Sunday, August 31, 2014

Jacob Hookaylo and the Winged Bridge Maker


Winged Bridge Maker cufflink, circa 1925.


One of the delights of antique cufflinks is exploring the history and forgotten works of the makers of these miniature master pieces. Over the past 150 years firms creating fine jewelry in the United States have numbered at least several hundred, if not more. No doubt a large percentage of these jewelers created cufflinks.


Winged Bridge Maker cufflink, circa 1925.


In several earlier notes (see list below) I discussed the cufflinks of one of these makers ... the Winged Bridge Maker. Nicknamed for the distinctive wing-like bridges that unite the ends of the cufflinks, this maker created beautiful white and yellow gold cufflinks during the early Art Deco period. The cufflinks feature finely engraved centers surrounded by bold geometric and foliate borders. They sparkle with the jazzy exuberance of the 1920s.


Reverse of cufflinks by Winged Bridge maker.


The cufflinks are identified by the distinctive bridge design, as well as the quality of the craftsmanship, beauty of the center engraving and bold border work. However, beyond that there are no maker's marks or other clues to the identity of the Winged Bridge Maker. The only marking on the bridges is "14K" for the purity of the gold. Until recently, the maker of these elegant cufflinks has been a mystery.



Jacob Hookaylo cufflink, circa 1925.


The mystery of the Winged Bridge Maker was solved with the help of the above cufflink. Beneath a shimmering layer of dark magenta enamel this cufflink is identical to the example pictured at the beginning of this note. They both have yellow gold centers finely engraved with a pattern of wavy lines creating an optical illusion of stacked boxes. They both have white gold borders with geometric motifs and radiant palmette corners.

The enameled cufflink was created by Jacob Hookaylo, a jeweler of Ukrainian descent who immigrated to the United States and founded a self-named jewelry workshop in Newark, New Jersey around 1920. The cufflink at the beginning of this note is attributed to the Winged Bridge Maker.



Reverse of Jacob Hookaylo cufflink.


On the reverse of the enameled cufflink a winged bridge connects the two ends. The center of the bridge is stamped with the maker's mark of the Hookaylo firm - and "H" within a lateral paralellogram.



Jacob Hookaylo maker's mark.


The bridge of the signed cufflink is angular with hints of Greek key and other geometric motifs. The design reflects the Art Deco aesthetic of the 1920s. The bridges of the unsigned cufflinks are more flowing with an Art Nouveau sensibility, although the cufflinks clearly date from the 1920s as indicated by the use of white gold. The changing bridge design, as well as the introduction of enamel work, may reflect the evolution of the Hookaylo firm as it adapted to the changing fashions of the Jazz Age.


Jacob Hookaylo "Winged Bridge" cufflink, circa 1925.


Based on the above, I strongly believe that the Hookaylo firm created the cufflinks identified as work of the Winged Bridge Maker. In short, I believe Jacob Hookaylo is the Winged Bridge Maker.

Of course any such attribution warrants several caveats. Identifying Jacob Hookaylo with the Winged Bridge Maker is, at this time, based on a single pair of signed cufflinks which strongly resembles the cufflinks attributed to the Winged Bridge Maker. As other signed pairs come to light or if documentary evidence is found (for example Hookaylo trade catalogs, receipts, design patents, etc...) the attribution will be strengthened. Currently little is known about Jacob Hookaylo and the firm he founded. Given the beauty of the cufflinks, further research into the firm and its founder would be well worth the effort.

A second caveat regards the maker's mark. Jacob Hookaylo was not the only jewelry manufacturer to employee a maker's mark with an "H" inside a parallelogram. Dorothy Rainwater's invaluable reference, American Jewelry Manufacturers, identifies two other jewelry maker's with similar marks - Haltom Industries of Ft. Worth, Texas and J&L Hartzberg of New York City. Haltom Industries was founded in 1948 and employed an "H" in a square diamond shape as its maker's maker. The dissimilarity of the maker's mark and the date of the firm's founding preclude it as the maker of the above enameled cufflink or as a candidate for the Winged Bridge Maker.


