Friday, December 31, 2010

Mystery of the "TH" Maker Revisited

The Mystery of the "TH" Maker Revisited

Irving Heidelsheimer diamond and platinum cufflinks, circa 1920.

I hope everyone is enjoying the best of the Holiday Season and anticipating a happy New Year! December is traditionally the month I try to tie up some of the loose ends cluttering my desk. In that spirit this note relates to the "TH" maker and a recently acquired pair of Heidelsheimer cufflinks.

Several months ago I wrote about "mystery makers" - makers of fine cufflinks about whom we know little beyond the elegant cufflinks they created. One of these unidentified makers is known as the "TH" maker. The sparkling platinum and diamond cufflinks pictured above may shed some light on this mystery firm.


"TH" maker cufflinks with anthemion corners, circa 1925.

The TH maker created elegant double-sided cufflinks during the 1920s and 30s. The above cufflink is a wonderful example from the early Art Deco period. The cufflink features stylized anthemion (palmette) corners with water lily borders surrounding intricately engine turned centers.


"TH" maker's mark.

The TH maker earned its nickname because of the maker's mark found stamped on the cross bars of the cufflinks - a "T" atop an "H". Beneath the maker's mark a "14" indicates the purity of the gold. The TH maker created cufflinks in 14-karat white and yellow gold.


Reverse of TH maker anthemion and water lily cufflinks.

In addition to elegant design and the maker's mark, the cufflinks of the TH maker are also characterized by distinctive cross bars and brackets. The brackets resemble a small bow tie with the edge outlined with an incised channel. The cross bars have tapered waists and elongated, teardrop-shaped eyelets. When the maker's mark is obscured, the distinctive brackets and cross bars can aid in identification.

At the beginning of this note a glittering diamond and platinum cufflink created by Irving Heidelsheimer around 1920 is illustrated. Irving Heidelsheimer (succeeded by Irving Manufacturing Company) was a maker of fine gold jewelry and cufflinks during the early decades of the last century. The firm like many of the fine cufflink makers of the day was based in Newark, New Jersey.


Reverse of Heidelsheimer platinum and diamond cufflinks.

Like the TH cufflink, the reverse of the Heidelsheimer cufflink was crafted in 14kt yellow gold. Even more interesting, the brackets and cross bars of the Heidelsheimer cufflink show a marked similarity to corresponding hardware of the TH cufflink.

Both cufflinks feature the same bow tie style bracket with an incised line shadowing the edge. In addition, the cross bars of the two cufflinks are similar in design with tapered waists and elongated, teardrop-shaped eyelets. A close-up of the cross bar and maker's mark of the Heidelsheimer cufflink is shown below.


Close-up of Heidelsheimer cross bars and maker's mark.

The similarity of the brackets and cross bars strongly suggests that the TH maker and the Heidelsheimer firm were in some way related. But the nature of that relationship remains unclear. Several possibilities suggest themselves:


1. Perhaps, the TH maker was a successor firm to the Irving Manufacturing Company (successor to Irving Heidelsheimer). During this period it was not uncommon for one jewelry firm to absorb another and then continue the designs and patterns of the latter.

2. Or, possibly, Heidelscheimer and the TH maker were one and the same. The "TH" could have been an alternative maker's mark adopted by Heidelsheimer to better fit the small area afforded by the tapered waist of the cross bars. The "H" might have signified "Heidelsheimer". But, then, what of the "T"?

3. A third possibility is that the cross bars and brackets were created by Heidelsheimer and wholesaled as findings (jewelry components) to other jewelry makers. Patent illustrations from 1916 indicate that the Heidelsheimer firm was using this style of crossbar from at least the mid teens. Unfortunately the illustrations don't provide a clear view of the brackets.

Each of these possibilities is no more than speculation. Each points to a direction of further research, but does not currently provide any answers.

When researching antique cufflinks answering one question usually leads to several more. Uncovering one clue leads to another mystery. Such is the endless fascination and mystique of antique jewels.


Heidelsheimer cufflinks, circa 1920.


