Jugendstil was an artistic style or design movement that arose in Germany around the mid-1890s and continued until at least the end of 1910. The movement also spread throughout the other German speaking and Nordic countries.

It appeared to originate from the Berlin Werkstatte – the collectives of artisans and craftspeople that flourished during the era.  The name ‘Jugendstil’ literally means Youth Style and derives from the Munich magazine Die Jugend (‘Youth’).


An image from Jugend Magazine. It was filled with art such as this.

With the Jugendstil design sensibilities there came a reverence for youth, for nudity and a more liberated sexuality, for all things ‘natural and free’. Women wore their hair long and flowing, corsets were ditched and a general joie de vivre was embraced by all.  (I have always maintained that these naturalistic movements of the late 1800s were a precursor to the 1960s American cultural revolution).

There were two somewhat distinct phases in Jugendstil. Prior to 1900, the designs tended to be floral and to be more influenced by Art Nouveau and Japanese design, as well as more Victorian in flavour.


Early Jugendstil Brooch. Elder and Bloom. 


Early Jugendstil Pendant. Elder and Bloom.

Later, came a more abstract and architectural phase, at times machine like, pre-echoing by over a decade the geometrical designs of the Art Deco era. (This later phase was greatly influenced by the Belgian architect Henry van de Velde.)


Late Jugendstil brooch. Elder and Bloom.


Late Jugendstil Pendant. Elder and Bloom.

Jugendstil is a cousin of the English Art Nouveau movement and certainly has much in common with the Arts and Crafts movement. Although often referred to as the ‘German Art Nouveau’ (even by myself), Jugendstil is quite distinctive and is also compelling in its originality and character.

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© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’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 and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.





Art Nouveau Manufacturers

Art Nouveau Manufacturers

Here is a list of some notable Art Nouveau Jewellery manufacturers. This is not a conclusive list but an additional overview. 


Founded by Ernst Murrle and J.B Bennett.

The company produced Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts styles. Known for their Celtic inspired interwoven design and stylised foliate motifs.



Founded by George W. Shielder.

The company became known for it’s silverwork and ‘Homeric’ and ‘Etruscan’ styles, incorporating ancient coin designs.



Founded by Jabez Gorham and Henry L. Webster.

The company is known for a wide variety of silver and foundry products and as a producer for Tiffany’s.  They were also a major producer of Art Nouveau jewelry.



Founded by Achill Bippart in 1886 and joined by Benjamin F Grishamin in 1893 and Bennett Osborn in 1897.

Known for fine enamelled gold Art Nouveau Jewelry.


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.

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Evaluating a Rolled Gold Griffin Locket

In this post, I’d just like to discuss this rolled gold griffin locket from my personal collection and breakdown how we can evaluate it.

There are several clues which help:

The first prominent clue is the fact that it has a maker’s mark from S & B Lederer & Co. This was a company founded in Providence, Rhode Island in 1878.  They later operated from Fifth Avenue in New York City. They produced gold plated and silver jewelry of good quality. They used a variety of signatures including S.B.& L, sometimes with an inverted triangle and sometimes with a star. They eased operations circa 1931 so we know this piece is from before 1931 and after 1878.

The style of the griffin motif (created with repoussé and chasing, probably using a machine stamp) itself is very ‘Art Nouveau’.  The griffin and mythical creatures in general were popular motifs in the Art Nouveau era.  However, it is the more the recurrent whiplash motif which genuinely place it as in the style of Art Nouveau. So we know that it is at least after the date of 1890, when Art Nouveau first came about and it is likely to be from before 1920, when Art Nouveau styles ceased to be the height of fashion (and we know it is not a replica because of the marker’s mark).

There are other clues to look at.  The barrel clasp on the necklace is indicative of a piece from before the 1940s, as after that date necklaces were made with the circular clasp we are familiar with.

Another clue is the rose hue of the gold.  Rose gold was very popular in the Victorian era. The gold actually tests as 9k rolled gold or gold fill. This places it after the date of 1844 when rolled gold was first introduced to the USA (I will discuss rolled gold more in a future post).  The fact that it is 9k rolled gold suggests that it from the Victorian era as 9k was very common in mid-priced jewelry like this.   But the biggest clue is that it has no hallmark for the gold purity. This places it from before 1906 as purity marks were required in the USA after that date, even for gold fill.

Some other clues to look at are the relatively large link size on the belcher or cable chain.  It was likely that although the links of this necklace were machine made, they might well have been assembled by hand. As mechanization improved, chains became finer and had smaller links. The length of the chain (it is 17 inches long, by 1920 longer chains were in fashion) also suggest it is from the late-Victorian era, as does the relatively large size of the pendant itself.

The glass paste gems are in imitation of diamonds and diamonds were very popular in the late Victorian era.  In addition, they appear to be foiled and possibly Swarovski Crystals, which place them after 1892.  They are cut, rather than molded, which make them higher quality and also indicate that they might be Swarovski Crystals.

So, all in all, we can say that this Art Nouveau 9k rolled gold American locket and belcher chain with glass paste gems is most likely from between the years of 1892 and 1906. As they were slightly later in adopting Art Nouveau style in the USA, it is likely to be towards the later end of these dates.

The Art Nouveau Whiplash Motif

Embroidery, Hermann Obrist: The Lone Cyclamen
Munich City Museum
note the Art Nouveau ‘Whiplash’ motif


France, c. 1901

Brooch, enameled copper set with opals and pearls

V&A Museum

The Art Nouveau Movement (1890-1910) was a design movement defined by many motifs, but none more so than the Whiplash Motif. The whiplash and curved motifs of Art Nouveau are seen as universally characteristic and are an easy way of recognizing an Art Nouveau piece. (Arts and Crafts Movement Jewelery, which many would define as a cousin of Art Nouveau, also uses the whiplash motif to a slightly lesser extent. Also it is important to note that there are many other names for Art Nouveau that I will be discussing in future posts).

