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1960s Friedrich Becker Gold Ring Interchangeable Amethyst Chalcedony Agate Orbs


Friedrich Becker: Modernist Gold Ring with Interchangeable Precious Stone Orbs 18k yellow gold, interchangeable chalcedony, amethyst, rose quartz, rock crystal, hematite, green agate and moss agate orb Ring size: Ø 19.8 mm = EU 62 / US 10 / ASIA 20 Diameter of precious stone orbs: ca. 11.3 mm (approx. 7/16") Marks: maker’s mark, gold content mark ‘750’ Germany, 1959/60 The ring model on offer is part of various public collections: Museum of Applied Arts Cologne, Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim, Goldsmith’s Hall, London. Friedrich Becker developed the prototype of the ring on offer with a slightly wider ring band in 1957 and when partaking in the competition, was awarded the Bavarian State Prize for it two years later. The analogous ring model on offer with a square, flexible ring band was developed by him in 1959/60. It is forged of one piece of gold, holding the precious stone orbs solely by the tension of the ring band. In the late 1950s a revolutionary approach to the design of a ring: stone settings became redundant, decor was abandoned, forms reduced to their essentials. Friedrich Becker (1922 – 1997), goldsmith, craftsman, sculptor, inventor and engineer, mainly known for his kinetic jewellery, sculptures and objects which he started to develop in the mid-1960s, focused in the preceding years, between 1952 and 1962, on jewellery pieces made from yellow gold - though apart from the use of a classic material the jewellery of this period has nothing in common with jewellery in the classic sense. Bare of any superfluous adornments his rings and bracelets emphasize on their construction, not intending to be ornaments by themselves, but becoming adornments when worn. “In 1952 Becker had developed a bangle with a replaceable piece, a ball; in 1956 he had invented the “two-way-ring”… The emphasis was not on the piece of jewellery as an ornament but as a construction: the bezel opened out at the top where it held the stone. The latter was not cut into facets as normally, but designed as a ball, cylinder, lens-shape, cuboid, spindle or prismatic rectangle. As stones in this shape were not available on the market, they were made in Idar-Oberstein from Becker’s models. Their size and unity gave the rings a singularly monumental appearance. What was even more unusual was that the stones were interchangeable, that the goldsmith left open the choice of stone and colour – an early indication of Becker’s love of diversification.” (Becker, Hildegard (ed.): Friedrich Becker. Schmuck. Kinetik. Objekte. // Friedrich Becker. Jewellery. Kinetic. Objects. Stuttgart 1997, p. 19).


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    Friedrich Becker
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