Spotlight on a maker: Thomas L Mott

Spotlight on a maker: Thomas L Mott

Since the charm bracelet is believed to have originated in England, we thought it fitting that the English Thomas L Mott Company be the first in our series of featured charm makers.

Recognised by a variety of hallmarks, all of which include TL Mott, TLM or TLM England, Mott is perhaps most famous for the butterfly wing jewellery that was immensely popular throughout the Art Deco period, having been unveiled to the public in a range he showed at the British Exposition of 1924. Mott subsequently acquired two other creators of butterfly wing jewellery, Henry W King & Son and Owen Brothers, to become the pre-eminent producer of the ‘20s and ‘30s.

Thomas L Mott TLM Enamel Rabbit Charm  Thomas L Mott TLM Enamel Seagull Bird in Circle Charm  Thomas L Mott TLM Enamel Squirrel Charm

The TLM Company was equally prolific in its production of charms, most of which were designed to be travel souvenirs, believed in most cases to have been sold at tourist destinations and on cruise liners. Mott’s individual country charms are often seen collectively on one of the maker’s original bracelets - celebrating each destination with a tiny work of art, they made the perfect globetrotter’s memento. Indeed, they still do, although sourcing these delightful little maps is much more of a challenge nowadays and the rarest examples command exceptionally high prices.

Thomas L Mott TLM Enamel Ireland Map Charm  Thomas L Mott TLM Enamel Australia Map Charm  Thomas L Mott TLM Enamel Jersey Map Charm

The majority of Mott’s charm designs incorporated beautifully vivid enamelling, for which he is best known, and many were produced in series, which, of course, makes them particularly collectible. In addition to the travel-related, there were zodiac signs and flowers to correspond with the twelve months of the year.

Thomas L Mott TLM Zodiac Astrology Charms

Born in 1881, Thomas Lyster Mott continued the legacy of his father (Thomas London Mott, 1848-1917), who founded a wholesale jewellery business in Birmingham in 1875. Thomas Snr encountered mixed fortunes and, when he was declared bankrupt in 1894, he can’t possibly have imagined the huge success with which the company would meet with Thomas Jnr at the helm.

During WWII, TLM produced a range of sweetheart brooches, with characteristic colourful enamel, for servicemen to give to their loved ones. These may have been among the company’s last designs before it was sold to the jewellery firm Shipton & Co, a thriving Birmingham business still in operation today.

Click here to see TLM charms currently for sale.

Thomas L Mott TLM Flower Month Charm Set Chart

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13 comments

I collected hundreds of Thomas Mott bracelets, pendents, and brooches in the days when they had to be tracked down in the wild and wrote an article that appeared in the American trade magazine, Jewelers’ Circular Keystone. Collectors today should count themselves lucky to find so many pieces and so much information online.

Roberta

I have recently purchased a TLM brooch
It’s romeo and juliet could you advise where I could find out more about the brooch and value

MRS DEBORAH HARRIS

Please can you help me
I have a piece of work by this maker but cannot find any information about it it’s a romeo and juliet brooch which can be worn as a pendant also
It has the signature on the back it is beautiful
Please could you advise
Kind regards
Debbie

Deborah Harris

I just purchased a beautiful butterfly wing ring of the Arundel castle ocean liner for a few quid! And now im enjoying finding out about all of the history behind it.

Jordan Adams

Hi Natalie
Thanks for your comment. I am sorry I am not so familiar with TLM jewellery, only the charms so am not able to answer your question – perhaps another reader may be able to leave a comment to answer this? Amanda

Charmarama

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