Theodor Fahrner

Overview

Theodor Fahrner was a renowned German costume jewellery company who rose to prominence as a manufacturer of Jugendstil, Celtic Revival, Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts designs. They also produced Art Moderne and Contemporary styles. However, they are probably best known today for their Art Deco jewellery.

The company, in common with the philosophy of the Arts and Crafts movement, believed that design and workmanship was more important than the value of the materials used. As well as one off pieces, they mass produced affordable yet very stylish jewellery. They became well known for use of low karat gold,  gilt silver and cut steel pieces, the use of gems such as amethyst, chalcedony, quartz, citrine, turquoise, rock crystal and coral. Opals and pearls were also utilised. They also incorporated enamel work, filigree, granulation and a great deal of marcasite (iron pyrite).

Theodor Fahrner pieces are considered highly collectible and have broad appeal.

1487339180718

Offered by Tadema Gallery. 

Important dates

1855

Theodor Fahrner founded in 1855 in Pforzheim, Germany, by Theodor Fahrner and Georg Seeger. The company’s focus was on producing rings.

1883

In 1883, the company was taken over by Fahrner’s son, also named Theodor.

1900

In 1900, the company was awarded a a silver medal at the Paris Exposition.

1900 to 1919.

The company became known for its simple steel pieces.

1901

TF trademark registered.

Began to export to Britain.

Collaborated with Murrie, Bennett & Co.

1919

Theodor Fahrner junior died in 1919 and the company was then bought by Gustav Braendle.  After this point, it used the trademark Fahrner Schmuck and was known as Gustav Braendle – Theodor Fahrner Nachfolger.

1922

They began to create Art Deco designs in 1922.

1932

In 1932 they began to produce their signature filigree and granulation collection.

1945

Factory destroyed by bomb and many designs were lost.

 1952

Gustav Braendle died and the firm was taken over by his son Herbert.

1960s

Produced modern silver pieces with stones and Roman and Egyptian Revival motifs.

1979

Herbert Braendle died and the company closed.

Designers

Darmstadt Artists Colony Artists 1899 – 

  • Joseph Maria Olbrich
  • Paul Burck
  • Ludwig Habich
  • Patritz Huber

Others

  • Franz Boeres (Collaborated with Theodor Fahrner 1905-1919)
  • Max Josef Gradl (Collaborated with Theodor Fahrner 1899-1910)
  • Hermann Häussler (Collaborated with Theodor Fahrner as enameler 1908-1911)
  • Julius Muller-Salem
  • H.C. van de Velde
  • Georg Kleeman

Trademarks

Mark:   Original Farhner 925      Photo courtesy Cathy Gordon. 

Mark:   Original Farhner 925      Photo courtesy Cathy Gordon. 

Mark:   "TF & Germany      Photo courtesy Cathy Gordon.

Mark:   “TF & Germany      Photo courtesy Cathy Gordon.

 Mark:   Fahrner made some jewelry for Murrle, Bennett and Co. which was signed with both their marks    Courtesy Cathy Gordon

 Mark:   Fahrner made some jewelry for Murrle, Bennett and Co. which was signed with both their marks    Courtesy Cathy Gordon

 Mark:   TF 935 Depose     Courtesy Cathy Gordon

 Mark:   TF 935 Depose     Courtesy Cathy Gordon

Mark:   TF & 935      Photo courtesy Cathy Gordon.

Mark:   TF & 935      Photo courtesy Cathy Gordon.

  Mark:   Fahrner, TF, 925     Courtesy Ron Maranto

  Mark:   Fahrner, TF, 925     Courtesy Ron Maranto

        Mark:   TF, 935, Depose, PH (PH for Patriz Huber who designed exclusively for Fahrner from 1901-1902)     Courtesy friend of RCJ
        Mark:   TF, 935, Depose, PH (PH for Patriz Huber who designed exclusively for Fahrner from 1901-1902)     Courtesy friend of RCJ

Artist Marks (often used alongside Trademark). 

