The German Association for Goldsmiths’ Art was founded in Berlin on August 3, 1932. At the initiative of Berlin jeweler Ferdinand Richard Wilm (1880-1971), fourteen representatives from the worlds of business, art, and culture – including architect and artist Prof. Dr. h.c. Peter Behrens, art historian Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Waetzold, along with the goldsmiths Hugo Schaper and Emil Lettré – convened to form a constitutive assembly in Berlin.
F.R. Wilm sought closeness to the top leadership of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and high-ranking personalities almost immediately after Hitler’s takeover. The association was repeatedly a recipient of funding, members of the leading ranks took part in important events, and chairmen Ludwig Roselius and Hermann Esser utilized their political influence on the association’s behalf. Gratitude was shown to the association’s supporters with distinctions such as the “Golden Medal” and the “Golden Ring of Honor for Promoters”.
After the war, the association began efforts to distance itself from its past. The name change to “Association for Goldsmiths’ Art” was resolved at a members’ meeting on May 16, 1950. The association has been acting as a non-profit, internationally oriented society for the promotion of jewelry and hollowware design ever since.
One of its most important task areas lies in promoting artists and upcoming generations. The association began fulfilling this duty right after the war’s end, through the organization of numerous competitions – for example, “A Silver Civic Platter” (1951), “Color in Jewelry” (1972), or “Adornment for Hand and Ear” (1993). The gold and silver smithery scene finds broad-based recognition to this day, through international competitions such as the “Silvertriennial International” and the “Friedrich Becker Prize”. The association distinguishes outstanding personalities on the gold and silver smithery scene with the the awarding of the “Golden Ring of Honor for Artists”. Promoters are still honored with the “Golden Medal” today. Every other year since 2004, the association has played host to the city’s goldsmith, who receives funding from the City of Hanau. The “Celia Holtzer Fellowship” has been awarded to gifted students of the Staatliche Zeichenakademie since 2019.
The association, which has had its headquarters at the German Goldsmiths’ House in Hanau since 1985, has been responsible for the operational management of the Goldsmiths’ House since 2006. It takes care of organizing varied exhibitions and the museum’s educational program.
In 2017, the Association for Goldsmiths’ Art (Gesellschaft für Goldschmiedekunst e.V.) commissioned the independent corporate history association, Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte (GUG), with the appraisal and processing of its history during the National Socialist period. The outcomes of the scientific research by historians Michael Bermejo M.A. and Dr. Andrea H. Schneider-Braunberger were summarized in a publication bearing the title, “The Golden Network – The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Goldschmiedekunst During the National Socialist Period”.