Treskow, Elisabeth

1898 - 1992

The jeweller and silversmith Elisabeth Treskow was born in Bochum, Germany in 1898.  

She studied at the Hagener silversmiths institute and attended metalworking classes at the Folkwangschule in Essen (now the Department of Art and Design of the Folkwang University of the Arts) where she also learnt painting and drawing.  From here she went on to study at the country’s premier school for precious metal work in Schwäbisch-Gmünd under the instruction of Professor Walter Klein after which she was apprenticed to the renowned goldsmith Karl Rothmüller in Munich.

After graduating she returned to Bochum in 1919, where she set up her own workshop at her parents’ house. This served her well to begin with but in 1923 she moved to Margarethenhöhe in Essen and set up a larger studio there. The following year she passed her master’s exam and began to devote more time to the study of ancient jewellery which was of particular interest to her.  One of the greatest inspirations for Treskow was Greco-Roman mythology and from about 1927 she dedicated herself to rediscovering the ancient technique of granulation which was favoured by the Etruscan goldsmiths.  Other influences included the Bauhaus artists and their style, geometry and abstract shapes, as well as Nordic styles. 

 As well as jewellery, Treskow also produced Liturgical silver, most notably for Cologne Cathedral. In 1937 she was awarded a gold medal at the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques in Paris and from 1948 – 1964 she taught at the Technical College in Cologne during which time she inspired many young goldsmiths.  In 1990 a retrospective of her work was held at the Goldsmith’s Hall in Hanau and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Cologne. Her passion for ancient jewellery didn’t just influence her style and techniques, she also accumulated a large collection of ancient pieces which she bequeathed to the Museum für Angewandte Kunst, in Cologne.  She passed away in 1992 and today her work remains in important private and public jewellery collections such as The Museum of Decorative Arts in Cologne, The National Museum of Nuremburg and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London where her brooch in the form of a stylised fish is on permanent view in the jewellery gallery.