He didn’t start off as a jewelry designer, in fact Jakob Bengel was a German locksmith from Idar-Oberstein, Germany. It wasn’t until he was inspired by the jewelry designs of the day that he became interested in doing something else. First, he started producing simple pocket watch chains and later graduated to using Galalith, brass and chrome to produce some of the now more sought after pieces of Art Deco jewelry.
Galalith is a synthetic plastic material that is made by combining casein and formaldehyde. This material cannot be molded after it has set; therefore designs embedded into the material have to be made prior to its production. However after production, this hard plastic can be colored, drilled and embossed in addition to combining it with other materials such as precious metals and stones to make beautiful designs. This process is one in which Jakob Bengel was an expert. His designs are much sought after today by jewelry aficionados and collectors.
As a collector and reseller of vintage collectibles, like many others, every few weeks go to the “lists.” The lists are what tell us what people are searching for and we hope, if they are searching for, they are buying. As webmaster, I also check my own list, to see what searches have landed people on my website, but there are also lists on Tias and eBay that are published periodically for all to see. One name that has seems to be on these lists for a little while now is Pfaltzgraff.
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