Gustav Manz (1865-1946) was a German-born designer-goldsmith who manufactured fine handmade jewelry for Tiffany & Co, Cartier, Black, Starr & Frost, Gorham, Marcus & Co, T. Kirkpatrick & Co., Udall & Ballou, J.E. Caldwell, Bailey, Banks & Biddle, Galt & Bro, Greenleaf & Crosby, Shreve, Crump & Low, and other prominent retailers.
Regarded as one of the finest carvers of animal jewelry of the early 20th century, he apprenticed under master goldsmiths in Baden and went on to travel, sketch, and freelance as a journeyman jeweler in Paris, Rome, Cairo and the Nile Valley, South Africa, and London, before establishing his first New York workshop in 1892. During his early years he partnered with Chas. Bachem & Co. and with Walter P. McTeigue and was also closely associated with F. Walter Lawrence Inc. and several prominent women artists and designers including Sally James Farnham, Izabel M. Coles, Neysa McMein, Elinor Evans Klapp, and Edith Douglas Deane.
Though Manz rarely marked his jewelry, some of his work has been identified through drawings, business records, and other archival sources.
Manz executed 25 of the 27 pieces displayed by F. Walter Lawrence at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, including an ornamental dragonfly comb now in the permanent galleries at Cleveland Museum of Art.
A necklace of 30 gemstones in a hop-vine setting made for F. Walter Lawrence Inc. is in the collection of Newark Museum.
A circa 1905 gold, citrine, and pearl brooch for George Bell Jewelry Company is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Notable ecclesiastical work includes altar pieces commissioned for the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Manhattan and the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France. Manz's circa 1912 bronze sculpture "Fighting Panthers" resides at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
During his life, Manz's animal, floral, and archaeological designs were exhibited at the Providence Art Club (1901), the National Arts Club (1903; 1912), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the House of Jewels at the 1939 New York World's Fair, and other venues. In recent years his work has been exhibited at The Forbes Galleries (2011), Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (2012), and The Museum of the City of New York (2014).
Some of Manz's original designs are being brought back by his family under the Gustav Manz trademark, including a charity bracelet for Tusk Trust. A gold version of the bracelet is worn by actress Catherine Keener in director John Carney's romantic comedy "Begin Again" (2014—originally titled "Can a Song Save Your Life").
"Determined to Give a Craftsman His Due" by Eve M. Kahn, The New York Times (September 28, 2012)
"Where Credit Is Due: The Life And Jewelry of Gustav Manz" by Courtney Bowers-Marhev, Magazine Antiques (September/October 2010)
"A Jewelry History" by Phyllis Schiller, Rapaport Magazine (May 2012)
"Jewelry of the Gilded Age on Display in Ohio" in Jewelry Fashion Report, National Jeweler (March 21, 2012)
"Stan Hywet Showcases Antique Jewelry" by Mary Beth Breckenridge, Beacon Journal (June 20, 2012)
"The Year's Progress in Native Crafts" by the editors of The Craftsman (February 1913, pg. 585), reviews Manz's work in Sixth Annual Exhibition of the National Society of Craftsmen in New York, in the galleries of the National Arts Club