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Women's Week Designer Spotlight: Florence Koehler

In honour of International Women’s Day on March 8th, we’ve decided to shine a spotlight on some of the talented women who have shaped the jewellery design industry over the years. Today, we discover Florence Koehler, jewellery maker of the Arts and Crafts movement:

Florence Koehler in her studio

Florence Koehler in her studio. Image Source: encyclopedia.design

Florence Koehler (1861 - 1944) was a founding member of the Chicago Arts and Crafts Society, taught jewellery-making and metalsmithing, and was one of the best-known jewellers of the Arts and Crafts movement, despite the mystery surrounding her background and early years. 


After studying enamelwork and jewellery in London in 1898, she travelled all over Europe and counted many creative types as her friends, including American writer Henry James and French artist Henri Matisse.

Florence Koehler Emerald and Sapphire Ring
Sapphire and emerald ring set in 22-karat gold, circa 1905. Image: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Koehler enjoyed incorporating cabochons into her pieces. Here are some beautiful Skyjems rings featuring this understatedly elegant shape!


8.08ct Star Sapphire Mountain Ring set in 14kt Yellow Gold

8.08ct Star Sapphire Mountain Ring set in 14kt Yellow Gold

$4,980.00

4.88ct Opal & Sapphire Ring in 14kt Rose/Pink Gold


4.88ct Opal & Sapphire Ring in 14kt Rose/Pink Gold

$1,600.00

 

2.14ct Sugar Loaf Ruby & 0.50ct Diamond Ring in 18kt Pink & Yellow Gold GIA Certified

2.14ct Sugar Loaf Ruby & 0.50ct Diamond Ring in 18kt Pink & Yellow Gold GIA Certified

$8,500.00

Koehler usually customized her jewellery designs to her clients, including the gemstones themselves, though she tended to prefer cabochons over faceted stones. In a 1910 article for The Burlington Magazine, art critic Roger Fry described her work as having an “imaginative and definitely poetic quality”, citing it as “an important moment in the modern revival of craftsmanship.”

Florence Koehler Leaf Design Ring
Leaf design ring - enameled gold and emerald, circa 1905-1935. Image: Smithsonian American Art Museum



After Koehler’s death in 1944, some of her jewellery was donated to the Rhode Island School of Design while other pieces are displayed at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

Tune in tomorrow, when we tell you all about the incredibly inspiring life of French designer Suzanne Belperron! Read More: Women's Week Designer Spotlight: Suzanne Belperron






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