Winged Bridge cufflink, circa 1925


The second firm J&L Hartzberg is a more interesting. Dorothy Rainwater identifies J&L Hartzberg as "manufacturers of platinum jewelry" and trade references indicate that the firm was active during the 1920s. During this period the hand-crafting of platinum rings and other jewels for important diamonds and colored gemstones was based in New York City. I suspect that J&L Hartzberg participated in this trade. It seems unlikely that the firm was involved in the manufacture of cufflinks, although until the Hookaylo attribution is strengthened this always remains a possibility.


Earlier notes about the Winged Bridge Maker:
Antique Cufflinks: Mystery Makers
The "Winged Bridge" Maker
The "Winged Bridge" Maker - II


These and other fine cufflinks can be found in
the Antique Cufflink Gallery.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Recent Additions - Cufflinks and Stickpins


Recent additions to the Antique Cufflink Gallery include an Art Deco onyx dress set, luminous mother-of-pearl cufflinks from Carter, Howe, striking Art Deco cufflinks from Jacob Hookaylo, elegant Carrington cufflinks with richly engraved tops, and a brilliant pair of Art Deco pinstripes.


Carter, Gough onyx dress set. (J9217)

Black Tie  Art Deco dress set with black onyx centers surrounded by contrasting white gold borders engraved with concentric circles.  Created by Carter, Gough in 14kt white and yellow gold,  circa 1925.    Cost:  $1,875


Carter, Howe mother-of-pearl cufflinks. (J9205)

Wisdom and Victory  Creamy white mother-of-pearl centers surrounded by elegant gold borders that hint of stylized laurel wreathes.  The luminescent mother of pearl beautifully picks up the warm, yellow glow of the gold.  Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1900.    Cost:  $785


Art Deco guilloche enamel cufflinks. (J9210)

Art Deco Enamel  Elegant Art Deco cufflinks with jazzy guilloche enamel centers surrounded by white gold borders of stylized palmettes and intricate geometric motifs.  Created by Jacob Hookaylo in 14kt gold,  circa 1925.    Cost:  $1,075


Carrington elegantly engraved cufflinks. (J7263)

Carrington Elegance  In the early 20th century Carrington & Co. was renowned for elegantly designed, impeccably crafted cufflinks.  This finely engraved pair is a wonderful example.  Crafted in 14kt gold,  circa 1920.    Cost:  $1,075


Jazzy Art Deco pinstripe cufflinks. (J9220)

Art Deco Pinstripes  Art Deco cufflinks with jazzy pinstripe centers, radiant "wave" corners and a repeated geometric motif that glitters like confetti falling from a ballroom ceiling.  Crafted in 14kt gold,  circa 1925.    Cost:  $785

In the Antique Stickpin Gallery recent additions include a devilish Pan set with a small diamond and fiery eyes and an elegant stickpin by Hans Brassler set with jade.


Pan with diamond stickpin. (J9065)

Pan  The god of wild places and shepherds watches with an impish grin and fiery red garnet eyes.  A sparkling small diamond sits atop this richly detailed stickpin.  Crafted in 14kt gold,  circa 1900.    Cost:  $425


Hans Brassler jade stickpin. (J9191)

Deco Jade  A luminous green jade hinting of early Art Deco is set beneath flowing Art Nouveau curves and Classical laurel wreath borders.  A wonderful example of the elegant, imaginative jewels created by Hans Brassler.  Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1910.    Cost:  $785


These and other fine jewels can be found in
the Antique and Estate Jewelry Galleries


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer Greetings!



Victorian moss agate cuff button, circa 1900.

Vacation season is here! While acquiring new cufflinks for the gallery and following up with research into the history of cufflinks, I have found several days to enjoy the warmer water at the beach and head north to hike the mountains of New Hampshire. I hope everyone is enjoying an equally pleasant summer.

Soon I will be posting several recent additions to the gallery and at the end of the month unravel the mystery of the Winged Bridge maker.

