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The Intricate Cufflinks of L. Fritzsche

By Arthur Anderson

L. Fritzsche "exuberantly geometric" cufflinks, circa 1925.

L. Fritzsche & Co. was founded in 1905 in Newark, New Jersey. The firm initially served as a specialty shop providing engraving services to other jewelers.  But by 1909 Lebrecht Fritzsche began to create finished jewelry in platinum and gold.  Beyond that we know little about Fritzsche and the company he founded ... except for the wonderful cufflinks his firm created during the 1920s and 1930s.

Fritzsche cufflinks are a mesmerizing, exuberant celebration of geometry.  They sparkle with myriad engraved lines, playful geometric motifs and textured surfaces that combine in beautifully balanced patterns of intoxicating complexity.  Fritzsche cufflinks achieve the early Art Deco ideal of leaving no surface, no edge unembellished.  The cufflinks are richy detailed without being cluttered, captivating without being overbearing.

L. Fritzsche marquise and diamond cufflinks, circa 1925.

In contrast to the more prolific cufflink makers of the  period (e.g. Wordley, Allsopp & Bliss and Charles Keller & Co.), the production of the Fritzsche firm was limited.  However, like other "small batch" makers of the period (e.g. William Huger Co. and The Brassler Company), what L. Fritzsche & Company lacked in production numbers was more than made up for by the artistry and beauty of the firm's designs.

Fritzsche cufflinks have a unique look, an inescapable beauty that after a brief familiarity becomes immediately recognizable.  In a way the scarcity of Fritzsche cufflinks adds to their charm.

L. Fritzsche "Racing Comet" cufflinks, circa 1925.

L. Fritzsche, like other Art Deco cufflink makers, drew inspiration from an eclectic range of sources.  Fritzsche cufflinks display abstract, purely geometric designs, as well as nature-inspired themes rendered in a distinctly Art Deco, stylized manner.

The Art Deco era was enthralled with speed and motion.  Fast cars, record breaking airplane flights and luxurious ocean liners all reflected a passion for acceleration, travel and challenging the limits.  Comets racing in from the far reaches of the universe were an apt symbol for the frenetic wanderlust of the period.  In the above Fritzsche cufflink dazzling diamond-set comets dart across the night sky as stars speed-blur in the background.  The stylized rendering of the comets anticipates the Op Art of later decades.

L. Fritzsche foliate and floral cufflinks, circa 1920.

This final pair of Fritzsche cufflinks is an Art Deco interpretation of earlier Edwardian designs.  During the Edwardian period (circa 1900 to 1915) jewels often featured beautifully engraved, lace-like confections of flowers and foliage surrounded by intricate scroll and floral borders.

The above Fritzsche cufflink reimagines the earlier Edwardian designs adding a distinctly Art Deco flavor.  The floral/foliate design in the center is now stylized and bold, not flowing and lacy, while the delicate borders have been replaced with a primitive geometric pattern suggesting the Art Deco interest in tribal arts and ancient cultures.  The nice thing about antique cufflinks is that the designs of both periods - Edwardian and Art Deco - can be equally captivating.

The above and other fine cufflinks can be found
in the Antique Cufflink Gallery.

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Arthur Anderson
PO Box 1448
Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA

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