Originating as a watch chain factory in Berlin, Germany in 1873, Jakob Bengel turned to jewellery making as a result of the onset of World War II. His designs at the time were considered cutting-edge due to the Art Deco and Bauhaus influence of the day.
He employed a material known as Galalith (made from milk casein) to add to the chrome and metals which he had already been using to make his watch chains. Together these materials formed graphic and often dramatic, distinctive lines which became so prevalent in his design.
The use of galalith for jewellery was prohibited in 1939 at the outset of WWII to save raw materials, and Jakob Bengel’s signature jewellery production thus came to an end. However, production was prolific during the 30s, with thousands of pieces stored away in the Bengel factory until the late 1970s.
Many have surfaced to the vintage market in recent years, and have become some of the most sought after galalith jewellery to wear and collect.