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.
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.
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.
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.
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