Henkel and Grosse

Makers for Dior and Schiparelli

In 1907 Florentin Grosse and his brother in law Heinrich Henkel founded a jewellery firm in Pforzheim, Germany. They initially made fashionable Modernist designs for the European market, using Bakelite, copper, brass, aluminium, wood and tinted Galalith (a plastic made from milk). Many of the pieces appear to have been made by machine and then hand-finished.

By the mid-1920s Henkel & Grosse jewellery was being exported to the US and in the 1930s the company made jewellery for Elsa Schiaparelli. In 1937, one of its brooches won a medal and the Diplome d’Honneur at the Paris Exposition.

From the onset of World War II, the company became known as Grosse. In 1955 it became the principal costume jewellery manufacturer for Dior, creating four collections a year alongside its own designs.

Grosse jewellery is usually gold – or rhodium-plated base metal and set with high-quality rhinestones. After 1958, all Grosse and Dior pieces were signed with the company name and dated.

The company is still in operation today, with stores in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan.