A Vintage Jewelry Mystery Maker – Part Three

After publishing my first two articles on my 1930s jewelry ‘mystery’ maker I have come across some new examples of their work that I’d like to share with you.

This pendant is an intriguing juxtaposition of their chevron element – which we’ve seen on its own with a cascade of chains beneath, and also as half of a duo forming a bow – with a flat oval, the lower half of which is painted to match.  This is the very first true pendant that I have seen of theirs; all of the other examples have been full necklaces. I would love to know whether the chain is original to the piece!

This example is a design that we’ve seen before: the “nubbly” bow combined with a triple snake chain which is the same combination seen in autumn colors of bright yellow, pumpkin orange and chocolate brown in Part One. However, this one combines black, white and yellow. Considering that black was a popular Art Deco color it has puzzled me that I haven’t found it in any of their pieces until now.

A third new colorway for this design appears in this navy blue/silvertone metal combo.

Here is an alternate colorway for the same necklace shown in my second post in this series. The only difference is that this one had red on the chevron’s center instead of green.

Here we see black used for the second time, in combination with pumpkin orange. I’m rather surprised that they did not also use the black to accent the detail within the center areas of the bow.
Update, April 2015: I’ve since learned that the color on this bow is not original to the piece. The neckklace was originally all silvertone; the black and orange paints were applied by a subsequent owner. This explains not only the unaccustomed glossiness of the black (which I’d put down to the seller’s photo lighting) but also the atypical areas of color. I was going to remove this example from my post but decided to leave it in as an illustration of how a piece can be deliberately altered over time.

This necklace clearly has a replacement drop, and at first I assumed that the chain was not original either; mainly because it isn’t quite as heavy as the other Style B link chains seen thus far. However, the finish on the chain appears to match that of the bow.  So this might indeed be its original chain and clasp; if so, it is definitely “lighter” than any chain I’ve seen matched with this bow. I’d say the odds are 50/50 that it is a replacement chain. Its age was misattributed, of course; although vintage, it is certainly not Victorian which is what the seller of this piece had claimed.

We’ve seen this all-silvertone necklace in Part Two; however there is a subtle difference because that first necklace has black accents whereas this one does not. This is another case where the necklace was represented as a Bengel piece via “word of mouth” (more about such occurences in Part Four).

This last necklace may seem at first glance to be a particularly well preserved example of this maker’s work, with a typical Art Deco color combination of black and mint green. The shapes and patterns of the bow and drop certainly are in line with what we’ve seen so far. However, despite a casual similarity this is an entirely different bow design which, despite the similar patterning, is noticeably different on the ends: not only do they extend farther out than the originals do, but the ends are notched instead of having a straight edge. The chain is also not one of theirs. In fact this necklace is simply a fairly lame copycat of the Mystery Maker’s bow.

The next post about this mystery manufacturer examines the probabilities that any or all of these pieces were produced by Jakob Bengel, as some have claimed.

Other Posts in This Series
Descriptive Index of all pieces shown within this blog

If you have information about this jewelry or photographs of any examples that do not yet appear in this blog series, I would be delighted to include them in a future post! Please use the Contact Form on the About the Chatsworth Lady page.

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