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Verwoerd Ceramics Online   

Delft Jewelry

Delft is not a Factory. Delft is a style. In the 16th century, potters from Faenza in Italy spread tin-glazed earthenware (majolica) skills to France, Spain, and the Netherlands, where it became known as faience.  From Antwerp the technique spread to England, and the English in the 17th century named Dutch faience Delftware, after its main centre of production. Although the city of Delft gave its name to “blue Delft”, and one of the few surviving Delft factories, the “Porceleyne Fles” is based in Delft, several other Dutch cities had similar potteries as well. Throughout this site we use the word “Delft” in combinations like blue Delft, and Delft jewelry for Delft style earthenware made in the Netherlands. We reserve “Delftware” for referring to Delft style pottery produced elsewhere, or for a collection of unknown or mixed origin.

Delft Jewelry - or Delft Jewellery, if you prefer the BE spelling - is the common name for jewelry featuring miniature Delft medallions in a silver setting. Delft jewelry includes necklaces, pendants, earrings, brooches, bracelets, rings, and cufflinks. If you want to go directly to our “Compact Guide To Delft Jewelry Signatures” click here.

Gouda, a major centre of Delft pottery
In the course of the 20th century, by far the largest concentration of pottery or “plateel” factories (plateel = dinner-plateware) could be found in the city of Gouda, due to the existence of a solid basis of clay pipe making since the 1600’s. At some time the Gouda area had over a hundred earthenware and Delft factories. The best known are “Plateelbakkerij Zuid Holland” (PZH), “Plateelbakkerij en Pijpenfabriek Zenith” (ZG), “Goedewaagen’s Pijpen- en Aardewerkfabrieken” (now Goedewaagen Gouda), and “Plateelbakkerij Schoonhoven” (PS) in Schoonhoven, 15 km south of Gouda. The Verwoerd Ceramics Studio started in Gouda in 1949, and in spite of a brief economic recession in 1958, remained in business for more than 25 years. They all feature in our section on Gouda region potteries after the Second World War: The Gouda Pottery List.

Schoonhoven, silver city
As it happens the nearby town of Schoonhoven was also the venue of a thriving silver industry, and Delft silver filigree jewelry can be seen as a marriage of both filigree and Delft. Traditional openwork filigree is made of silver or gold wire that has been twisted into patterns and soldered into place. Imitation filigree can be made of die-cut metal, or can be casted using the lost wax method. For a comprehensive overview of Schoonhoven silversmiths active after 1940 see our section on Dutch and Schoonhoven Silver Marks. The Delft insert used in filigree jewelry typically has a cabochon shape, i.e. a small medallion with a domed surface, and is usually showing a miniature windmill landscape. See our Windmill Series for a full display of all models from the Verwoerd Studio. Other designs are known - such as sailing ships, flowers, and palm tree sceneries - but these are less common. See Rare Delft Designs for further details. There is more information on the production process under Manufacturing Delft Medallions, and for a crash course in recognizing a Verwoerd piece, click How to recognize.