Art Nouveau Mermaid Cufflinks
Mermaid and Swan
| As a swan glides past, a mermaid quietly
contemplates her scepter among the swaying cattails. These
finely sculpted cufflinks are a tour de force of Art Nouveau
design. Note the mermaid's richly flowing hair as it
tangles with the swaying cattails and falls to the gently
rippling water. The gold sky and water are subtly textured
so they glow as if illuminated by early dawn light .
Created by Krementz & Co. in 14kt gold, circa 1900.
A wonderful feature of these cufflinks is that the mermaid and swan motif is repeated on the backs. In the years around 1900 the backs of most cufflinks were left unadorned or merely engraved with initials - in short the backs were somewhat plain and uninteresting. To rectify this Krementz & Co. began creating cufflinks with the backs decorated with the same or a similar design as the fronts. These cufflinks are sometimes referred to as "Krementz doubles".
The beauty of the design is matched by the precision and care with which these cufflinks were created. Note the sturdy curved bridge and strong quad brackets ("four footed") that anchor the ends of the bridge. The curve of the bridges helps orient the cufflinks on the cuff and keep them properly aligned, while the sturdiness of the linkage helps assure that the cufflinks remain securely attached when worn. The level of craftsmanship is apparent in even the small, often overlooked details.
The maker's mark of Krementz & Co. is stamped on the bridges just to the right of the "14K" gold purity mark. The Krementz mark has been described as "a nose and moustache", but is actually the profile of a collar button that Krementz & Co. invented during the late Victorian era.
Name: Mermaid and Swan
The Story of Krementz Art Nouveau Jewelry
Although Art Nouveau jewelry was first created in France during the 1890's, the style was soon embraced by jewelers in the United States. Among the early adopters of Art Nouveau design was Krementz & Company, a fine jewelry maker based in Newark, New Jersey. The firm's history tells how in the mid 1890s one of the sons of George Krementz, the firm's eponymous founder, embarked on a bicycle trip through Europe while on summer break from Yale. During his travels he became entranced with the exotic jewels of the Art Nouveau and upon his return urged his father to embrace the new style. These cufflinks were likely a result of the son's new found passion.
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