Additional photos of these and other fine antique cufflinks,
can be found in the Antique Cufflink Gallery.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Recent Additions


During the busy holiday season we have added cufflinks set with diamonds, carnelians and moonstones to the Antique Cufflink Gallery. There is also an elegant Carrington dress set glittering with rose-cut diamonds and mother-of-pearl. Warmest wishes to all for the best of the holidays.


Elegant diamond and platinum cufflinks. (J9014)

Diamond Elegance Elegant early Art Deco cufflinks set with sparkling diamonds. The platinum tops are beautifully engraved and surrounded by laurel wreath borders. Crafted in platinum and 14kt gold, circa 1920.


Sansbury & Nellis carnelian cufflinks. (J9015)

Carnelian and Gold Alluring sultry Carnelians set in gold. The interplay of the Carnelians' color and the yellow gold gives these cufflinks an inescapable elegance. Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1920.


Antique Moonstone cufflinks crafted in 14kt gold. (J9013)

Moonstruck Luminous moonstones glow in the center of these mesmerizing gold cufflinks in the Arts & Crafts style. The bluish cast of the moonstones adds an air of mystery. Created in 14kt gold, circa 1900.


Carrington diamond and mother-of-pearl dress set. (J8818)

Carrington Elegance An elegant full dress with mother-of-pearl centers surrounded by sparkling halos of rose-cut diamonds. Crafted in platinum and 14kt gold, circa 1925.


In addition to the above cufflinks, I recently added a striking
Carter, Gough Moss Agate stickpin to the Antique Jewelry Gallery.


Carter, Gough Moss Agate stick pin. (J9000)


Additional photos of these and other fine antique cufflinks,
can be found in the Antique Cufflink Gallery.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Colorful Cufflinks


Carrington & Co. purple guilloche enamel cufflinks.

Colorful Cufflinks

The past several years I have written in November about snowflake cufflinks - the platinum and white gold cufflinks that sparkle with intricately engraved patterns. It was sort of an impromptu celebration of the coming Winter.

But, this year November has been a little too gray and chilly. So, I thought a discussion of colorful cufflinks might help dispel the coming winter blues. This month we feature cufflinks set with beautiful colored gemstones and rich jewel-like enamels.


Regal blue guilloche enamel cufflinks.

Among cufflinks brightened with fine enamel work the most intriguing are the guilloche enamels. The process for creating these miniature masterpieces was as involved as the finished jewels are beautiful.

First the cufflinks were engraved with a mesmerizing design of radiating curves and intertwining lines using a technique known as "engine turning" or "guilloche". The intricately engraved tops were then covered with a translucent colored enamel. The vitreous luster of the enamel and depth of color along the engraved lines served to throw the engraved pattern into stunning relief. The elegant blue and gold cufflinks pictured above are a wonderful example created by Taylor & Company around 1925.

The pair of Carrington cufflinks illustrated at the beginning of this note is a second striking example of beautiful guilloche enameling.


Larter blue enamel and gold cufflinks, circa 1930.

Boldly colored enamels also served as accents and borders. The above Larter & Sons cufflinks feature alternating royal blue enamel and gold bands which frame richly textured centers teeming with golden squiggles. A design we have nicknamed "Infinite Squiggles". The regal elegance of the blue enamel beautifully complements the warm texture of the gold.


Art Deco cufflinks, circa 1930.

Two hallmarks of Art Deco design were bold geometry and dramatic color. The cufflinks pictured above are a nice example of both. The intoxicating color of the emerald-cut Tourmaline is matched by the bold, geometric gold work. A wonderful example of Art Deco design. Created by Larter & Sons in 14kt gold, circa 1930.


Carrington carnelian and gold cufflinks, circa 1925.

A second pair of Art Deco era cufflinks with exuberant color. This dramatic pair features cabochon-cut Carnelians that glow a sultry red. The wonderful luminous hue of the low-dome Carnelians gives the links an inescapable elegance. Crafted by Carrington & Company in 14kt gold, circa 1920.


Arts & Crafts moonstone cufflinks, circa 1900.