Until then I leave you with the above late Victorian cuff button set with one of my favorite gemstones - moss agate. The swirling green inclusions of this elegant variety of quartz are inescapably reminiscent of the seaweed beds I see while swimming at the beach.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Recent Additions - Cufflinks and Stickpins


Recent additions to the Antique Cufflink Gallery include striking Victorian moss agate bean backs, a pair of Krementz roaring lions, Art Deco green and gold cufflinks from Larter & Sons and a mysterious Art Nouveau warrior princess from Link & Angell.


Victorian moss agate cufflinks. (J9212)

Moss Agate  Victorian moss agate cufflinks featuring a swirling tangle of green inclusions that brings to mind seaweed floating in filtered sunlight along the ocean floor.  Crafted in 10kt gold,  circa 1900.
Cost:  $765


Krementz roaring lion cufflinks. (J9174)

Roaring Lions  A roaring lion announces his authority among the windblown grasses of the savanna.  The lion is beautifully sculpted with a flowing golden mane and fierce, piercing eyes.  Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1900. Cost:  $885


Larter 14kt yellow gold and green enamel cufflinks. (J9213)

Green and Gold   An elegant pair of gold cufflinks with green enamel accents.  The beautifully engraved centers teem with jazzy, undulating lines that create a rippling, wave-like pattern.  Crafted in 14kt gold,  circa 1920. Cost:  $785


Art Nouveau heroine cufflinks. (J9211)

Warrior-Princess  Art Nouveau jewelers often celebrated heroines from myth and history.  These cufflinks feature a warrior-princess with a resolute stare and flowing golden tresses.  Crafted in sterling and silver-gilt, circa 1900. Cost:  $385



In the Antique Stickpin Gallery recent additions include a striking Egyptian Revival stickpin set with a bright sapphire from the Art Deco period.


Egyptian Revival stickpin with sapphire. (J9206)

Deco Egypt  Alternating papyrus stalks and palmettes surround a brightly glowing sapphire.  A striking example of the Egyptian theme jewels of the Art Deco era.  Crafted in 14kt gold,  circa 1920.    Cost:  $465


These and other fine jewels can be found in
the Antique and Estate Jewelry Galleries


Monday, June 30, 2014

A Parade of Colorful Cufflinks


Summer is here! White clouds are floating across the blue sky, the garden is abloom with flowers, and brightly colored towels and umbrellas decorate the beach. What better way to celebrate the beginning of summer than with a parade of colorful cufflinks. And, since Independence Day is just around the corner, we will start the parade with some red, white and blue fireworks.


William Huger carnelian cufflinks.

Arresting, sultry red carnelians set in bright yellow gold. The striking contrast of the red carnelian and yellow gold settings reflects the bold colors and contrasts favored during the Art Deco era. Created by Wm. Huger & Co. in 14kt gold, circa 1925.


Sansbury & Nellis white chalcedony cufflinks.

Translucent, foggy white chalcedony (a fine grained variety of quartz) set in rose gold. The luminous chalcedonies brings to mind early morning fog burning off with the first rays of the sun. A nice example of the striking white jewels of the late Art Deco period. Crafted in 14kt rose gold, circa 1930.


George Street lapis lazuli cufflinks.

Regal blue lapis lazuli wedded with the warmth of antique gold. The interplay of the rich blue of the gemstones and warm yellow of the gold speaks of the elegance of the past. Created by George O. Street & Sons in 14kt gold, circa 1900.


Sansbury & Nellis bloodstone cufflinks.

Heliotrope, more commonly known as "bloodstone," is a beautiful gemstone with bright red spots set in dark green jasper. The finest examples have the mesmerizing appearance of fiery embers smoldering in a dark bed of ashes. These Art Deco cufflinks feature elongated oval heliotropes set in bright yellow gold. Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1920.


Lapis lazuli and gold cufflinks.

During the Art Deco era the passion for bold, dramatic colors found ready expression in lapis lazuli. The rich blue of the lapis set in these cufflinks is accented with small bits of pyrite (fools gold) that shimmer and sparkle like golden confetti falling in the midnight sky. These elegant cufflinks capture the festive, raucous spirit of the Jazz Age. Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1925.


Victorian moss agate sleeve buttons.

