The epitome of Bauhaus & Art Deco Costume Jewellery design // Jakob Bengel
Originating as a watch chain factory in Berlin, Germany in 1873, Jakob Bengel turned to jewellery making as a result of the onset of World War II which began in 1939. His designs at the time were considered cutting-edge due to the Art Deco and Bauhaus influence of the day. Hey employed a material known as Galalith (made from milk casein) to add to the chrome and metals which he had already been using to make his watch chains. Together these materials formed graphic and often dramatic, distinctive lines which became so prevalent in his design.
(the pieces, catalogued 1924-1939)
Today, the rare Jakob Bengel pieces are highly collectible. Bruna Harrison (owner of Harlequin Market) has over 30 years experience specialising in sourcing unique vintage pieces, and on the rare occasion is able to acquire pieces of Jakob Bengal jewellery. All the current Jakob Bengel pieces at Harlequin Market are authentic and have been acquired from Germany.
Jacob Bengel paved a path for modern designers through his excellent, high quality craftsmanship, unique designs and connection with the Art Deco movement.
Rejecting material elitism, Jakob Bengels geometric designs in chrome and galalith were clearly inspired by the defined and geometric lines of the Bauhaus and Art Deco aesthetic. For almost a decade, Jakob Bengels distinctive avant-garde costume jewellery designs extended to modern Parisian taste enormously successful markets opened up in other parts of Europe and United States, enabling the Bengel company to construct its own specialised tools and machines, allowing an extensive repertory of designs to be developed.
Features such as brickwork chains enhanced the Machine Age style of Bengels output.
The use of galalith for jewellery was prohibited in 1939 at the outset of WWII to save raw materials, and Jakob Bengels signature jewellery production thus came to an end. However, production was prolific during the 30s, with thousands of pieces stored away in the Bengel factory until the late 1970s. Many have surfaced to the vintage market in recent years, and have become some of the most sought after galalith jewellery to wear and collect.
None of Jakob Bengels jewellery were signed, and the authenticity is often questioned; especially now, as new pieces are being produced with Bengels original tools and machinery. These however, are produced with certification.
All pieces of Jakob Bengel acquired by Harlequin Marketare authentic.
Most have been worn and do show the slightest signs of use, commensurate with age.
Harlequin Market's collection of vintage Jakob Bengel necklaces.