On this day in 1866, just months after the close of the American Civil War, George Krementz founded his jewelry manufacturing company in Newark, New Jersey. For the first 12 years, he made a "general range" of women's jewelry but strictly for wholesale trade to other jewelry makers, not under the Krementz brand name. In 1884, he received a patent for his new collar stud design (which would become the first men's item he would manufacture). Collar studs were used to attach starched collars to dress shirts, in the days before they were sewn together. Krementz's new design was of one-piece construction (no seams, thus stronger) and could be made quickly on the new machinery he developed. Shortly after receiving his patent, he was making 30,000 to 40,000 such collar studs a week—making the Krementz name well-known among American men and shifting his balance of profit from women's to men's jewelry.
Krementz's next bold development was to make rolled-gold plate jewelry. In this process, layers of different metals are rolled together—under heat and tremendous pressure—to create "sandwiched" sheets of durable metal with the valuable element on the top (yellow gold, white gold, platinum or rhodium). Once the sheet was created, it could be stamped, engraved, shaped and assembled into handsome high quality (but affordable) jewelry. Krementz made their gold layers thicker than competitors, improving the quality and durability of their wares. They also promoted a generous "satisfaction or replacement" policy which really stood-behind the quality of their goods.
The cufflinks shown above, made in the 1910's or 1920's, have rolled-platinum fronts and are finished with rolled-gold backs. They are a timeless and handsome pair of cufflinks—of very nice quality. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248