- Probably Theodore B. Starr (American, New Rochelle, New York 1837–1907 Ridgefield, Connecticut)
- Made in New York, New York, United States
- 5/16 x 1 1/4 x 1 1/8 in. (0.8 x 3.2 x 2.9 cm); 13 dwt. (20.8 g)
- Credit Line:
- Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Schwartz, 1975
- Accession Number:
This gold buckle is one half of a pair made by New York City jewelry firm T.B. Starr & Co. These buckles depict stylized dolphins and acanthus leaves, and they are delicately chased to create a textured finish.
Theodore B. Starr was among the most prominent and influential jewelry and silversmithing firms in New York City during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Originally in partnership with jeweler and silversmith Herman Marcus under the name of Starr & Marcus, Theodore B. Starr established his own eponymous firm in 1877. Starr’s work was regularly and enthusiastically heralded in the press.
On March 18th, 1880 "The Independent" published an article in which “The House of Theodore B. Starr” is described as an establishment that develops “an educated demand for ‘beauty in use;’” and where one will find “his taste and his intelligence stimulated.” The article goes on to state,
“No more striking proof exists of the progress which, as people, we have made and are daily making, in the arts which, as the classic poet puts it, ‘soften our moral natures and forbid us to be brutal.’ The Metropolitan Museum of Art is worthy of study because it shows us what has been done in this direction in other lands and other ages. Warerooms such as those of Theodore B. Starr are not less worthy of a visit because they show us what is doing now in our own country.”
Such hyperbolic praise was not unusual for T.B. Starr, and the contention that the firm was producing important and artistic jewelry is supported by surviving examples of the firm’s work.