Victorian sleeve buttons with mesmerizing moss agates. The moss agates feature a swirling tangle of green inclusions that glow like seaweed floating in filtered sunlight above the ocean floor. The gemstones are set in gold frames with richly engraved leaves and scrolls. Crafted in 10kt gold, circa 1900.


Larter & Sons hawk's eye tuxedo set.

An elegant tuxedo set with hawk's eyes in yellow gold. Hawk's Eye is a striking variety of quartz with deep blue edges shading into a glowing, bluish-gray "cat's eye" across the middle. The shimmering cat's eye effect (or "chatoyancy") and color of the gemstones plays beautifully against the warm tones of the yellow gold. This dress set was created by Larter & Sons in 14kt gold, circa 1950.


These and other fine cufflinks can be found in
the Antique Cufflink Gallery.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Recent Additions - Cufflinks and Stickpins


Recent additions to the Antique Cufflink Gallery include an elegant pair of platinum and pearl cufflinks by Carrington and Tiger Eye spool cufflinks from Sansbury & Nellis.


Carrington pearl and platinum cufflinks. (J9160)

Platinum and Pearl  Luminous pearl and mother-of-pearl centers surrounded by wreathes of stylized laurel leaves.   Beautifully designed and impeccably crafted by Carrington & Co. in 14kt gold and platinum,  circa 1925.    Cost:  $925


Sansbury & Nellis Tiger Eye cufflinks crafted in 14kt gold. (J9207)

Tiger Eye  Striking spool cufflinks with beautiful Tiger Eyes set in yellow gold.  The domed Tiger Eye gemstones are brown accented with rich honey yellow "eyes."  Created by Sansbury & Nellis, circa 1920.    Cost:  $785



In the Antique Stickpin Gallery recent additions include a striking turquoise stickpin created by Hayden Wheeler and an inquisitive, diamond-seeking serpent from Carter, Howe.


Hayden Wheeler turquoise stickpin. (J9195)

Wheeler Turquoise  A striking turquoise floats like a small planet amid swirling curves.  This stickpin beautifully weds the flowing curves of Art Nouveau with the symmetry and Medieval themes favored by the Arts & Crafts movement.  Crafted in 14kt gold,  circa 1900.
Cost:  $425


Carter, Howe serpent and diamond stickpin. (J9209)

Wheeler Turquoise  A striking turquoise floats like a small planet amid swirling curves.  This stickpin beautifully weds the flowing curves of Art Nouveau with the symmetry and Medieval themes favored by the Arts & Crafts movement.  Crafted in 14kt gold,  circa 1900.
Cost:  $425


These and other fine jewels can be found in
the Antique and Estate Jewelry Galleries


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Carrington Cufflinks and Mr. Goldsplat, the Mysterious Jeweler


Carrington onyx and diamond cufflink, circa 1920.

Founded in 1900, Carrington & Co. created elegant gold and platinum cufflinks during the first half of the 20th century. In addition to fine cufflinks, the firm was renowned for elegant dress sets, vanity cases, lockets and other jewels. Carrington cufflinks and accessories were retailed by the finest jewelers of the day including Tiffany & Co. and Cartier.


Reverse of Carrington onyx and diamond cufflinks.

Although the fronts of antique cufflinks are what first attract us, a careful examination of the backs is rewarding in its own way. The backs often provide clues as to the maker and age of the cufflinks, as well as the quality of the craftsmanship and the purity of the materials. This note focusses on the maker's marks and precious metal indicia found on the cufflinks of Carrington & Co.


Maker's mark.

The Carrington maker’s mark was a squared, angular “C” surrounding "14" or "18" which indicates the purity of the gold. The maker's mark is most often found on the reverse of the cufflinks, although occasionally it is stamped on the side of the cross bar.

Although most Carrington cufflinks were created in 14kt gold, every so often you come across a pair that is crafted in 18kt gold. The 18kt pairs may have been special commissions created at the request of a client or retailer.


Shirt stud with "C14" mark.

