Pair of Bracelets thumbnail 1
Pair of Bracelets thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Pair of Bracelets

ca. 1820s (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Cast-iron jewellery was an inexpensive but fashionable novelty for consumers in Europe and America from around 1800 to 1860. Cast iron medallions were made in the royal ironworks at Gleiwitz from 1798, and another royal factory was founded in Berlin in 1804. The first jewellery was made in Berlin in 1806. Iron jewellery became the symbol of Prussian patriotism and resistance to Napoleon I in the Prussian War of Liberation fought from 1813-15. Women donated gold jewellery to their country in exchange for iron inscribed ‘I gave gold for iron’.

The transformation of cast iron into a fashionable product was an important Prussian manufacturing success. Factories became adept at casting small, delicate parts which could be assembled to create the jewellery. A renewed interest in the medieval past throughout Europe brought stylistic change. After 1815, the Neo-classical designs of earlier Berlin ironwork were replaced by Gothic motifs such as the trefoil, quatrefoil, and fine pointed arches. The jewellery quickly gained an international profile. Demand peaked in the 1830s, when Berlin alone had 27 foundries listed as producing jewellery, and manufacture had spread to France and Austria.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Bracelet
  • Bracelet
Materials and Techniques
Cast iron
Brief Description
Pair of bracelets, iron, made by August Ferdinand Lehmann, Germany (Berlin), about 1830
Physical Description
Bracelet, iron, the clasp signed by A.F. Lehmann, Berlin. The back formed of four long plaques of tracery and foliage, five smaller plaques of vine-foliage and a clasp of cusped tracery with an applied rosette.
Dimensions
  • Height: 17.2cm
  • Width: 19.5cm
  • Depth: 0.9cm
Marks and Inscriptions
'A.F. Lehman [sic] / Ber = lin' (signed on back of box of clasp)
Credit line
Given by Mrs Lintorn-Orman
Object history
August Ferdinand Lehmann (born 1806) is recorded as a maker of fine cast ironwork from 1830.



The four large links in this braclet are closely similar in design to a link described as by Johann Conrad Geiss, Royal Ironworks Gleiwitz, 1820-30 (illustrated in Fig. 7, page 105, of Cast Iron from Central Europe 1800-1850, ed. Elisabeth Schmuttermeier, Bard Graduate Center with the MAK, Vienna, 1994, published for an exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center, New York, 1994. The illustration is credited as taken from Erwin Hintze, 'Berliner Privatunternehmer für Eisenkunstguss', Jahrbuch des Schlesischen Museum für Kunstgewerbe und Altertümer, vol. 9, Breslau, 1928).
Subjects depicted
Summary
Cast-iron jewellery was an inexpensive but fashionable novelty for consumers in Europe and America from around 1800 to 1860. Cast iron medallions were made in the royal ironworks at Gleiwitz from 1798, and another royal factory was founded in Berlin in 1804. The first jewellery was made in Berlin in 1806. Iron jewellery became the symbol of Prussian patriotism and resistance to Napoleon I in the Prussian War of Liberation fought from 1813-15. Women donated gold jewellery to their country in exchange for iron inscribed ‘I gave gold for iron’.



The transformation of cast iron into a fashionable product was an important Prussian manufacturing success. Factories became adept at casting small, delicate parts which could be assembled to create the jewellery. A renewed interest in the medieval past throughout Europe brought stylistic change. After 1815, the Neo-classical designs of earlier Berlin ironwork were replaced by Gothic motifs such as the trefoil, quatrefoil, and fine pointed arches. The jewellery quickly gained an international profile. Demand peaked in the 1830s, when Berlin alone had 27 foundries listed as producing jewellery, and manufacture had spread to France and Austria.
Collection
Accession Number
M.35&A-1921

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record createdAugust 10, 2005
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