Bridge Maker cufflink, circa 1925.
One of the delights of antique cufflinks is exploring the
history and discovering forgotten works of the jewelers who
created these miniature master pieces. Over the past 150 years
firms creating fine jewelry in the United States have numbered
in the hundreds, if not more. No doubt a large percentage of
these jewelers created cufflinks.
Bridge Maker cufflink, circa 1925.
In several earlier notes (see list below) I wrote about the
cufflinks of one of the more mysterious of these talented
makers ... the Winged Bridge Maker. Nicknamed for the
distinctive wing-like bridges that unite the ends of the
cufflinks, this maker created beautiful white and yellow gold
cufflinks during the early Art Deco period. The cufflinks
sparkle with the exuberance of the Jazz Age featuring finely
engraved centers surrounded by bold geometric and foliate
of cufflinks by Winged Bridge maker.
The cufflinks are identified by the distinctive winged
bridges, as well as the quality of the craftsmanship, beauty
of the center engraving and bold border work. However, beyond
that there are no maker's marks or other clues to the identity
of the Winged Bridge Maker. The only marking on the bridges is
"14K" for the purity of the gold. Until recently, the maker of
these elegant cufflinks has been unidentified.
Jacob Hookaylo cufflink,
The mystery of the Winged Bridge Maker was solved with the
help of the above cufflink. Beneath a shimmering layer of dark
magenta enamel this cufflink is identical to the example
pictured at the beginning of this note. They both have yellow
gold centers finely engraved with a pattern of wavy lines
creating an optical illusion of stacked boxes. They both have
white gold borders with geometric motifs and radiant palmette
The enameled cufflink was created by Jacob Hookaylo, a jeweler
of Ukrainian descent who immigrated to the United States and
founded a self-named jewelry workshop in Newark, New Jersey
around 1920. The cufflink at the beginning of this note is
attributed to the Winged Bridge Maker.
Reverse of Jacob Hookaylo
On the reverse of the enameled cufflink a winged bridge
connects the two ends. The center of the bridge is stamped
with the maker's mark of the Hookaylo firm - and "H" within a
Jacob Hookaylo maker's
The bridge of the signed cufflink is angular with hints of
Greek key and other geometric motifs. The bridge design
reflects the Art Deco style of the 1920s. The bridges of the
unsigned cufflinks are more flowing with an Art Nouveau
sensibility. However, both cufflinks clearly date from the
1920s as indicated by the use of white gold. The changing
bridge design, as well as the introduction of enamel work, may
reflect the evolution of the Hookaylo firm as it adapted to
the changing fashions of the Jazz Age.
Hookaylo "Winged Bridge" cufflink, circa 1925.
Based on the above, I believe that the Hookaylo firm created
the cufflinks previously identified as work of the Winged
Bridge Maker. In short, Jacob Hookaylo is the Winged Bridge
Of course any such attribution warrants several caveats.
Identifying Jacob Hookaylo as the Winged Bridge Maker is, at
this time, based on a single pair of signed cufflinks which
strongly resembles a pair of cufflinks attributed to the
Winged Bridge Maker. As other signed pairs come to light or if
documentary evidence is found (for example Hookaylo trade
catalogs, receipts, design patents, etc...) the attribution
will be strengthened. Currently little is known about Jacob
Hookaylo and the firm he founded. Given the beauty of the
cufflinks, further research into the firm and its founder
would be well worth the effort.
A second caveat regards the maker's mark. Jacob Hookaylo was
not the only jewelry maker to employee a maker's mark with an
"H" inside a parallelogram. Dorothy Rainwater's invaluable
reference, American Jewelry Manufacturers, identifies two
other jewelry maker's with similar marks - Haltom Industries
of Ft. Worth, Texas and J&L Hartzberg of New York City.
Haltom Industries was founded in 1948 and employed an "H" in a
square diamond shape as its maker's maker. The dissimilarity
of the maker's mark and the date of the firm's founding
preclude it as the maker of the above enameled cufflink or as
a candidate for the Winged Bridge Maker.
Bridge cufflink, circa 1925
The second firm J&L Hartzberg is a more interesting.
Dorothy Rainwater identifies John and Louis Hartzberg as
"manufacturers of platinum jewelry" and trade references
indicate that the firm was active during the 1920s. During
this period in the United States the hand-crafting of platinum
rings and other jewels for important diamonds and colored
gemstones was based in New York City. I suspect that J&L
Hartzberg participated in this trade. It seems unlikely that
the firm was involved in the manufacture of cufflinks,
although until the Hookaylo attribution is strengthened this
always remains a possibility. As always there is more research
to be done!
Earlier notes about the Winged Bridge Maker:
Antique Cufflinks: Mystery Makers
The "Winged Bridge" Maker
The "Winged Bridge" Maker - II