The first five pairs of cufflinks illustrated in this note are from the years around 1925 when bold, eye-popping colors were in vogue. Earlier in the century a softer color palette was preferred. The jewelers of the early 1900s favored pastel shades of enamel and luminous gemstones. The above cufflinks from the Arts & Crafts period feature shimmering moonstones with a subtle bluish cast. The billowy luster of the moonstones ("adularescence" in gemology speak) beautifully plays off the color and texture of the antique gold. Created by Day, Clark & Company in 14kt gold, circa 1900.


Additional photos of these and other fine antique cufflinks,
can be found in the Antique Cufflink Gallery.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Recent Additions


Recent additions to the Antique Cufflink Gallery include elegant golden acanthus scrolls from Carrington & Company, frosty white octagons by Wordley, Allsopp & Bliss, two pairs of platinum and gold cufflinks featuring sapphires and diamonds, and a striking pair of sultry red Carnelian cufflinks from Carrington.


Carrington golden scroll cufflinks. (J9005)

Golden Scrolls Beautifully chased and hand-engraved acanthus leaf scrolls fill these striking cufflinks from Carrington & Company. Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1900.


Elegant antique cufflinks crafted in white gold. (J8996)

Winter Jazz Brilliant white gold cufflinks that sparkle with the elegance of the Jazz Age. The frosty white centers feature swag and starburst motifs surrounded by dramatic box-and-cross borders. Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1925.


Elegant sapphire cufflinks. (J8968)

Sapphire Elegance Bright platinum and gold cufflinks with intricately engraved centers and dramatic scroll borders set with sapphires. Crafted in platinum and 14kt gold, circa 1920.


Elegant diamond and sapphire cufflinks. (J8994)

Diamond and Sapphire Elegance Platinum and gold cufflinks elegantly engraved with foliate and lattice designs. Set with small diamonds and rich blue man-made sapphires. Crafted in platinum and 14kt gold, circa 1920.


Carrington carnelian cufflinks. (J9006)

Carrington Red Alluring cufflinks featuring rich, sultry red Carnelians set in antique yellow gold. The luminous glow of the Carnelians imbues these cufflinks with inescapable elegance. Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1920.

In addtion to the above cufflinks, I recently added a fierce lion
and pearl stickpin to the Antique Jewelry Gallery.


Victorian lion and pearl stickpin. (J9012)


Additional photos of these and other fine antique cufflinks,
can be found in the Antique Cufflink Gallery.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Art Deco Cufflinks


Art Deco Cufflinks

Art Deco cufflinks, circa 1930.

The Art Deco era roughly coincided with the decades between 1920 and 1940, although examples of Art Deco design can be found from earlier and later periods. Art Deco was in part a reaction to the sinuous naturalism and eclectic historicism of earlier styles. But, even more, Art Deco was a reflection of the optimism, the sense of newness of a world entering the post-World War I period.

Common Art Deco themes include dramatic sunbursts, stylized flora and bold geometric forms. The cufflinks pictured above are a nice example of the latter. The bold, sculptural tops are set with rich green step-cut Tourmalines. The color and cut of the gemstones beautifully complements the design of the cufflinks. Created by Larter & Sons in 14kt gold around 1930.


Stylized palmette and water lily cufflinks, circa 1920.

From slightly earlier in the Art Deco period, the above white gold cufflinks feature dramatic anthemion corners and borders of stylized water lilies. In early Art Deco cufflinks, flowers and plants were rendered in stylized form. It was a movement away from the wild, untamed plants and vines celebrated in Art Nouveau and late Victorian designs. But as the Art Deco period progressed the stylized flora withered and were replaced by the abstract, more austere designs of the later Art Moderne.


Frank Krementz Art Deco cufflinks, circa 1925.

One school of Art Deco design followed the motto "Leave no surface undecorated." This exuberant pair of Frank Krementz cufflinks illustrates the finesse with which Art Deco jewelers could work a profusion of decoration into a very small area. The centers feature dramatic sunrises bisected by bands of black enamel and white gold. Surrounding the central motif is an oval course of engraved yellow gold with mille grain edges. The cufflinks are finished with white gold borders of repeating sunrise motifs.