Courtesy of Lang’s Jewellery University. 

Paul Burck   

Paul Burck

 

Max Josef Gradl

Max Josef Gradl

Ludwig Habich

Ludwig Habich

Patriz Huber

Patriz Huber

Josef Maria Olbrich

Josef Maria Olbrich

H.C. van de Velde

H.C. van de Velde

Useful information for evaluation

1) It cannot be older than 1855 but must be from before 1979.

2) If it is Art Deco in style, it must be at least from 1922.

3) If it has filigree and granulation, it was probably created after 1932.

4) Unsigned pieces were produced. These are worth considerably less than signed pieces but can still be beautiful.

Further reading / sources:

Theodor Fahrner Jewelry between Avantgarde and Tradition, by Ulrike von Hase-Schmundt, Christianne Weber and Ingeborg Becker.

http://www.designgallery.co.uk/blog/20thcenturyjewellery/biographies-20thcenturyjewellery/theodor-fahrner/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darmstadt_Artists’_Colony

 

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodor_Fahrner

http://www.langantiques.com/university/Fahrner,_Theodor_Jewelry_Maker’s_Mark

Copyright © 2017 by Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder & Bloom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder & Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Key Jewellery Looks by Decade

Key Jewellery Looks by Decade

Here is an overview of the key jewellery looks of the first six decades of the 20th century.

1900-1909

These years saw the continued explosion in the Art Nouveau Movement in all its forms. The styles evoked femininity, mystery, nature and were an homage to an imagined pre-industrial Eden of the past.

SEMIPRECIOUS STONES

Semiprecious stones such as opals, moonstones, turquoise, baroque pearls etc took a central place as the beauty of the piece was not necessarily defined by the agreed value of the materials.

ENAMEL WORK

Enamel work became prominent as the focus on artistry and craftsmanship dominated.

BIJOUTERIE

Bijouterie can be described as a piece valued for the delicacy of its design as opposed to the value of its materials. These more intricate pieces became prevalent as design took dominance over ostentatious displays.

NATURE THEMES

Nature themes were popular as people sought to connect with the simplicity and beauty of the pre-industrial era.

CELTIC MOTIFS

Celtic motifs were also popular as people romanticised  heritage and history in a rejection of the rapidly exploding modernity of the Western world.

THE FEMALE FORM

The  female form and visage became one of the eras most iconic motifs as a craving for femininity emerged as a response to the increasing mechanisation of society.

THE WHIPLASH MOTIF

The whiplash motif was a signature motif of this decade.

1910-1919

These years saw an emergence of elegance and a focus on gentile refinement. There was an emphasis on evening wear along with an adulation of aristocracy and nostalgia for the hey days of the fine royal courts of Europe, in particular Versailles.

THE LAVALIER

The lavalier became a popular item as the beauty of the décolleté was emphasised.

BANDEAUS AND AIGRETTES

Inspired by the natives of the New World,  bandeaus and aigrettes started to become popular (this fashion exploded in the 1920s)

BOWS AND SWAGS

Hearkening back to Rococo and Baroque design, bows and swags became recurrent motifs.

TIARAS AND HEADPIECES

Inspired by the glamorous royal courts of Europe, tiaras and headpieces became popular evening wear.

GARLAND NECKLACE

The garland necklace was popular as the beauty of the décolleté, neck and shoulder was focused upon.

COLLIERS DE CHIEN

Princess Alexander popularised this iconic style.

CAMEOS

The migration of many Italian cameo artists saw the popular emergence of cameos across Europe and the USA.

WHITE ON WHITE

White metals with white stones were the height of fashion with the emphasis on evening refinement and the desire to wear jewels that looked amazing by candle light (also inspired by the new vogue for luxury cruises.)

1920-1929

This decade saw the emergence of a new boyish and chic look.  Jewellery became streamlined, youthful, forward looking, minimalist, light and lean.

BANGLES AND CUFF BRACELETS

With the craze for dancing it was important to wear items with movement.