In dress sets, the vest buttons were signed like the cufflinks with a squared "C" enclosing a gold purity mark. Shirts studs, because of their small size, were simply signed with a diminutive "C14" or "C18" along the shank.


Carrington platinum and gold cufflink, circa 1925.

Carrington worked with platinum as well as gold. The firm created beautiful mixed-metal cufflinks with striking platinum borders and richly engraved platinum tops over solid gold backs. The above example features platinum borders with etched mother-of-pearl centers. The backs and linkage are crafted in 14kt yellow gold.

In addition to the Carrington maker's mark, the gold and platinum cufflinks are stamped with "GOLD&PLAT." on the reverse. This mixed-metal mark is fairly small and at times can be obscured by wear. This occasionally leads to some confusion.


Carrington mixed-metal mark.

Every so often I receive an inquiry about a pair of cufflinks signed by a mysterious jewelry maker named "GOLDSPLAT". At other times I am asked about cufflinks signed with a "C" and "14" and marked "GOLD PLATED". Needless to say, the Goldsplat signature is a misreading of the gold and platinum mark and, to the best of my knowledge, Carrington & Co. never created gold plated cufflinks.


Carrington platinum cufflinks, circa 1920.

Last, but not least, are the all platinum cufflinks. One of the more desired rarities in the world of antique cufflinks are the beautifully engraved platinum cuff jewels created by Carrington & Co. in limited numbers during the 1920s. The above photograph illustrates a mesmerizing example.


Carrington platinum mark.

The Carrington solid platinum cufflinks are simply marked "PLATINUM". There are no squared "C"s or other marks indicating that the cufflinks were created by Carrington & Co. The cufflinks are attributed to Carrington based on the quality of the craftsmanship, the pattern of the engraving, and the design of the brackets and linkage. Like the 18kt gold cufflinks, the solid platinum cufflinks may have only been created as special commissions when requested by a client or retailer.


Carrington cufflinks in the Retro style, circa 1950.


For half a century Carrington & Co. created fine cufflinks and dress sets. During most of this period the Carrington maker's mark and precious metal marks remained unchanged. However, in the years following World War II the marks were modified. In this period, Carrington was creating cufflinks in a heavier, bolder style that in recent years has come to be known as "Retro". These glittering examples of mid-century modernism were signed with the amended mark.


Maker's Mark, circa 1950.

The new mark features an elongated, less boxy "C" with "14K" appended to the right. What prompted this change, perhaps to make the gold purity more explicit or to comply with a regulatory change, is unknown. The new mark appears to have been limited to cufflinks crafted in 14kt. I have not come across a pair of 18kt gold cufflinks similarly marked. The new mark appears to have been used from the mid 1940s until the firm's closure around 1950.


Keller maker's mark.

The later Carrington mark is sometimes confused with the similar mark of another cufflink maker, Charles Keller & Company. Charles Keller & Co. was a prolific maker of gold and platinum cufflinks from 1885 to about 1930. The Keller maker's mark, shown above, is a rounded "C" enclosing the gold purity followed by a "K". Here the "K" does double duty as the initial for both karat and Keller. At times Keller cufflinks have been misidentified as the work of Carrington. Because Keller cufflinks can be less valuable, it pays to know your marks.


Fine cufflinks from Carrington & Co. and other notable makers
can be found in the Antique Cufflink Gallery.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Recent Additions - Cufflinks and Stickpins


Recent additions to the Antique Cufflink Gallery have an architectural theme. They include a striking pair of Gothic Revival cufflinks with blue sapphires and elegant two-tone cufflinks with intricate arabesque designs.


JR Woods Gothic revival cufflinks with sapphires. (J9200)

Gothic Sapphire The architecture of the Gothic era is reflected in the design of these elegant gold cufflinks set with bright blue sapphires.; Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1920. Cost:  $975


Art Deco arabesque cufflinks. (J9198)

Arabesque Beautifully engraved arabesque centers reminiscent of the Moorish architecture of medieval Spain surrounded by bright Art Deco borders with rising sun and lotus motifs. Crafted in platinum and 14kt gold, circa 1925. Cost:  $625



In the Antique Stickpin Gallery recent additions include a glowing angel skin coral stickpin created by Hans Brassler.


