Sylvsmidja: Superior Craftsmanship in Silver since 1940

February 5 - June 19, 2022

The Norwegian national dress, called bunad, is a profound statement of tradition. Each piece of fabric has a history, a meaning, and a group of people that it represents. Each piece of jewelry, or bunadsølv, from the brooches to the silver clasps on the vests, has just as much care put into it.

Sylvsmidja is Norway’s largest producer of this bunad silver, crafting exquisite jewelry and accessories since 1940. In their new exhibit, you’ll learn more about the history of the company, beginning with the story of silversmith Leif Johannessen and his wife, Betzy, as they moved from Bergen to rural Voss to found this family-owned silversmith business, still in existence today.

The exhibit will highlight a range of traditional bunad silver styles that correspond with the various regional folk costumes in Norway. It will include the well-known sølje, an intricate bunadsølv, often with filigree and/or dangling silver spoons.

Many will note, however, that in the U.S. bunad jewelry is not just worn with a bunad, but also as modern statement pieces for any occasion. The exhibit also will show a selection of Sylvsmidja’s latest line of jewelry fashions and the ways that it has evolved to meet current fashions and trends.

See a selection of pieces from Sylvsmidja available for sale in the Museum Store here.

Special Events:
Watch the video of an online event with Sylvsmidja silversmiths from Norway here.

Enjoy pictures from their visit to Vesterheim here.

This exhibit is made possible by the generous support of the Vesterheim Annual Fund from friends and members like you.