Ziething jazzy cufflinks, circa 1925.

A discussion of Jazz Age cufflinks would be remiss if it failed to mention the bright, glittering cuff jewels of Ziething & Company. Ziething created mesmerizing links engraved with an almost obsessive level of detail. The cufflinks are embellished with radiating starbursts, bold geometric patterns and intricate designs. Ziething cufflinks are particularly beautiful in the flickering light of a candle. The above pair was crafted in 10kt white and yellow gold, circa 1925.


Dramatic black-and-white cufflinks, circa 1930.

Many Art Deco jewels featured vibrant gemstones or rich colored enamels. The tourmaline cufflinks illustrated at the beginning of this note are a wonderful example.

The late 1920s saw the rise to a second direction in Art Deco design. Striking jewels emphasizing contrasts between black and white captured the public eye. The above cufflinks feature labyrinth-like Chinese-key motifs highlighted against black enamel. The bright white gold centers are engraved with linear pinstripes. The black-and-white cufflinks of the 1930s are among the most sophisticated and elegant jewels of the era.


Wordley, Allsopp & Bliss cufflinks, circa 1925.

Wordley, Allsopp & Bliss was a prolific maker of fine cufflinks during the early decades of the 20th century. This pair of Art Deco links achieves a pleasing balance between the exuberant details of the Krementz and Ziething pictured above and the stark elegance of black-and-white designs. The hypnotic centers are surrounded by stippled borders, parallel curved lines and attenuated Chinese-key motifs in black enamel. Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1925.


"Architectural" cufflinks by William Huger, circa 1930.

In closing, I illustrate a pair of cufflinks from one of my favorite makers during the Art Deco era, William Huger & Company. The firm embraced the aesthetics of Art Deco design and created beautiful jewels of the cuff. The cufflinks are imbued with the same spirit that inspired America's largest contribution to Deco design - soaring, modern skyscrapers.

The above Huger white gold cufflinks feature stylized blossoms, geometric meanders and soaring pinstripe centers that bring to mind the Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Plaza and the other outsized icons of American Art Deco. The successful celebration of Art Deco in both the smallest and largest of objects is a witness to the styles nearly universal appeal.


Additional photos of these and other fine antique cufflinks,
can be found in the Antique Cufflink Gallery.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Recent Additions


Recent additions to the Antique Cufflink Gallery include a striking pair of Art Deco ovals by Wordley, Allsopp & Bliss, beautiful blue guilloche enamels set in gold, Art Deco black-and-white cufflinks from Kohn & Company, and a jazzy pair of Ziething octagons.


Elegant Art Deco gold and black enamel cufflinks (J8988).

Art Deco Ovals! Striking Art Deco cufflinks with a variety of design motifs ranging from hypnotic centers to the dramatic black enamel accents just inside gold dimpled borders. Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1925.


Elegant blue guilloche enamel and gold cufflinks. (J9889)

Regal Blue! A regal pairing of blue and yellow. Elegant gold cufflinks with translucent blue enamels. Beneath the enamels is an intricate guilloche pattern of radiating stars or suns. Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1920.


Elegant white gold and black enamel cufflinks. (J8602)

In Black and White! Dramatic engraved pinstripes with contrasting black enamel bands and elegant Art Deco borders. Crafted in 10kt white gold, circa 1930.


Ziething white gold cufflinks with pizzazz. (J8713)

Jazzy Pizzazz! The word "pizzazz" could have been invented to describe these jazzy cufflinks created by Ziething & Co. during the Roaring 20s. The pair features dramatic star burst centers and elegant Art Deco borders. Crafted in 10kt gold, circa 1925


In addtion to the above cufflinks, I recently added a striking gargoyle
stick pin to the Antique Jewelry Gallery.

Winged serpent stickpin with pearl. (J8992)



Additional photos of these and other fine antique cufflinks,
can be found in the Antique Cufflink Gallery.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kohn & Company Cufflinks


Kohn & Company cufflinks, circa 1925.

