The Shanks & Co brand in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was well known not only in tsarist Russia, but also in Europe. Unfortunately, this trademark has long ceased to exist, but the greater joy overwhelms connoisseurs of antiques when jewelry, which bears the Shanks & Co. brand, go to auctions.
Shanks & Co, How it all began
One of the founders of the brand, James Stuart Shanks, had nothing to do with jewelry making. But he was well versed in economics, he was a successful businessman who graduated from Leiden University.
In 1850, James receives a substantial inheritance and a share in the family horse-carriage business. In 1851, Shanks went to the World’s Fair in London. There he is literally fascinated by the Russian jewelry exposition, which exhibited jewelry made by the Bolin company. This was the first real success of Russian jewelers, their products were highly appreciated.
The art of Karl Edward Bolin was highly valued at the royal court, it was not for nothing that he became a court master. He was well versed in the peculiarities of precious stones, made magnificent frames for jewelry.
Creation of an empire
The firm, headed by Karl Bohlin, was based in St. Petersburg. His children, brother Heinrich, worked at this family business. For several years they dreamed of expanding their business, they wanted to open a branch of the company in Moscow. This became possible after a meeting of two talented people took place in London: Shanks and Bolin. In 1852, jewelry aficionados met a new company, Shanks & Bolin. An English businessman decides to move with his family to Moscow. There, on Kuznetsky Most, a popular Moscow shopping street, a joint store opens under the brand name – Shanks & Bolin.
In 1880 the Moscow branch moved to another location – to the Tretyakov house. The executives of the company did their own thing: Shanks was in charge of the financial and organizational part, and his partner plunged into the production of original high-standard silver items. By the way, the store sold not only jewelry; Muscovites could purchase European porcelain and German ceramics along with charming jewelry. And there was also a real paradise for a fashionista: lace, fans, handbags, ornaments for hairstyles.
After the death of one of the partners, the company was reorganized and renamed Shanks & Co.
The luxury of silver
Carl Edward Bolin expertly made silver jewelry frames. His brother, Heinrich Bohlin, specialized in framing ceramic, crystal and porcelain. Items made in the style of Victorian England were skillfully trimmed with silver in Russia.
Porcelain and ceramic sets were painted with a popular floral print at that time, and were framed with graceful silver details as a finishing touch.
Crystal glassware in a silver frame struck with its extraordinary beauty and luxury. The products from the hands of the masters came out so harmonious that there was a feeling that they were made of some one material.