A family affair over 5 generations

Edouard Leopold, Anton Leopold, Erwin Leopold, Franz Leopold, Anette Hannen

One wonders whether all this can still be a coincidence! In a telephone conversation with my uncle Egon, he mentioned rather casually that he still kept the certificates and “work books” of my grandfather, great-grandfather and even great-great-grandfather somewhere. I had not been aware until then that my ancestors had all trained and worked as goldsmiths and setters in Pforzheim.

That was all before I was born. Discovering this “treasure” is a great gift for me and I am now even more pleased to be able to continue the goldsmithing tradition of my ancestors.

 

Jochen Leopold born 10. January 1977 Anette Hannen born 1. October 1953 Franz Leopold born 16. July 1946 Erwin Leopold born 8. May 1908 Anton Leopold born 3. March 1859 Edouard Leopold

Many thanks to my uncle Egon Leopold for preserving the old documents and testimonies of the family history!

 

The goldsmith – a craft with a long history

The profession of goldsmith as such has been known since antiquity. However, it only received its designation in the Middle Ages, as this task required extensive knowledge of working with gold and alloys. Alchemists claimed to be able to transform different materials into gold. For this reason, gold forgeries were ubiquitous.

A solution was needed to protect the honest craft of goldsmiths. So goldsmiths began to align their workshops with windows facing the street. Passers-by could thus see how the goldsmiths worked on a daily basis. During the Renaissance, the goldsmith was considered a true artist. Moreover, almost all great painters completed an apprenticeship in goldsmithing in order to later devote themselves to painting and sculpture.

In countless paintings of this period, jewellery is depicted meticulously and in great detail. The increasing supply of precious stones from the East and the newly discovered America in the 17th and 18th centuries stimulated the creativity of goldsmiths. The goldsmith received more and more recognition: the handmade jewellery was offered in elegant shops.

In France, the sale of a piece of jewellery to a marquise or baroness was the ticket to fame and honour in society. However, if a piece of jewellery chosen by a noble lady led to a negative remark by the king, this meant the end for the goldsmith concerned. At the time of the Industrial Revolution, jewellery was only accessible to a privileged few.

Noble ladies spent their afternoons there, drinking tea and chatting while deciding what jewellery to wear for the next social event. In the 18th century, it became common for famous goldsmiths to travel all over the world. The development of the railway made it possible to travel faster and easier. It was not unusual for a goldsmith to travel to Russia and India. At these meetings with other goldsmiths, acquired knowledge was passed on and an exchange took place.

Passion for jewellery in the 21st century

The 20th century prompted goldsmiths to free themselves from traditional rules. Most of today’s major jewellery brands were created in the 20th century. And today, in the 21st century, goldsmiths and jewellery designers compete with colleagues worldwide and customers are reached in all parts of the world. The jewellery and watches from Uhren Leopold are also close to you! Look here in the shop for your personal piece of jewellery.

And do not forget: 1st december is the day of the goldsmith !