Bengel, Jackob

Jakob Bengel created his namesake company in 1873 in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. The company manufactured watch chains and expanded to an industrial level, thanks to cheap production costs; it became famous and sold around the world.  In the early 20th century, a second generation of Bengel managing the company diversified its output with costume jewellery. During the Arts Décoratifs World fair in 1925 the company exhibited a line of necklaces made out of plastic like Bakelite and galalithe, but also chromed-plated jewels which proved very successful. The Art Déco jewellery line was exported mainly to France, but also the rest of the world. In 1954 the company discovered aluminum, and soon created a new line of jewellery in anodized aluminum; rustproof and modern, these necklaces and rings helped the company resurrect the costume jewellery trade. In the 1970s, the production was relocated in Asia. In 1993 the market falls down and the company recedes until the Jakob Bengel foundation is created in 2001 to maintain its legacy.