Here is my Swedish grandmother wearing a pin in the shape of a shield at her neck. I believe she made the pin—she was a jeweler, among her other talents. I think the pin’s design was based on the coat of arms used by King Oscar I in 1844 to represent the union of Sweden and Norway. The top of the shield sports two identical intricate crowns. Under the left crown, she fashioned the three Swedish crowns on a background of blue enamel. This was the national emblem of Sweden dating back to the 1300s. It seems there has been some discussion on what the three crowns represented. What do you think?

Some say the three crowns originated with Albrekt of Mecklenburg, who ruled Sweden from 1364 to 1389, and the crowns stood for Sweden, Finland and Mecklenburg. They were definitely found on the coins of Magnus Erikson, marking his kingdoms of Sweden, Norway and Scania (now Skåne, including Malmö). The three crowns had quite a checkered history, even playing a part in a war between Denmark and Sweden when both wanted to use the symbol in 1563.

Under the crowns, there is a silver lion on a tri-corner shield of bold blue and white stripes. This was the first coat of arms of Sweden, also originating in the 1300s. Under the right crown, there is a larger golden lion, wearing his own crown and brandishing an ax on a background of red. This is the coat of arms of Norway, used since the Sverre dynasty in the 1100s.

In the middle of the pin, there is an oval divided in half. The oval represented the arms of the current dynasty of the Bernadottes. On the left, a sheaf of wheat represents the Vasa rule and on the right, a bridge was depicted from the principality of Pontecorvo, a gift from Emperor Napoleon in 1806. The eagle of Napoleon flew over the bridge and seven stars in the sky stood for the Marshal of France. But my grandmother only put five stars – maybe she ran out of room. I guess all Swedes and Norwegians are thoroughly familiar with all this, but I enjoyed finding out about this pin, which I now wear occasionally.

Information is from from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Crowns. Accessed 30 May 2014. Please feel free to correct any mistakes I have made and weigh in on those three crowns.



06/05/2014 7:07pm

What a beautiful pin! And your grandmother was very beautiful too.

I have both Swedish and Norwegian ancestry on my dad's side. His dad was Norwegian and his mom was Swedish.


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