Jerome Grossbardt and Larry Asch, two jewelers whose ancestors encompassed over 200 years in the jewelry business, co-founded a company that would become the leading manufacturer of high quality inlaid gold jewelry.
A jeweler's mark registered in 1947 confirms that Asch Grossbardt was founded that year by Jerome Grossbardt and Larry Asch. The firm's specialty was listed as "Inlay Jewelry." The manufacturing company was based in New York City, making it a convenient supplier to the many Manhattan jewelry firms that populated the Big Apple. Over the years, the company's reputation would expand to upscale jewelers across the globe.
Jerome Grossbardt has been described as the penultimate salesman, a real people-person who was a talented road salesman. He is also credited as having had a keen eye for detail and a real passion for design.
Each piece of Asch Grossbardt jewelry was a minor masterpiece, displaying its superior craftsmanship in a technique that transformed hand-cut semi-precious gemstones into designs reminiscent of the ornate stained glass windows in European cathedrals. The lovely mosaic designs have also been compared to the art of Native American tribes.
With unwavering attention to detail, highly skilled artisans used the designer's blueprint to painstakingly bring the original vision to life. Once the stones were set in place, they were lapped on a wheel to create a smooth surface, making it impossible to tell where one gemstone ended and another began. The result was a striking jewel that was durable enough to wear and enjoy every day.
The metals from which these beauties were crafted included sterling silver, 14 karat and 18 karat gold. The gemstones that were incorporated were black onyx, red coral, red jasper, banded malachite, lapis lazuli, turquoise, and opal. White mother-of-pearl was also used when topped with enamel to protect its surface.
Exquisite color combinations were a signature design element of Asch Grossbardt collections. Lustrous mother-of-pearl was twinned with jet-black onyx for stunning contrast. Marine blue lapis lazuli rubbed shoulders with a majestic purple sugilite, a gemstone in Africa that remained undiscovered until 1970. Coral, turquoise, and Australian opal formed a lovely pastel combination that paid homage to Southwestern art.
Many of the pieces were tagged with a diamond, or several, to add a touch of sparkle and complete the look.
Asch Grossbardt created jewelry in all modern forms, including rings, necklaces, bracelets, brooches and earrings, each an enduring work of art.
All of the designs were original and copyrighted. The business was very protective of their inlaid jewelry style designs, and at times defended their rights in court.
Jerome's Other Company
In addition to Asch Grossbardt, Jerome Grossbardt was the co-founder of Honora Pearls, a company that Jerome named after his wife, Honora "Honey" Grossbardt. Honora Pearls' co-founder was Stanley Schechter.
Carrying on the Business
Jerome's son, Eric, joined the business in 1986 after selling for Honora Pearls for nine years. He became the sole owner of Asch Grossbardt Inc. In 2000, after the retirement of his father and the firm's co-owner, Larry Asch, Eric proved to have a genuine aptitude for jewelry design. Many of his pieces may still be found for sale online.
Jerome Grossbardt retired to Boca Raton, Florida. He passed away on September 30, 2012.
Sometimes described as "collectors' jewelry," Asch Grossbardt pieces are both distinctive and a wonderful depiction of a lost art that embraces stunning color and exquisite craftsmanship. They are some of the most coveted pieces by collectors of fine jewelry.
Notable Asch Grossbardt Jewels
Dali-Inspired Earrings: A pair of one-of-a-kind earrings, inspired by the modern cubism art movement, featured beautifully arranged mother-of-pearl, black onyx, purple jade, and malachite gemstones. Brilliant round diamonds provided the finishing touches. The earrings were set in classic 18 karat yellow gold.
Bubble Ring: Polished 14 karat yellow gold was host to this eye-catching bauble, featuring seven different carved cabochon gemstones. Included were a pair of black onyx, twin aquamarines, two emeralds, two mother-of-pearl stones, an amethyst, a citrine, and a coral stone. A ribbon of brilliant round diamonds completed the look.
Dome Bangle Bracelet: The classic mosaic style was front and center in this captivating bracelet. It was fashioned of 14 karat yellow gold with bands of mother-of-pearl, lapis, black onyx, coral, sugilite and malachite.