Newark Museum Enhances Renowned Jewelry Holdings with Krementz and Co. Manuscripts

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Newark Museum acquires archival manuscripts from the famous Newark-based jewelry company Krementz & Co.

Archival manuscripts from Krementz & Co.

Celebrated in the jewelry industry for its one-piece collar buttons, Krementz produced a vast range of stylish jewelry in 14-karat gold for the burgeoning middle-class market.

The Newark Museum’s extensive jewelry holdings were enriched with the acquisition of manuscripts from the famous Newark-based jewelry company Krementz & Co. The acquisition provides the museum with the nation’s most comprehensive jewelry design archive that is accessible to the public.

Founded by George Krementz, a German immigrant raised in Indiana with relatives in Newark, the company was the largest and longest-lived of all of Newark’s jewelry manufacturers, operating in the city from 1866 to 2009.

“Celebrated in the jewelry industry for its one-piece collar buttons, Krementz produced a vast range of stylish jewelry in 14-karat gold for the burgeoning middle-class market. Brooches, bracelets, necklaces, gold-mesh purses, cufflinks and all kinds of accessories were part of the company’s output,” said Ulysses Grant Dietz, the Museum’s Chief Curator and Curator of Decorative Arts Collection. “Like all Newark jewelry makers, Krementz sold its finest products anonymously to upscale jewelry stores all over the United States, including Tiffany & Co. The Krementz brand was known in the retail world because of the company’s ‘gold overlay’ jewelry, produced from the early 20th century until the family sold the business in 1997.”

In 2013 Richard (“Rick”) Krementz, the former chairman of the Board and the great-grandson of the founder, made a gift to the Museum’s Library and Archives of approximately 150 objects, comprising the complete design archives from 1864 to 1969. The majority of them are cost books or a variation on cost books, many including designs and photographs. A second donation of archival materials came to the Museum’s Library and Archives in 2015 thanks to Emily Rebmann, a graduate student in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture at the University of Delaware, now the Engagement Officer at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Rebmann was the first graduate student to write her master’s thesis using the Krementz archive and her topic was men’s jewelry. This second group of records consists of 40 scrapbooks of advertisements dating from the 1890s to the 1970s. It also includes patents, trade catalogues, brochures and pamphlets, photographs, and other financial and legal information. In addition, a number of rare books on jewelry, which served as design sources for Krementz & Co., were transferred to the Library’s Rare Book Collection.

This important manuscript collection is now housed in the Newark Museum’s Library and Archives, where it is available to researchers, whether curators, educators, registrars, exhibition designers, or administrators; whether academic or independent scholars, museum professionals, professors and teachers, undergraduate and graduate students as well as high school students, members and volunteers; and other life-long learners.

“Like the Museum itself, the Library and Archives actively encourages the study, appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of the fine arts, decorative arts, and natural sciences, striving to connect objects and ideas to the needs and wishes of its researchers,” said William A. Peniston, Ph.D., the Museum’s Librarian and Archivist.

The Library and Archives is open by appointment only Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.

For additional information, follow the Museum on Facebook at facebook.com/newark.museum or Twitter at twitter.com/newarkmuseum; or by visiting http://www.newarkmuseum.org.

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Lisa Batitto
Newark Museum
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