EGYPTIAN AND ETHNIC MOTIFS

The architectural discoveries of these years saw an emergence of revivalist motifs, as well as an idealisation for the styles of foreign lands as the European empires expanded.

FAN, CHEVRON, GEOMETRIC AND THE MACHINE AESTHETIC

With mechanisation and modernity there came an emphasis on machine-inspired designs.

VENETIAN GLASS AND CRYSTAL BEADS

As long sautoir necklaces became popular (perfectly for twirling while dancing), the artistry of venetian glass and the beauty of crystal was revered.

MACHINE CUT GEMSTONES

Gemstones were now cut by machine for the most part, rather than cut by hand.

TASSELS

There was a craze for tassel earrings and tassel necklaces and the movement they brought with them while dancing the latest dance crazes.

1930S

This decade brought the glamour and dram of the silent screen and black and white movies into the forefront of popular culture.

DIAMONDS

Diamonds became the most sought after gem, popularised by the silent screen actresses who wore them for their ability to sparkle on the screen.

STEPPED, CHEVRON AND CIRCLE MOTIFS

The continued fashion for modernism saw an emphasis on geometric, architectural and non-organic motifs.

FILIGREE SETTINGS

Filigree settings, particularly using white metals, became popular in this decade.

FLORAL MOTIFS

The simplicity and girlishness of floral motifs became prevalent.

DRESS CLIPS

Dress clips became the height of fashion

WHITE ON WHITE

The fashion for all white jewellery continued.

DIME STORE DECO

Dime stores sold inexpensive costume jewellery which made style available to everyone. These pieces became known as ‘dime store deco.’

COSTUME

The silver screen saw an emphasis on increasingly flashy costume pieces.

1940S

The austerity of the war years brought about a creative explosion in costume jewellery which made personal decor more accessible. It was not worn to display wealth but more as an expression of fun and levity, in contrast to the serious times.

RHINESTONES

Rhinestones became a popular and accessible stand-in for diamonds.

METAL AND WOOD

The scarcity of precious metals saw an explosion in creativity using readily available materials such as base metal and wood.

SURREALISM

The new surrealist art movements of Europe overlapped into the world of jewellery design.

PATRIOTIC PINS

It became de rigueur for every woman to wear a display of patriotism.

JELLY BELLY

These were pins with a rounded, polished lucite middle. Pioneered by Trifari in the 1930s but made popular by the head designer, Alfred Philippe, in the 1940s.

FLORAL MOTIFS

Floral motifs continued in popularity.

VERMEIL

Vermeil became popular as a replacement for solid gold.

STERLING SILVER

Sterling silver saw a surge in popularity as gold was less available.

BAKELITE AND OTHER PLASTICS

This decade saw a greater use of bakelite and other early plastics.

1950S

After the end of the Second World War, there was a return to the display of wealth. The love of sparkle and luxury returned with force but there was a retention of the fun and creative sensibilities of the previous decade.

FLORAL AND NATURAL THEMES

These motifs remained popular.

CHANDELIER EARRINGS

This glamorous style of earring became all the rage.

SCANDINAVIAN MODERN

The streamlined modernity of ‘Scandinavian Modern’ became sought after.

TEXTURED GOLD

Textured gold became fashionable.

BEADS AND PEARLS

GIs returning from Japan brought home strings of cultured pearls to their sweethearts and a string of pearls or other beads around the neck (usually in princess length) became standard.

FIGURATIVE BROOCHES

Artistry and fun was expressed through the fashion for figurative brooches.

COPPER JEWELLERY

Copper became a new innovative material to work with as a replacement for gold.

CHARM BRACELETS

Charm bracelets became an item every woman had to have.

PARURES

Perhaps as a symptom of nostalgia for the now long-gone Victoria era, parures (complete sets of matching jewellery) grew in popularity.

