Pforzheim elegance

Exquisite art nouveau necklace with amethyst, Franz Boeres for Theodor Fahrner, around 1905

In the years around 1900, the forms of Art Nouveau enriched art and the decorative arts. Starting in France, centres quickly emerged throughout Europe, each taking a different approach to the expression of the new style. While in France the School of Nancy led the way and floral motifs were transformed into spectacular new art forms, in Vienna the Wiener Werkstätte emerged with a stricter conception of ornamentation and total works of art were created that sought to influence almost every area of human life. The fact that Art Nouveau was also widespread in the then kingdom of Baden is shown by the elegant necklace presented here. The city at the foot of the Black Forest was the undisputed centre of German jewellery production. Goldsmiths had been working in Pforzheim since the 16th century, and their traditions and expertise still form the basis of jewellery creation by local manufacturers today. One manufactory in particular dominated the Pforzheim scene during the Art Nouveau and Art Déco periods: Theodor Fahrner's manufactory in Luisenstrasse. Fahrner engaged numerous talented artists, who designed jewellery in gold and silver for him, which were then realised in the manufactory. Today the jewellery of the company Theodor Fahrner in Pforzheim are sought-after collector's items. A good overview of the complete oeuvre can be found in the extensive catalogue Theodor Fahrner. Schmuck zwischen Avantgarde und Tradition, edited by Brigitte Leonhardt and Dieter Zühlsdorff, Stuttgart 2005. The necklace presented here comes from Fahrner's workshops, as the marks on the back reveal. A large multi-part pendant is firmly mounted on a delicate chain. Two triangles made of enamelled flowers hold an equally enamelled white ring. From this, in an unusual staggering of elements, hangs a large further pendant. Two triangles with fine white enamels look like fine lace. A beautiful, sparkling amethyst is set in the center of the design, adding a colorful focal point. The design language of the necklace, the pleasure in symmetry, which is combined with a special finesse of the individual forms, and also the beautiful, harmonious colouring of the piece suggest that the designer of the necklace was Franz Boeres, who worked for Theodor Fahrner from 1903/04. Boeres had studied at the Hanau Drawing Academy and worked as an interior decorator, furniture designer (including for Robert Bosch's villa) and sculptor. His designs for Fahrner are an important part of his oeuvre, not least because they were particularly successful with the public. Boeres was even represented at the World's Fair in St. Louis with the very first pieces of Fahrner jewelry he designed. The necklace has been very well preserved in the sales box of the jeweller Hempel from Halle an der Saale. We were able to acquire it in the Palatinate. Further works by Boeres can be found in the above-mentioned catalogue on pp. 85-88.

Nothing changes as fast as fashion. What is the "must have" one season is hardly wearable the next. In the heated years after the First World War, it was no different than today. In the 1920s and 30s, dresses, coats, hats and hairstyles changed at a speed that still amazes us today when we leaf through contemporary catalogues and magazines. Of course, this change was also reflected in the field of jewellery. But it is equally understandable that jewellery made of precious materials could not follow every one of these fashions. The investments were too great to allow for new sets of rings, brooches and earrings every year. This task was taken over by costume jewellery for the first time at this time. In France at first, then also in Germany, England and the USA, costume jewellery became an essential part of the wardrobe of the fashion-conscious woman by the end of the 1920s. Even those who could afford real diamonds. Companies such as Jakob Bengel and Theodor Fahrner in Germany or the designs of Coco Chanel in Paris drove this increasingly wild hunt for the beautiful.

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You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.