Brassler stickpin with glowing angle skin coral. (J9130)

Angel Skin  A glowing angel skin coral cabochon sits in the middle of flowing, golden frame. The rich patina of the gold gives this stickpin a sense of ancient mystery. Created by Hans Brassler in 14kt gold, circa 1910. Cost:  $625


These and other fine jewels can be found in
the Antique and Estate Jewelry Galleries


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Antique Cufflink Library



Art Deco cufflinks with diamonds, circa 1930.

April is traditionally a quiet month in the estate jewelry trade. After the hubbub of the holiday season and the first quarter rush of post-Christmas self-purchasers, Valentine's Day gift givers and early bridal shoppers, the relative quiet of April is a welcome pause. It gives me a chance to travel a little, tackle some projects outside the gallery, and in general relax. One of the projects I undertook during this brief sabbatical was to organize and update the articles I have written over the years about antique cufflinks and other estate jewels.

To make the articles more readily accessible and help a broader audience find them I have created an online library at www.ElegantCufflink.com. Although the library currently includes only about a half dozen articles, I will be posting additional articles in the coming weeks. I plan to have the online library fully "stocked" by the end of summer.

Meanwhile, I hope you find the articles enjoyable and informative. As always, if you have any suggestions, questions, or comments, just send me a note through this blog or to my email address - arthur@jewelryexpert.com.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Recent Additions - Cufflinks and Stickpins


Recent additions to the Antique Cufflink Gallery include an elegant pair of Carrington onyx and diamond cufflinks, Art Deco cufflinks with an endless tangle of squiggles, shimmering cat's eyes set in mid century cufflinks by L.E. Garrigus and fraternal cufflinks from the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks.


Carrington onyx and diamond cufflinks. (J9144)

Onyx and Diamond  Black onyx set with sparkling diamonds is perhaps the epitome of Art Deco elegance.  These beautifully crafted cufflinks were created by Carrington & Co. in 14kt gold around 1925.
Cost:  Sold


Art Deco Infinite Squiggle cufflinks. (J9179)

Infinite Squiggles  A seemingly endless tangle of golden squiggles give these elegant cufflinks a shimmering affect reminiscent of fine, watered silk.  Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1930.    Cost  $675


L.E. Garrigus cat's eye chrysoberl cufflinks. (J8977)

Art Moderne  Abstract cuff sculpture that beautifully captures the stark, modern designs of the mid century.  Set with shimmering cat's eye chrysoberyls.  Crafted in 14kt gold,  circa 1950.    Cost:  Sold


The Order of the Elks cufflinks. (J9192)

Order of the Elks  The elk, clock and star are symbols of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks.  These richly detailed cufflinks were likely worn by a loyal member of the local lodge.  Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1920.    Cost: $625



In the Antique Stickpin Gallery recent additions include a striking Egyptian Revival stickpin by Hans Brassler, an elegant Belle Epoque stickpin from France and a roaring lion with fiery ruby eyes.


Hans Brassler Egyptian Revival stickpin. (J9136)

Pharaohs and Scarab  An Egyptian Revival stickpin with two Pharaohs flanking a heliotrope (bloodstone) scarab.  The two Pharaohs and other design elements are finely sculpted with a rich patina that throws the myriad details into high relief.  Created by Hans Brassler in 14kt gold, circa 1910.    Cost:  $885


French Belle Epoque stickpin. (J9184)

Belle Epoque  A beautifully designed French stickpin from the Belle Epoque period set with sparkling rose-cut diamonds, a luminous pearl and bright ruby.  Finely crafted in 18kt gold and platinum,  circa 1900.
Cost:  $775


Lion and diamond stickpin. (J9188)

Roaring Lion  A lion roars while clutching a sparkling diamond in his mouth.  The lion's fierce aspect is accented with fiery red eyes (likely rubies or garnets).  Crafted in 14kt gold,  circa 1900.    Cost:  $475


These and other fine jewels can be found in
the Antique and Estate Jewelry Galleries