Further reading:

https://www.elderandbloom.com/articles/2017/1/5/getting-clear-on-antique-and-vintage-eras-and-terms

https://www.elderandbloom.com/articles/2017/1/6/art-deco-motifs

Copyright © 2017 by Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder & Bloom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder & Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Quick and Easy Test for Bakelite

bakelitebracelets

Testing for Bakelite is remarkably easy.  To put it quite simply: all you have to do is get some silver polish containing simichrome and rub it on the piece using a paper towel.  If the paper towel shows a yellow color, it is Bakelite.  If it doesn’t, it is not.  (There are some exceptions to this, such as black Bakelite, which may not show positive results).

What I like about this test is I don’t have to try and identify the subtle differences in smells when the piece is run under hot water.  I don’t know about you, but I find those kinds of test very difficult.  I think I have a decent sense of smell, but the moment I over-think it I can’t tell the subtle differences in smells of different plastics – I am a human, after all, not a sniffer dog!

It’s worthwhile knowing this simple simichrome test as Bakelite is becoming increasingly sought after and rare and has considerably more value than other plastics, whether it’s used in jewelry or other objects. It can also be remarkably lovely.

 

Tutti Frutti

Tutti Frutti is a style of Art Deco jewelry popularized by Cartier in the 1920s.  Inspired by the colorful and sumptuous jewelry of India, Carter returned from a trip to that country to design the new ‘Tutti Frutti’ style jewelry.  Tutti Frutti jewelry was characterized by a multitude of colorful gemstones such as ruby, emerald and sapphire, usually set in platinum with a surround of diamonds.  The colored gemstones were carved or cabochon. Other designers and costume jewelry manufacturers replicated and were influenced by the popular style. Genuine signed Cartier pieces are of course very valuable.

AN ART DECO 'TUTTI FRUTTI' BROOCH, BY CARTIER

AN ART DECO ‘TUTTI FRUTTI’ BROOCH, BY CARTIER
Christie’s 5968

A VERY FINE ART DECO MULTI-GEM 'TUTTI-FRUTTI' BRACELET, BY CARTIER

A VERY FINE ART DECO MULTI-GEM ‘TUTTI-FRUTTI’ BRACELET, BY CARTIER
Christie’s 1374

AN ART DECO 'TUTTI FRUTTI' MULTI-GEM, BLACK ENAMEL AND DIAMOND BROOCH, BY CARTIER

AN ART DECO ‘TUTTI FRUTTI’ MULTI-GEM, BLACK ENAMEL AND DIAMOND BROOCH, BY CARTIER
Christie’s Sale 1371

 

AN ART DECO DIAMOND, RUBY, SAPPHIRE AND EMERALD TUTTI FRUTTI DRESS CLIP, BY CARTIER

AN ART DECO DIAMOND, RUBY, SAPPHIRE AND EMERALD TUTTI FRUTTI DRESS CLIP, BY CARTIER
Christie’s Sale 2061

 

 

 

Art Deco Carved Gemstones

The Art Deco era of jewelry design (1920-1939) had a variety of motifs and took influence from many sources. Carved gemstones, using jade, onyx, coral and a variety of other precious and semi-precious gems, were another popular feature of jewelry during the era.  Carving gemstones is an ancient tradition and a highly skilled craft.  Carved gemstones are also known as ‘engraved gemstones’ and are either cameo, with the design projecting out, or intaglios, with the design projecting inwards.

Here are some examples of Art Deco carved gemstone jewelry below.

A PAIR OF ART DECO CORAL, DIAMOND AND ENAMEL EAR PENDANTS

A PAIR OF ART DECO CORAL, DIAMOND AND ENAMEL EAR PENDANTS
Christie’s Sale 5968

An Art Deco jadeite jade and diamond brooch/pendant

An Art Deco jadeite jade and diamond brooch/pendant
Christie’s Sale 6968

AN ART DECO CORAL, DIAMOND AND ONYX BROOCH

AN ART DECO CORAL, DIAMOND AND ONYX BROOCH
Christie’s Sale 5388

A pair of Art Deco jade and diamond earrings

A pair of Art Deco jade and diamond earrings
Christie’s Sale 4920

~AN ART DECO DIAMOND, CORAL, JADE AND RUBY BROOCH

AN ART DECO DIAMOND, CORAL, JADE AND RUBY BROOCH
Christie’s 2306

**AN ART DECO EMERALD, DIAMOND AND MOTHER-OF-PEARL BROOCH

AN ART DECO EMERALD, DIAMOND AND MOTHER-OF-PEARL BROOCH
Christie’s

AN ART DECO SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND CLIP BROOCH, BY CARTIER

