All the jewellery is handcrafted, original, precious and crafted 'to be worn'. This simple philosophy rewards us with creative pieces that we can all embrace, afford and love, and was also why New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson asked Jens Hansen to design and make the Movie Ring* for his film versions of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings™ and The Hobbit™ books.
Danish-born Jens (pronounced ‘Yens’) moved to Auckland, New Zealand in 1952, where he completed a traditional jewellers apprenticeship. In 1960 he held his first solo exhibition at New Vision gallery. His journeyman years included time in Copenhagen, with Royal Danish Court Jewellers, A. Michelsen. In 1968, Jens settled in Nelson with his wife Gurli and Halfdan, his first son. For more history, see towards the end of this page.
All pieces made today by our in-house team of internationally experienced jewellers carry the Jens Hansen signature hallmark, which is your lifetime guarantee of workmanship.
The Maker's Mark:
Recreations of Jens’ original ready-to-wear designs also carry his own personal maker’s mark; a version of the Chi-Rho. Long used as an omen of good luck, as it was similar to the pagan word for gold, it was used in the first centuries by believers to mark possessions, and later became the emblem of the imperial standard of Roman Emperor Constantine.
The World's Most Famous Ring:
"My father knew and loved The Lord of the Rings™ and was very excited when he heard that Peter Jackson was going to film it in New Zealand. Then came a phone call asking if he would make The One Ring - he was thrilled and honoured." - Thorkild Hansen
We all know there is only one The One Ring in the famous books, but Jens and his son, goldsmith Thorkild Hansen, made more than 40 variations of the Movie Ring* for the films. These were scaled for different scenes and sized to suit its various owners - from smaller solid gold versions that perfectly fit Hobbit's fingers, to the 8-inch ring seen in The Lord of the Rings' prologue spinning and turning through the air.
Our Nelson studio workshop is host to a number of jewellery makers and jewellery experts, who are committed to creating and selling unique, custom, quality jewellery, and continuing the Jens Hansen legacy.
Simon joined the team in 2016, after moving from South Africa to New Zealand. He is an experienced Jeweller and Diamond Setter, and is trade certified by the Mining Qualifications Authority of South Africa.
The Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith Workshop was borne from the 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' talent, energy, enthusiasm, and outspoken personality drew people in from all over the world. From here 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 - The Ringmaker 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.
You can read more about Jens at The Prow - Nelson's Local History (Link opens in new window)
BONUS: Want to know what the Jens Hansen team thinks are the best things to do in Nelson? Click here to learn what you might be missing.
|1940||Born Gram, Denmark.|
|1952||Came 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 & 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 'One 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|
|2011||Made The One Ring for The Hobbit movies|