Rockefeller Center – not far from where Marcus & Co. once had its own shop and competed with Tiffany & Co. to bejewel the city’s wealthiest women.
Herman Marcus came to New York from Germany in 1850 and started working as a designer at Tiffany & Co. He represented Tiffany at the 1878 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Marcus left Tiffany around 1884 to establish his own firm, Marcus & Co., with his two sons. Herman died in 1899 but his sons continued to run the company well into the 20th century.
During the early 20th century the firm produced fine Renaissance and Egyptian revival jewelry and became known for designs inspired by the French Art Nouveau period as well as their use of enameling. Marcus & Co. jewelers learned the craft of enameling at the Lalique workshop in Paris.
The firm’s bold use of brightly colored enamel mixed with precious and semi-precious gemstones is unmistakable and represents confidence in design not usually seen from this period.
Throughout the early 20th century, Marcus & Co. was responsible for some of the most interesting jewelry created by an American jewelry house.