AN ART DECO SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND CLIP BROOCH, BY CARTIER
Christie’s Sale 1272

Brooch

New York, c. 1920-1930
Brooch, platinum, lapis lazuli, diamonds and black onyx
V&A Museum

Carved ruby, emerald and diamond pin, Cartier, Paris, circa 1930
Sotheby’s Important Jewels

Sources / further reading:

http://www.langantiques.com/university/index.php/Art_Deco_Era_Jewelry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engraved_gem

http://www.artbabble.org/video/getty-museum/art-gem-carving

Art Deco Motifs

The Art Deco Era (1920-1939) was defined by certain distinguishing characteristics when it came to jewelry design.  Below, I am going to list the most common themes, influences or motifs.

Architectural

New advances in architecture created more streamlined and bold forms which were influential to Art Deco jewelry

AN ART DECO BROOCH AND EARRINGS, BY JDB

AN ART DECO BROOCH AND EARRINGS, BY JDB (Elizabeth Taylor’s Collection)
Christie’s Sale

GIARDINETTI (‘Little Garden’)

‘Giardinetti’ (from the Italian, meaning ‘little garden’) was another continuing theme. A giardinetti piece had tiny flowers arranged in a vase, pot or basket, usually made from precious stones. Also stylized flowers without vases or pots or baskets were often seen.

They had been popular since the Georgian era, but now had a decidedly Art Deco style.

Brooch

Paris, c. 1927-1940
Ostertag
Brooch platinum, white gold, baguette- and brilliant-cut diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emerald
V&A Museum

Egyptian

There was another, and perhaps most popular, Egyptian Revival movement in the Art Deco era.

An Egyptian revival sapphire and diamond scrab ring

An Egyptian revival sapphire and diamond scarab ring, c. 1925
Christie’s Sale 7804

Geometric

Bold and geometric designs were characteristic of the era.

Ring

USA, c. 1920-1930
Ring, platinum set with diamonds and sapphires
V&A Museum

Abstract

Abstract art (Cubistism, Constructivists and Futurists,  Suprematism from Russia, Dutch de-Stijl and African primative) was highly influential.

Bangle

Paris, c. 1925
Bangle, lacquered brass
V&A Museum

Machinery

Cars, machinery and machine parts were influential motifs

Brooch

England, c. 1937
Brooch, platinum set with diamonds
V&A Museum

Figurative

These consisted of hands, animals, birds, ladybirds, bouquets of flowers, cartoon characters and other novelty items

Brooch

Paris, c. 1930-1940
Cartier
Brooch with enameled gold, diamonds and carved coral
V&A Museum

Eastern

Chinese and Japanese motifs and styles were popular, as well as Arabesque themes

AN ART DECO DIAMOND, SAPPHIRE, JADE AND ONYX BRACELET

AN ART DECO DIAMOND, SAPPHIRE, JADE AND ONYX BRACELET
Christie’s Sale 2306

Bows

Bow motifs continued to be popular

An Art Deco diamond bow brooch

Diamond Bow Brooch
Christie’s Sale 6704

Native American

Native American design was influential, in particular giving rise to long, woven sautoir necklaces.

AN ART DECO PEARL, DIAMOND AND ONYX SAUTOIR

AN ART DECO PEARL, DIAMOND AND ONYX SAUTOIR
Christie’s Sale 3011

Further reading / resources:

http://www.langantiques.com/university/index.php/Art_Deco_Jewelry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estate_jewelry#Art_Deco_jewelry_.281915.E2.80.931935.29