the brown cheese), lots of free things to do (free parks in the summer and skiing is actually free), and if you’re lucky the new Edvard Munch museum might be completed by the time you are ready to visit Norway. In addition to the charming jewelry, which seems to nod to all current trends, there are many reasonably-priced vintage shops and thrift stores where you can find retro and chic clothes to match your hip Norwegian jewelry souvenirs 😉