Kohn & Company Cufflinks

Last month I wrote about several cufflink makers about whom we know very little beyond the elegant cufflinks they created. This month's note features cufflinks from another "mystery maker", Kohn & Company.


Art Deco black and white cufflinks, circa 1930.

Kohn & Company created wonderful gold cufflinks that were designed with a touch of whimsy and fun. While the cufflinks created by firms like Carrington and Carter, Gough are stately in their elegance, the cufflinks of Kohn & Company are just as elegant, but with a lighter touch. I have to confess a fondness for the cufflinks of this firm.

Historical information about Kohn & Company is sketchy. The firm appears to have been founded in the early 1900s and ceased operations in the 1930s or early 1940s. Like many of the fine cufflink makers of the time, Kohn & Company was based in Newark, New Jersey.


White and yellow gold star burst cufflinks, circa 1925.

The firm created cufflinks and other jewels in 10kt and 14kt white and yellow gold. The cufflinks were sometimes set with small sapphires or diamonds. Dark enamels were also used to highlight the engraved designs and borders.


Radiant sapphire cufflinks, circa 1935.

The cufflinks reflect the broad currents of the Art Deco and Art Moderne design. Occasionally you will observe repeated geometric and linear patterns that are reminiscent of the earlier Arts & Crafts period. The style of the surviving cufflinks and the frequent use of white gold suggest that the firm began creating cufflinks around 1920.




Kohn & Company employed several maker's marks. On cufflinks crafted in 14kt gold the makers mark is a cone lying above a slanted "14K" gold purity mark. A variation of this mark has the gold mark "14K" placed inside the broad end of the cone.

On cufflinks crafted in 10kt gold the mark is the numeral "10" with a oversized "K" between the one and zero. The mark is usually found stamped on one side of the cross bars or on top of the quad brackets on 14kt gold pieces.

Please note, I have not found separate documentation of the 14kt mark shown above. I have attributed the mark to Kohn & Company based on its similarity to known Kohn marks and the shared styles of the cufflinks. This is an area for further research. I am interested in any thoughts from readers.


Kohn & Company cufflinks, circa 1930.

Additional photos of these and other fine antique cufflinks,
can be found in the Antique Cufflink Gallery.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Recent Additions


Recent additions to the Antique Cufflink Gallery include a flurry of striking white gold and platinum cufflinks and a dramtic pair of Art Nouveau cufflinks crafted in yellow gold.


Elegantly engraved platinum and sapphire cufflinks. (J8973)

Sapphire and Platinum! Elegantly engraved platinum cufflinks set with sparkling blue Sapphires. Beautifully engraved with C-scroll and foliate borders. Crafted in platinum and 14kt gold, circa 1920.


Art Deco white gold cufflinks with black enamel accents. (J8989)

Dramatic Deco! Art Deco cufflinks with dramatic black enamel borders. A nice example of the dramatic black-and-white jewels of the late 1920s and 1930s. Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1930


Art Nouveau cufflinks with whiplash vines. (J8777)

Whiplash Vines! Art Nouveau cufflinks of entangled vines with whiplash curves and dramatic foliage. A nice example of the striking, nature-inspired designs of the Art Nouveau era. Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1900.


Antique cufflinks with dramatic anthemion corners. (J8982)

Anthemion Elegance! Dramatic anthemions (palmettes) and stylized water lilies grace the borders of these elegant cufflinks. An exotic garden or palace courtyard in miniature. Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1920.


Antique white gold and diamond cufflinks. (J8990)

Diamond Marquise! Elegant marquise-shape cufflinks with dramatically engraved centers and small sparkling diamonds. Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1925.


Art Deco platinum and gold cufflinks. (J8975)

Platinum Octagon! Elegant platinum top cufflinks with engraved concentric circles and borders featuring alternate sections of tiered steps and foliate designs. Crafted in platinum and 14kt gold, circa 1920.


