Vesterheim gets a gift

A super sølje is unveiled


Vesterheim Chief Curator Laurann Gilbertson and Vesterheim President/CEO Chris Johnson proudly display what is believed to be the largest sølje in the world, created by Sylvsmidja in Voss, Norway.

Decorah, Iowa

During the celebrations last month for the dedication of the new Commons building at Vesterheim, the National Norwegian-American Museum and Folk Art School in Decorah, Iowa, the Sylvsmidja company from Voss, Norway, unveiled a gift to Vesterheim—the largest sølje currently in the world.

The style of the piece is rosesølje or rose brooch, the oldest known style of Norwegian brooch. It has been used all over Norway, which makes it a perfect style to share as a presentation piece.

About 10.1 pounds of recycled silver were used to create this beautiful piece that is 15.5 inches in diameter. The piece now hangs on display in Vesterheim Commons.


The huge sølje was created with about 10.1 pounds of recycled silver and is 15.5 inches in diameter.

The main body of the sølje was cast in 830/1,000 silver, and the 10-wire edge leaves (or the spoons) are pressed out of 830/1000 silver with a specially made tool, and then gilded with gold.

Because of the size of the sølje, it was cast in 27 silver parts, which were later joined together. To keep the silver parts of the sølje shiny and minimally affected by oxidation, it is coated with a thin layer of the precious metal rhodium.

The frame on which the sølje is attached, is made from Norwegian wood and covered with black leather.

A large number of hands were involved in making the sølje, but it has been excellently designed and assembled by Sylvsmidja’s master craftsman Zoltan Stier. He also made the frame to which the sølje is attached.

Photos of courtesy of Vesterheim

This article originally appeared in the November 2023 issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.