Sunday, August 31, 2014

Jacob Hookaylo, the Winged Bridge Maker

Winged Bridge Maker cufflink, circa 1925.

One of the delights of antique cufflinks is exploring the history and discovering forgotten works of the jewelers who created these miniature master pieces. Over the past 150 years firms creating fine jewelry in the United States have numbered in the hundreds, 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 wrote about the cufflinks of one of the more mysterious of these talented 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 sparkle with the exuberance of the Jazz Age featuring finely engraved centers surrounded by bold geometric and foliate borders.

Reverse of cufflinks by Winged Bridge maker.

The cufflinks are identified by the distinctive winged bridges, 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 unidentified.

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 bridge design reflects the Art Deco style of the 1920s. The bridges of the unsigned cufflinks are more flowing with an Art Nouveau sensibility. However, both 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 believe that the Hookaylo firm created the cufflinks previously identified as work of the Winged Bridge Maker. In short, Jacob Hookaylo is the Winged Bridge Maker.

Of course any such attribution warrants several caveats. Identifying Jacob Hookaylo as the Winged Bridge Maker is, at this time, based on a single pair of signed cufflinks which strongly resembles a pair of 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 maker 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 John and Louis Hartzberg as "manufacturers of platinum jewelry" and trade references indicate that the firm was active during the 1920s. During this period in the United States 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. As always there is more research to be done!

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:  Sold

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