Additional photos of these and other fine antique cufflinks,
can be found in the Antique Cufflink Gallery.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Antique Cufflinks: Mystery Makers


"Winged Bridge" cufflinks, circa 1930.

Antique Cufflinks: Mystery Makers

A wise philosopher once suggested that "True wisdom is knowing what you don't know." In this spirit, this month's note takes a look at three cufflink makers from the early 1900s about whom we know very little.

It is conservatively estimated that between 1870 and 1930 at least several hundred companies in the United States were involved in the creation of fine jewelry. No doubt, a good share of these firms offered cufflinks at one time or another. About some of these cufflink makers we know quite a bit (e.g., Krementz & Co. and Larter & Sons). But about others we know very little beyond the beautiful cufflinks and jewels they created. This note highlights three of these mysterious makers.



Wm. Huger & Company gold cufflinks, circa 1920.

William Huger & Company

Based on extant examples, William Huger & Company appears to have made striking cufflinks from the early 1900s until the 1930s. A patent issued in 1883 for a specialized jeweler's file indicates that William Huger was involved in the jewelry trade from at least the early 1880s. Beyond this our knowledge of the firm is limited to several listings in jewelry directories and trade journals.


William Huger Art Deco cufflinks, circa 1930.

William Huger was not as prolific as some of the fine cufflink makers of the early 20th century (e.g., Carrington & Company and Wordley, Allsopp & Bliss). However what the firm lacked in size and numbers, it made up for with the beauty of its cufflinks. Among my favorite William Huger cufflinks are examples from the Art Deco era. The firm created bold geometrically-inspired cufflinks that are emblematic of the period. Two examples are illustrated here.


Architecturally-inspired William Huger cufflinks, circa 1930.

The paucity of information we have regarding William Huger & Co. is a veritable trove compared to what we know about the next cufflink maker.



Elegant "Winged Bridge" maker cufflinks, circa 1920.

The "Winged Bridge" Maker

During the 1920s an unknown jewelry maker created a desirable group of white and yellow gold cufflinks. The cufflinks feature dramatic Art Deco geometric and stylized borders crafted in white gold. The centers are usually yellow gold and beautifully engine turned with intricate designs. These miniature jewels sparkle with the exuberance of the Jazz Age.

The unknown maker of these cufflinks employed a distinctive bridge design. The bridges flair out like the wings of a fantastic bird. Hence the name "Winged Bridge Maker".


"Winged Bridge" maker, circa 1925.

Reverse of cufflinks by Winged Bridge maker.

Other than the winged bridges, there is no maker's mark or other indication of the creator of these cufflinks. The absence of a maker's mark is especially puzzling given the "14K" gold purity mark stamped on the bridges. In 1906, the National Stamping Act required that items stamped with a gold or silver purity mark should include a registered maker's mark. The mystery of the Winged Bridge cufflinks deepens.



"TH" maker cufflinks with anthemion corners, circa 1925.

The "TH" Maker

The third group of mystery cufflinks has a maker's mark, a "T" over an "H". The challenge is identifying the maker to whom this mark belongs. The cufflinks are crafted in the Art Deco style, ranging from the classically-inspired pair with anthemion corners pictured above to the black enamel and pinstripe ovals shown below. The cufflinks are crafted in 14kt white and yellow gold and date from the 1920s and 1930s. Some may also be from a later date.


Enamel and pinstripe "TH" cufflinks, circa 1925.

"TH" maker's mark.

The maker's mark (a "T" over an "H") is found stamped
on the cross bars above the gold purity mark ("14").


Distinctive brackets of "TH" cufflinks.

A second identifying characteristic of "TH" cufflinks are the distinctive brackets. Shaped somewhat like a bow tie, the brackets have an inner edge that is outlined with an incised channel. When the maker's mark is obscured, the distinctive brackets can aid in identification.


"TH" maker cufflinks, circa 1930.

Maybe the "TH" cufflinks are less of a mystery than I have suggested. I have a nagging suspicion that the maker of these cufflinks is already known and that to date I have been looking for answers in the wrong place. Any light you can shed on this and the other questions posed by this note is greatly appreciated.