Beauty, originality, quality - these are the words to describe the jewellery of the masters of Marcus & Co. This well-known and very popular company has a very interesting history! It was founded by Hermann Marcus in 1892 in New York. Herman Marcus was a German immigrant and a skilled jeweller. In 1850 the master moved from Germany to New York, where he got a job at Tiffany & Co. While working at Tiffany, Hermann Markus' jewellery was displayed at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1878.
After leaving Tiffany, he decided to open his own jewellery firm Marcus & Co. with his sons. The firm quickly gained a reputation for exceptional craftsmanship and innovative design.
One of the notable aspects of Marcus and Company is its participation in the Art Nouveau movement. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the company used the Art Nouveau artistic and decorative style in its jewellery. This contributed to the success and popularity of the firm in that era.
Marcus and Company was known for its use of colourful and rare stones such as peridots, opals, spinel, chrysoberyls, as well as intricate metalwork and motifs inspired by nature. Jewellery was often characterised by flowing lines, fine details and harmonious combinations of materials.
Hermann Marcus created incredibly beautiful pieces of jewellery using the plique-à-jour technique. Work in this technique requires great care and high professionalism. Flowers, leaves made in this technique look voluminous and airy. Marcus & Co.'s plique-à-jour jewelry, a true masterpiece! The delicate beauty of plique-à-jour enameling creates a stained glass effect, allowing light to filter through like a vibrant kaleidoscope. Gorgeous examples of Marcus & Co's work - brooches in the shape of a hypomeia called 'Morning Glory' and a fragrant pea are a delight to behold and admire! The sensitive 3-dimensional sculpting of the blossoms and leaves, as well as the naturalistic coloring of the enamels, reflects the Art Nouveau aesthetic that prevailed at the turn of the century.
Marcus&Co. Brooch.Circa 1900. Source: metmuseum
The company continued to thrive in the early 20th century, but, like many other businesses, faced difficulties during the Great Depression. Despite the economic difficulties, Marcus and Company continued to produce high quality jewellery. However, by the mid-twentieth century, the company closed its doors.
Although Marcus and Company is no longer in business, its legacy lives on through the beautiful and collectible jewellery that has been preserved. The craftsmanship and artistic vision of Herman Marcus continues to be appreciated by collectors and dealers of antique jewellery. Currently, the majority of Marcus&Co pieces are kept in the United States at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Cover image: Marcus&Co. Double Ring.Circa 1895. Source: metmuseum