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 recently purchased a TLM ring online and the pictures appeared to show a light lavender butterfly wing. When I received the ring it looks like the Virgin Mary under the glass dome. Is this something that Thomas L. Mott did frequently? I have had no luck with finding any information about religious jewelry he might of made.

Natalie

I have discovered the brooches he made of ocean liners and wondered if anyone knows if he made one of the SS Tuscania of which my great great uncle was captain.

Muriel Argo

Hi Jethro, I am only familiar with TLM charms, not their other jewellery. So far, all charms I’ve seen by TLM are all signed. They had a couple of different stamps – you might be interested in our blog post about TLM. Thanks for your message.

Amanda

Did Thomas l Mott sign all his jewellery
Thanks
Jethro

Jethro

I’m 2 1/2 years late to this blog post, but it’s a good one. Mott is a favorite of mine and now I know more about him and the company. Thumbs Up!

Laurie

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