In Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, the name of Theodor Fahrner was familiar to every jewelry connoisseur. Largely because the master was making affordable, but exquisite pieces. He believed that the artistry – the most precious thing. And turned serial products into art objects.
Pforzheim – the most jewelry town in Germany
Theodor Fahrner was born in Pforzheim, Germany, in 1859. His father, Theodor the elder, made and sold rings depicting historical events. The young Theodore studied metal engraving at the Pforzheim Academy of Art. There he honed his artistic talent and love of art, which he carried through his life.
How did Theodore dispose of his inheritance?
In 1883 Theodore’s father died. His factory was inherited by his son. Theodore was not limited to the production of rings. He began to produce necklaces, bracelets, brooches and earrings. He was the first to create designer jewelry. And also invited famous masters and artists to collaborate. The style of each of them was special. Theodore worked with members of the Mathildenhohle art town in Darmstadt. And also with the professors of the Pforzheim Industrial School.
Collaboration with other masters
Theodore believed that “art is one” and hired various specialists. Among them were the type designer Max J. Gradl, Joseph Maria Obrich, an Austrian architect, furniture, porcelain and graphic designer, Patriz Huber, a German jeweler and interior designer, the German artist and sculptor Franz Boeres, the French artist Paul Burck, the German artist Julius Muller-Salem, H. H.C. van de Velde is a Belgian architect, artist and interior designer.
Theodore Fahrner – the “fabricator of the arts”
Theodore Fahrner became known, not just as a costume jewellery manufacturer, but primarily as a “fabricator of arts” or “art.” The jewelry was fully or partially produced by machines. Thus, a small firm for the production of rings turned into one of the most prosperous jewelry houses in Europe. And so it continued until 1950.
In 1900 the factory became internationally renowned. At the World Exhibition in Paris one of the designers of the firm, Max J. Gradl, received a silver medal. Soon a large number of Theodore Fahrner’s jewelry would be delivered to London and New York.
The stamp “TF” was registered in 1901. In 1901-1902 the “TF 935 PH” mark was also encountered. This jewelry was made by Patriz Huber.
Art Nouveau and Jugendstil
Theodore was known for his Art Nouveau and Jugendstil pieces. Jugendstil is an Austrian and German Art Nouveau movement. This style is characterized by natural forms, fluidity and lightness, the rejection of straight angles and lines. The name appeared in 1896, when a weekly magazine “Jugend” began to be published in Munich, which in German means “young”.
Peculiarities of Theodor Fahrner’s jewelry
The firm was characterized by very fine workmanship. The metal was processed by a special technique. Thin flagella were soldered, creating a signature pattern. Often marcasite and light-colored gilding were used. Craftsmanship differed in the fixing of links and in the design of locks on bracelets.
Theodore Fahrner succeeded. Industrial jewelry reached the level of jewelry art. His sophisticated pieces were bought by people of all incomes. He often used semi-precious stones and put the design of the jewelry in the first place, its artistic value.
Nowadays jewelry by Theodore Farner is highly appreciated by collectors, albums and catalogs with products of this company are published.