American jewelry craft bloomed with the industrial revolution. Designers were artists as well as innovators. Immigrants and Americans flocked to Newark, New Jersey to cultivate their skills as it became the bustling jewelry hub of the New World.
The materials used were fine quality - bright yellow gold with glittering precious gemstones. However, the jewelry being produced was not reserved with only the wealthy in mind but was made to target the newly burgeoning middle class.
The Riker Brothers specialized in this market with patented techniques that made their jewelry seem to come to life. The family-run business created engaging designs that bespoke to the intrigue of Art Nouveau. A staple product of theirs was the gold bangle.
Decorous bracelets were expertly constructed with nature-inspired scenery that seemed to be emerging from the metal. The atelier employed stylistically raised imagery completed by finely textured details.
Riker Brothers also devised floral scenes that seem to capture a moment frozen in time, similar to a painting. Wearers are adorned with the serene delicateness of a windswept flower swaying in a strong breeze.
The family was also deftly skilled with hand engraved details. Metalsmiths inscribed mesmerizing floral and foliate motifs with each scrolling line a testament to the engraver’s mastery.
In their growing popularity, the Riker family began to fabricate mystical depictions of mythological creatures - fire breathing dragons and grimacing chimeras.These entrancing designs linger in the imagination and helped usher in a new era of American craft.