We begin our journey through history in 1914, the year in which Anton Graswald, the later founder of the family business, began his apprenticeship as a goldsmith. His talent for drawing and music helped Anton to get an apprenticeship with none other than Karl Rothmüller, royal Bavarian court goldsmith. He had his workshop in the Müllerstr. 44, so today's goldsmith is only a few hundred meters away.
Unlike today, the apprenticeship then lasted a full four years. His weekly salary in the first year of apprenticeship was 1.50 marks. This is the paper mark from 1914, one third of which was covered by gold. Today's value corresponds to about 8,20€ weekly wage. However, if one considers the coming years of inflation with the abolition of the gold standard, this apprenticeship money must also have had only symbolic value. Any earnings had to be reinvested in tools, as agreed in his contract. Work was done on 6 days 50h/week. Afterwards apprentices had to clean the workshop and tools. In addition to working at the workbench, his duties also included the provision of food and drink. Apprenticeship years are not, as the saying goes, men's years. By the way, in those days beer still had to be transported to the snack table in an open jug.
We are in the epoch of Art Nouveau. At that time there was no white gold. Instead, silver or platinum was used. Even diamonds with today's brilliant cut were not yet available. The then "brilliants" with a flattened point (calotte) and higher top proportions are today called old-cut diamonds. The higher dispersion caused by the cut is again highly appreciated today, despite lower reflection.
Also the tools were still different. Drilling was done with the "Dreul". For this, unlike the twist drill, the drill is ground with two opposing cutting edges. In a video with the original Derul drill from 1914, you can convince yourself of its use and function. Even if historical tools like this one are still partly used in our workshop, we are nowadays equipped with the most modern drilling and laser technology.
Especially popular pieces of jewellery at that time were brooches and rings. The Rothmüller company attached particular importance to the design and the craftsmanship. Our great-grandfather, Mr. Graswald, liked to tell us how Mr. Rothmüller stormed into the workshop in a rage, put a finished ring on the anvil and hammered it flat with the exclamation "and my marks are round too".
In 1917/18 Anton Graswald interrupted his apprenticeship for the military hospital train in World War I. He then completed his training with excellence.