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Art Dýco Schmuck / Art Dýco Jewelry Hardcover – September 1, 2002
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It was made from milk protein and formaldehyde and was one of the new synthetic products developed in the middle and latter part of the nineteenth century. The beauty of it was that it could be made cheaply, was heat resistant and easy to color, so makers of buttons, belt-buckles, knitting needles and similar small items were able to churn them out by the millions. It did have one drawback though: it couldn't be cast like later plastic but was made in slabs, tubes and rods then cut and worked into whatever simple shape was required.
The various new materials developed in the early years of the twentieth century were ideally suited to designers and creative folk influenced by the new 'isms' of the age: cubism, futurism, vorticism and especially modernism via the Bauhaus. The second part of the book has 253 photos of mass produced jewelry from the Bengel company. Their expertise in metalwork combined with the simple colorful shapes of Galalith makes all of these pieces look quite stunning. Strangely, despite the author's research, there seems to be no real explanation as to why this German metal working factory made such remarkable work. None of it was stamped with the company name, their Galalith jewelry output went to wholesalers who sold it on to retailers who added their brand names.
The book's production is as gorgeous as the jewelry. Printed on matt art paper with a 175 screen, the elegant layout throws up the excellent photography. The text is in German and English but the designers have avoided any potential reader confusion by splitting the text pages horizontally with German occupying the top section. In comparison the books for collectors from the main American publishers in this sector look bland and visually uninspiring (expensive, too).
Art Deco Jewelry is a beautiful celebration of past jewelry style that still looks fresh and lively today.
***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.
The prior year, 1926, saw the release of the silent film "Metropolis," Fritz Lang's anxious vision of a world demanding conformity in which "the masses" are controlled by machines and their owners. This film's art direction makes use of many art deco design elements which find their way into mainstream costume jewelry design. Geometric shapes and simplicity dominate costume jewelry in which new, inexpensive materials, such as bakelite and corolite could be incorporated, adding translucent and opaque color.
Fashion jewelry components in the 1930's were manufactured primarily in Bohemia so, when Jewish owners lost their factories in 1938, art deco costume jewelry also vanished from the fashion scene. This book gathers -- and preserves in photographs -- much of art deco jewelry's beauty within its pages.