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The History of Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith

The Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith Workshop was born from passion of creativity and experimentation.

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. 


Jens Hansen, 14 July 1940 to 10 August 1999

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.
*Jens Hansen – Gold & Silversmith is the designer and maker of The Movie Ring (the rings made for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie trilogies), The One Ring™ (made exclusively for Weta Workshop under their license from Warner Bros.) and The Jens Hansen Replica Ring (the replica rings available from Jens Hansen – Gold & Silversmith). Jens Hansen is an authorized stockist and reseller of the Weta Jens Hansen The One Ring™. Jens Hansen is not otherwise authorised, endorsed, affiliated or otherwise associated with Tolkein Enterprises, The Saul Zaentz Company (owner of the trade marks LORD OF THE RINGS, THE HOBBIT and THE ONE RING), New Line Productions or Warner Bros.

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