Noble and timeless

Vintage brooch with pearl in granulated gold, Germany, 1950s

Granulation is an ancient discipline of goldsmithing that originated with the ancient Etruscans. The smallest gold balls are soldered onto a precious metal in such a way that they are only connected to each other at their respective tiny points of contact. Light and shadow on the surfaces thus granulated create a sculptural effect, and this is precisely what makes granulation work so appealing. The difficulty with this technique is to precisely match the melting point of the gold, because if the granulation balls get just a tiny bit too hot, the work immediately melts away. In the mid-19th century, the goldsmith Castellani brought this ancient technique back to life, which is why we know it sufficiently from Victorian-era jewelry. What is less well known, however, is that granulation experienced a renewed renaissance in 20th century Germany. How did this come about? In 1918, art historian Marc Rosenberg published The History of Goldsmithing on a Technical Basis - inspiring the goldsmiths among his readership to experiment. Johann Michael Wilm from Munich and also Elisabeth Treskow succeeded in producing fine pieces of jewellery with granulation even before the war. After the war, at the latest, the technique had matured to such an extent that it was even possible to order granulated pieces from jewellery catalogues. A typical granulated piece of jewellery of the 1950s is the brooch presented here. It has an abstract bow shape, the side bands are matted and the raised parts are polished. The knot of the bow is formed by a golden round, in the center of which a shimmering, warm white cultured pearl is set. A finely granulated pattern is applied all around. Typical here is the ornamentation composed of triangular shapes, which can be found on many German jewellery pieces of the time, for example in a catalogue of the jeweller Alfons Grupp from Pforzheim from the 1950s (cf. last illustration, there also with comparative pieces). Here, the "noble, timeless effect" of the granulated jewels is praised, and they are described as "splendid pieces of masterly goldsmithing". The brooch is in very good condition. With its interplay of gold structures, it exploits the versatility of the figurative precious metal and at the same time bears witness to the superior craftsmanship of the time.

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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.

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