Art Nouveau interior, featuring a profusion of whiplash and curved motifs

Whilst not all Art Nouveau design pieces contain whiplash or curved motifs, they are generally considered the most commonly found design feature.  Some would say Art Nouveau curves have their roots in Rococo Scroll Work, others would say they are inspired by Japanese or Celtic design elements.  Whilst all of these are no doubt true, I have always thought of the curves of Art Nouveau design as originating from something deep within us and to be a reflection of our biological nature. Arguably, all design is exactly this, but the curves of Art Nouveau seems to emanate from our deepest levels rather than directly referencing other design movements. These spirals, curves and whiplash-like shapes can be found in both the natural and man-made worlds.

For example, have a look for the Art Nouveau-like curves in the following:


Now, spot the whiplash and curved motifs in the following beautiful Art Nouveau jewelry pieces:

Pendant gold, enamel, opal, pearl, diamonds
Lalique, c.1901
Metropolitan Museum of Art

France c. 1900, Lucien Gautrait.

Gold decorated with ‘plique-à-jour’ enamel and set with rose- and brilliant-cut diamonds,

opals and emeralds with an opal drop

V&A Museum


Germany, c.1903

Enamelled gold, set with brilliant-cut diamonds, emeralds,a ruby, hung with a pearl.

V&A Museum


France, c. 1903. George Fouquet.

Brooch, gold, silver, enamel, pearls and rose- and brilliant-cut diamonds

V&A Museum

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Enameling techniques of the Art Nouveau period

Enameling is one of the most expressive and stunning techniques for creating jewelry.  It was used extensively during the Art Nouveau period (1890-1910).  An endless array of  colorful and intricate designs were created by applying the enamel in a variety of ways which have become very much associated with the period.  Thanks to enamel’s hard wearing qualities, there are many surviving enameled pieces from the era for us to enjoy.

Enamel is created from silica, quartz, borax, lead and feldspar ground together into a fine power (basically, it is powdered glass). Metal oxides in powder form are then added to produce the colors.  This mixture is then fired at a very high temperature, resulting in the gorgeous, rich colors of enamel work with which we are familiar.  The metals that the enamel work are fired on must be able to withstand such high temperatures. A large amount of time and care is required on the part of the jeweler.  Enamel work truly showcases the jeweler’s artistry perhaps more than any other technique. Enameled jewelry from the Art Nouveau era is highly prized and collectible (and there are of course many replicas.)

There were six main methods of enamel work that were popular in the creation of Art Nouveau pieces.  These were as follows:


Art Nouveau Cloisonne enamel and glass piece with bird motif

Cloisonne is created by soldering or arranging fine gold or silver wire onto another metal to create a design.  The main metal it is soldered onto is often copper or bronze in the case of cloisonne, but it can also be gold or silver.  The enamel powder is then used to fill in the partitions created by the wires.  As the enamel tends to shrink when fired, often several firings are required.  At the end, the enamel is sanded to be level with the wire.


Plique-à-jour enamel with small rose-cut diamonds in the veins c1900 by Louis Aucoc (1850-1932)

Plique-à-jour is the type of enamel work which most people think of when they think of Art Nouveau jewelry.  It is the most delicate method of enameling and tends to fetch the highest prices.  It is remarkable because the enamel is created with no metal backing, hence the translucent and stained glass like effect of the end result.  To achieve this, the enamel mixture is made to be very viscous.  Sometimes a thin mica or clay backing is used and then removed after the firing.  Thin metal, which burns away during firing, can also be used.  Plique-à-jour looks truly stunning when held up to the light. Plique-à-jour means ‘letting in the day’ in French.


Art Nouveau open work Champlevé button
Champlevé enamel work is created by first making cut out hollowed designs in the metal.  These hollowed out places are then filled with the enamel mixture and fired.  This is repeated as many times as necessary and then polished.  Copper and brass bases are often used with Champlevé as well as gold and silver. Champlevé means ‘raised field’ literally in French.


Basse-taille is created by engraving the design into the metal, usually gold or silver.  The entire piece is then covered in translucent enamel so that the engraved low relief design shows through. Different effects can be created by adding different amounts and colors of enamel in different locations. Basse-taille literally means ‘shallow cut’.



Art Nouveau Niello detail

Niello is usually classified as a kind of enameling technique although it is not a true enamel.  Instead of the powdered glass enamel, a mixture of sulphur, lead, copper and silver is used.  The design is engraved in the metal and then the mixture is applied.  The piece is then fired.  When it is polished, all of the mixture is removed apart from that which is left inside the engraving.  The result is always black; niello looks different from black enameling because it doesn’t have the same glassy effect and is more metallic seeming.

Taille d’epargné


Taille d’épargne detail

Taille d’épargne was popular in the mid 1800s but was also used by Art Nouveau jewelry artisans.  The design was cut deeply into the metal and then filled, fired and polished.  Although any color can be used for the enamel, black or blue was generally favored. Taille d’épargne means “sparing cut” literally in French.

I hope this article helped give you an overview of the six different enameling techniques that were used in the creation of Art Nouveau jewelry and will be useful to you when you are identifying antique jewelry.  I will certainly be talking much more about antique enameled jewelry in the future as there is much to say about these stunning pieces.