It’s a cliché of invention to want to “build a better mousetrap” and attract a world of customers. For American jeweler Seaman Schepps, the mousetrap became the secret to a better bracelet. It is a design so simple as to be almost obvious, but also instantly recognizable and timelessly chic.
Introduced in the 1930s, the bracelet is comprised of a series of links, each with a tight coil at one end modeled after the spring in a traditional mousetrap. In the original version of this design, the precious metal links are very wide and the piece is a big presence on the wrist of the wearer. The simplicity and openness of the design keeps the bracelet from being ungainly, even though the scale is large.
Over the decades, the bracelet has been produced in a number of variations, 18kt yellow or white gold, 22kt yellow gold, embellished with gems, or simply polished to a high shine. Blanche Knopf, wife of Alfred Knopf, and co-founder of the eponymous publishing firm, famously wore up to three mousetraps at a time on her wrist, favoring the yellow gold version with diamonds and rubies.
Since its introduction during the Great Depression, Seaman Schepps’ mousetrap bracelet has remained a favorite of the fashionable, even though the iconic offerings of larger design houses like Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels sometimes overshadow the work of their American cousin. Of course, good design, like the proverbial better mousetrap, does not have to be complicated to do the trick!
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