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


Monday, March 31, 2014

Later & Sons Art Nouveau Cufflinks



Larter & Sons Art Nouveau cufflink, circa 1900.


Larter & Sons created cufflinks and other gentleman's jewelry during the late 19th century and through much of the 20th century. They were a prolific maker. Their output ranged from fine gold and gem-set cufflinks to less expensive, but well made, links and dress sets crafted in base metal. As with their equally prolific competitor Krementz & Co., the longevity of Larter & Sons was in large part attributable to the firm's prescience in adapting to changing fashion and economic conditions.

The brief efflorescence of the Art Nouveau style in the early 1900s was one such fashion change. Although Larter & Sons was not a major proponent of the new style, the firm created a small, but noteworthy, collection of bean-back cufflinks in the Art Nouveau taste. These cufflinks are admired for their richly detailed, graphic quality and subtle, somewhat restrained use of the Art Nouveau idiom.

The leonine cufflinks pictured at the top of this post are a wonderful example with whiplash curves and tight scrolls flowing through the jungle vines and lion's tail. Below are several more of the Art Nouveau cufflinks created by Larter & Sons.



Larter "Flowing Grape Vine" cufflinks, circa 1900.


Nature was an important source of inspiration for Art Nouveau designers. Grape vines with their sinuous, entwining tendrils and large, lobed leaves were a natural (bad pun intended) theme. Note the manner in which the grape vine forms the border of the cufflink. Decorated, flowing borders that are an integral part of the overall design are characteristic of the Art Nouveau cufflinks created by Larter, Krementz and other makers.



Larter "Good Luck" cufflinks, circa 1900.


This final Larter cufflink abounds with symbols of good fortune - a jumbled mélange of a horseshoe, wishbone and four-leaf-clover. The twisting stem of the clover flows organically into the curving border. The wishbone is partially hidden by the horseshoe and almost disappears where it meets the scrolling border. One of the delights of Larter Art Nouveau cufflinks is that they are richly detailed. Each time you closely examine one, you see something that you missed before.


Fine cufflinks created by Later & Sons and other notable makers
can be found in the Antique Cufflink Gallery.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Recent Additions - Cufflinks and Stickpins


Recent additions to the Antique Cufflink Gallery include a striking pair of carnelian cufflinks by Wm. Huger, dramatic Art Deco cufflinks with diamonds and Greek key borders, foggy white chalcedony cufflinks from Sansbury & Nellis and, just in time for St. Patrick's Day, lucky cuff buttons with horseshoes, wish bones and four-leaf clovers.


William Huger carnelian cufflinks. (J9183)

Elegant Carnelian  Alluring, sultry red carnelians set in bright yellow gold.  The pairing of carnelian and yellow gold reflects the bold colors and contrasts favored during the Art Deco era.  Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1925.    Cost:  $885


Art Deco diamond cufflinks. (J9165)

Greek Drama  Dramatic, bold Art Deco cufflinks with Greek key borders.  One side is set with a sparkling diamond, the other features a radiant starburst motif. Crafted in 14kt gold,  circa 1925.    Cost:  $1,375


Sansbury & Nellis white quartz cufflinks. (J9178)

Art Deco White  Translucent, foggy white chalcedonies set in rose gold.  A nice example of the striking white jewels of the late Art Deco period.  Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1930.    Cost:  $825


Larter Art Nouveau lucky cufflinks crafted in 14kt gold. (9190)

Feeling Lucky  A four-leaf clover, lucky horseshoe and wishbone assure the wearer of these Art Nouveau cufflinks the best of good fortune.  Created by Larter & Sons in 14kt gold, circa 1900.    Cost:  Sold



In the Antique Stickpin Gallery recent additions include a bemused monkey contemplating a pearl.


Hayden Wheeler monkey and pearl stickpin. (J9189)

The Philosopher  A monkey contemplates a small pearl while nonchalantly scratching his back.  The Victorians loved jewels with hidden messages and secret meanings.  This beautifully sculpted stickpin offers a lesson in humility.  Crafted in 14kt gold,  circa 1900."    Cost:  $625


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


Friday, February 28, 2014

Krementz & Co., Cufflink Maker to the World


Krementz & Co., Newark, New Jersey.

Last month I wrote about the double bean-and-post cufflinks created by Krementz & Co. in the years around 1900. Founded in the 1860s by the eponymous George Krementz, Krementz & Co. was a leader in the creation of fine cufflinks and other gentleman's accessories. In many ways the story of Krementz & Co. is the history of the American jewelry industry over the past 150 years.

In 1912 by the Newark Board of Trade published Newark, the City of Industry with the intent of showing "the metropolis of New Jersey not as it was, and not as it some day may be, but as it is." Following is an excerpt from the publication describing the innovative spirit of Krementz & Co. I have added several photographs below to illustrate points in the excerpt: the photographs are not part of the original publication


Krementz & Company

In no branch of skilled industry perhaps in the world, have more rapid advances been made than in the jewelers' art, and the industrial pursuits of a kindred nature. In former years, especially for the finer and more artistic productions in these lines, the American people were compelled to look to Europe for their jewelry supplies, but to-day Europeans look to America, to Newark, which manufactures fully seven-eighths of all the jewelry in the whole United States, and is noted for its beauty of designs, excellence of workmanship and highest standards.


Krementz Art Nouveau cufflink, circa 1900.

One of the more prominent concerns devoted to this important industry, which has done much toward placing Newark to the front as a manufacturer of jewelry and well worthy of more than passing mention is that of Krementz & Co., located at 49 Chestnut Street, with branch offices at 286 Fifth Avenue, New York City and 722 Shreve Building, San Francisco, Cal., was established in 1868 by George Krementz and Julius A. Lebkuecher, which partnership has continued to the present date and has developed into one of the largest and best known firms engaged in the manufacturing of fine 14 karat gold and platinum jewelry, the line being probably the most extensive and complete one of fine jewelry made under one roof.

To give an idea of the magnitude of the Krementz productions, their wares consist of about forty different lines of jewelry, of which the following are the most important:

Ladies' jewelry — Brooch pins, veil pins, necklaces, lavalliers, bar and handy pins, bangles and bracelets, lorgnons, soutoirs, etc.
Men's jewelry — Scarf pins, sleeve links, vest buttons, studs, chains, fobs, match boxes, tie clasps.

Krementz & Co. are also the manufacturers of Krementz collar buttons, which enjoy a national reputation; in fact, are known the world over, and are made in 18 karat, 14 karat, and 10 karat gold and 14 karat rolled gold plate. One of the latest achievements of this concern is its new patented Bodkin fastener which it uses on mother-of-pearl vest buttons and studs for evening dress. While these mother-of-pearl dress sets for gentlemen are much in vogue now and finding a very ready sale, this new Bodkin attachment has given a very material impetus to the popularity of this line.


Krementz Bodkin-style shirt studs.

The very newest of its creation is the making of the bean and post of a gentleman's cuff button of one single piece of metal. This feature has greatly increased the output of men's cuff buttons.

The richness, strength, durability and beauty of style and finish of the jewelry which this establishment turns out, are marvelous. A firm and unalterable determination from the start to use nothing but the best and purest among materials, to employ artists of the highest order, and workmen of skill and character, it has built upon this foundation an industry of grandeur and promise.

The illustration shown above of the Krementz building gives an idea of the large space and facilities required in the manufacture of the various products, while in the neighborhood of three hundred skilled workers are continuously employed to conduct this immense business.


Krementz double leonine cufflink, circa 1900.

Fine cufflinks created by Krementz & Co. and other notable makers
can be found in the Antique Cufflink Gallery.