The first Nelson workshop, set up in 1968, was in the front room of the family home at 8 Alton Street. This quickly became a centre for the local arts community, where Jens's talent, energy, enthusiasm, and outspoken personality drew people in from all over the world, and where Jens trained, worked with and influenced many of New Zealand's leading contemporary jewellers.
Jens had an unusually broad training in gold and silversmithing in both New Zealand and Europe. From these traditional practices he combined design elements from other disciplines such as sculpture, architecture and art. He found new ways of working outside traditional structures.
Even after Jens’ death in 1999, his passion, pioneering outlook and creativity continues to infiltrate the vibrant Nelson arts’ scene. The workshop’s influence still resonates in New Zealand’s creative industries, as Jens Hansen’s spirit and teaching live on through the workshop’s current craftsmen.
Honesty, originality, creativity, quality and the ability to converse with the creator continue to set Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith above all others. In this day and age it's pleasing to know that these traits are still honoured and deeply engrained in every piece created in our workshop.
|1940||Born in Gram, Denmark.|
|1952||Emigrated to New Zealand from Odense, Denmark.|
|1955||Traditional apprenticeship at Sweeney's Jewellers Auckland & painting classes with Garth Tapper.|
|1960||Solo exhibition of silverware at New Vision Gallery Auckland.|
|1962||Left New Zealand to study in Europe.|
|1962–1965||Worked at Michelsen's, the Court Jewellers, & Borups in Copenhagen. Studied at School of Applied Arts & Industrial design, Copenhagen.|
|1964||Participated in exhibition at Guild Hall, Copenhagen.|
|1965||Returned to New Zealand. Worked at A. Kohn Jeweller, Auckland & attended sculpture workshop with Jim Allen.|
|1966||Started own business in Glen Eden, then in Titirangi, Auckland.|
|1968||Moved to Nelson and opened Jens Hansen Gold & Silversmith at 8 Alton Street.|
|1970||Moved workshop to Hardy Street.|
|1970s & 1980s||Ran summer school classes in sculpture and painting.|
|1973||Moved workshop to 320 Trafalgar Square.|
|1975–1976||Received Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council grant to work at Goldsmiths High School, Copenhagen. Studied painting, Copenhagen.|
|1977||Returned to New Zealand.|
|1980s||With Gavin Hitchings established jewellery classes at Nelson Polytechnic.|
|1980s||Advisor to Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand.|
|1983||Founding member Details, the Jewellers, Bone & Stone Carvers of New Zealand.|
|1990 & 1995||Artist in Residence, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin.|
|1968–1998||Exhibited in over 30 solo exhibitions. Participated in a large number of group exhibitions in New Zealand, Australia & Europe.|
|1999||Commissioned to make the 'Movie Ring' for The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Sons Thorkild and Halfdan continue the legacy of Jens Hansen Contemporary Gold & Silversmith.|
|2004||The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa selects key Jens Hansen jewellery works for the Permanent Collection.|
|2008||40th Anniversary Collection released.|