Skip to the content

Velvet belt

The artifact of the week is no. S-540; a belt that belonged to Kristín Símonardóttir (b.1821- d.1907) from Gröf. The belt is made of velvet decorated with a technique known in English as goldwork surface embroidery (embroidery using metal thread, in this case silver). This is common in Icelandic traditional women‘s dress. This particular belt was embroidered by Guðrún Ísleiksdóttir from Skál.
The belt has a buckle made of silver filigree in an Icelandic style that is very typical for the time it was made, around 1850. Filigree is a jewelry technique that is also used a lot in the Icelandic national costume. It has been practiced here since shortly after the country was first settled in the ninth century. However the technique goes all they way back to Sumeria in 2500BC. Often it is easy to find out the origin and maker of silver jewelry because most goldsmiths would put maker's marks on their work, but that has not been done in this case.
This artifact is paired with another, which has its own registration number despite being sewn right onto the belt: The silver button on one side of the belt buckle, nr. S-541. According to the register, the button originally belonged to the coat that one Þorlákur Jónsson from Gröf was wearing, when he died of exposure in Rangárvallaafrétt in 1868. Kristín Bjarnardóttir, granddaughter of the woman who originally owned the belt, sewed the button on at some point before donating the belt to the museum.
(Thanks to the goldsmith Dóra Jónsdóttir for her expert opinion.)

Guided tours

Guided tours are available upon reservation in English, German and Icelandic. Sometimes there is the opportunity to have guided tours in French, Spanish, Norwegian and Danish.

Tour times are from opening time up to 1 hour before closing time.

For group reservations and guided tours please email or call +354 487 8845.