Robert and Louis Koch

Recognized by their supremely sophisticated style, Robert and Louis Koch are two of the most celebrated German jewelers of their time. With their meticulous craftsmanship and keen eye for design, the jewelry house quickly received international recognition, becoming a favorite amongst European royalty, even being awarded in 1883 the title of “Jeweler of the Court.”

 

Shown in the above portrait, is one of many Koch tiaras commissioned by European royalty—a glittering diamond kokoshnik, created by the firm in 1905 for Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Crown Princess of Germany.

Originally founded in 1879, Koch opened their first store in Frankfurt to nearly immediate success. The Koch brothers’ production of regal tiaras, crowns, diadems and bandeaux, which supplied the German imperial family as well as aristocrats and millionaires alike, solidified their presence in the local market, while their acute business sense led to their successful expansion to further international clientele. The strategic placement of a store in the fashionable spa resort of Baden Baden and Louis’s impeccable taste and salesmanship drew the attention of even more European royalty; and soon, the King of Italy, the Russian Tsar and the Prince of Wales were all looking to adorn their courts with the brothers’ creations.

 

In 1902, Robert Koch passed away, leaving Louis to take charge of the company. Louis managed to successfully lead the firm for nearly half a century, through the difficult post-World War I years and widespread economic recession. Even after his subsequent death, the firm continued to be prosperous in the hands of his grandsons and nephews. During the oppressive Nazi regime, the company was “Aryanized,” and taken over by Robert Bosch and the family eventually lost control of the firm. Although the popularity of the company was briefly revived in the 1950s, Koch jewelry from the late 19th and early 20th century continue to be considered the golden period of the Koch House, are very much sought after in today’s antique jewelry market.

 

This June, Fortuna Offers an Impressive Example of Koch Brothers’ Eye for Design—An Egyptian Revival Emerald, Tourmaline and Diamond Necklace.

 

A close-up of Koch Brothers Emerald, Tourmaline and Diamond Necklace, offered this June in Fortuna’s FINE JEWELS sale, Lot 222.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The craze for Egyptian art and artifacts that swept through Europe during the mid to late 19th century naturally found its way into the fashion and jewelry world, inspiring the frequent use of Egyptian motifs, such as hieroglyphs, representations of deities and more.

 

A highly collectable piece which fully embodies the quality that led Robert and Louis Koch to be popularly known as the “Cartier of Germany,” this graceful Egyptian revival necklace remains a proud highlight of the June FINE JEWELS collection offered by Fortuna. Created circa 1900, with dazzling emeralds and sparkling pink tourmaline gemstones carved in the form of winged scarabs, the traditional Egyptian symbol for rebirth, delicately accented by diamonds, this piece endures as an icon of the style which re-introduced motifs from antiquity into adornment, favoring more elongated silhouettes as well as the use of semiprecious stones, all the while maintaining the turn-of-the-century love of luxury.