Jakob Bengel (Germany, 1924? – 1940s)
Jakob Bengel founded a watch chain and metal wares factory in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, in 1873. His was one of several such factories in the area. In the 1920s, the company abandoned the production of mass-produced wares of little or no aesthetic value in favor of creating costume jewelry. Bengel’s work was greatly influenced by the Bauhaus, which promoted and taught the skills for the making of jewelry from stainless steel, chrome, nickel and glass, and the use of geometric shapes in design. Bengel’s designers included well-known artists such as Wilhelm Wagenfeld, a Bauhaus graduate, who worked free-lance for the company. Bengel’s distinctive Art Deco pieces were so popular in the 1930s that they were exported all over the world. However, the jewelry made for export did not bear the Bengel factory mark or even the country of origin.
At the start of World War II, the Galalith Bengel used was no longer available for non-war use, and, consequently, production ceased. The Bengel name and its connection to the distinctive Art Deco pieces made of metal and colored Galalith remained unknown until the late 1990s. Because of renewed interest, the factory has re-opened as a museum and has produced limited-edition Art Deco jewelry, using the old pattern books, original tools and same production methods.Shop Jakob Bengel jewelry
Bogoff (United States, 1946 – 1970)
Henry Bogoff, a Polish immigrant, and his wife, Yvette, founded the Spear Novelty Company in Chicago. The company produced accessories, including rhinestone buttons. Henry began to design and manufacture rhinestone jewelry in 1946. Yvette handled the sales and marketing. The company supplied Sears & Roebuck, J.C. Penny, Zales, Marshall Fields, and Saks 5th Avenue, reaching sales just below those of Coro and Trifari. After Henry’s death in 1958, Yvette moved the business to New York. Production ceased in 1970.
Bogoff’s designs were delicate and feminine imitations of fine jewelry and were made of good-quality materials. He typically used small to medium-sized rhinestones, molded art glass, faux pearls and silver-tone metal, often rhodium plated. Small pavé leaf designs were a common motif. Pieces were marked “BOGOFF” (in block letters) or “Jewels by BOGOFF”.Shop Bogoff jewelry
Hattie Carnegie (United States, 1939 – 1976)
Hattie Carnegie (1886-1956) was born Henrietta Kanengeiser in Vienna, Austria, the second of seven children. She immigrated to the U.S. around 1900, to join her father on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. After he died, she had to leave school to work, first as a messenger girl at Macy’s, and later in their millinery workroom and dress house. In 1909, after changing her name to Hattie Carnegie, she opened her first shop on East Tenth Street with Rose Roth, a seamstress who made the garments while Carnegie designed the hats. The shop was a success, and the women incorporated in 1913 and moved to West Eighty-sixth Street. By the end of World War I, Carnegie bought out her partner, established Hattie Carnegie, Inc., and shifted the business from original creations to the sale and restyling of French couture.
In 1939, the company started marketing high-quality costume jewelry to accessorize their clothing. By the time of Carnegie’s death in 1956, she had brought a unique American interpretation of French couture to the fashion scene. The production of clothing and jewelry under her name continued until 1976.
Instead of copying fine jewelry, a common practice at the time, Carnegie’s designs were innovative and distinctive. Under her direction, some pieces were designed in-house, while others were designed, produced and stamped with the Carnegie logo by various manufacturers whose work was commissioned. Designers included Kenneth Jay Lane, Norman Norell, Peggy Moonan, Pauline Trigèreand Claire McCardell, some of whom also designed for other companies. Themes included flowers, leaves and fruits; Oriental figures; and stylized animals. Materials included poured glass, faux pearls, glass beads, rhinestones used as accents, and enameled and gold-plated finishes.
Carnegie’s bold and distinctive jewelry was often in sharp contrast to her chic but conventional clothing and her favorite: “the little black dress”. Her jewelry was worn by Hollywood elite such as Joan Fontaine, Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford. Carnegie may be best known for her tremblers – flowers or butterflies on springs that trembled or vibrated as the wearer moved. Other popular work includes Egyptian Revival and stylized animal pieces.Shop Hattie Carnegie jewelry
Catamore (United States, 1942? – 1981)
Founded circa 1942 by Christopher and Phyllis Catanzaro in East Providence, Rhode Island,Catamore Jewelry Company, Inc., produced gold and costume jewelry until 1981. Their trademark was “CATAMORE”.Shop Catamore jewelry
Alice Caviness (United States & Germany, 1945 – 1997)
A former fashion model, Alice Caviness was a fashion designer who began designing costume jewelry in Long Island, New York, to compliment her clothing line. In the mid-1950s, designer MilliePetronzio joined her firm and continued there until 1982, when she left to become head designer at Miriam Haskell. Caviness died in 1983, but Lois Steever, another designer and her business partner, continued production until 1997.
Caviness and her designers created bold and imaginative parures, demi-parures, earrings and single brooches, always using high-quality materials and techniques such as sterling and vermeil sterling filigrees and cloisonné enamels, expensive art glass, hand-set stones and hand-strung beads. Many of the sterling filigree pieces were produced in Germany. Alice Caviness jewelry was sold only in exclusive boutiques.Shop Alice Caviness jewelry
Coro (United States, 1901 – 1979)
Emanuel Cohn (1859-1911) and Carl Rosenberger (1872-1957) founded the firm of Cohn andRosenberger in 1903 as an accessories boutique in New York City. The company outsourced most of its jewelry design and manufacture until it opened a factory in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1929. They soon became the largest costume jewelry manufacturer in the United States. By the mid-1930s, Coro jewelry was sold in retail stores in most U.S. cities, and the company had manufacturing plants in Great Britain and Canada. In 1943, the partnership incorporated as Coro, Inc. Richtonpurchased Coro in 1957. In 1979, production ceased except for the Canadian operations, which continued until the mid-1990s.
Coro’s success was based on a number of factors, including the quality of the company’s designs and their appeal to a wide range of consumers. Design director Adolph Katz and talented designers, such as Gene Verecchio, François, Oscar Placco and Albert Weiss, produced several product lines that differed in quality, price and target market. The “Coro” line, aimed at the middle- and lower-income consumer, produced good quality pieces in a broad range of motifs, including floral, figural and patriotic. “Coro Craft”, the best-known higher-end brand, also employed a range of subjects, but these pieces were made of more expensive materials such as sterling silver, vermeil and European crystals. The most expensive brand, Vendôme, was introduced in 1944, but most of the line was produced after 1953. Although the Vendôme mark was used on Coro’s charm bracelets, faux pearl necklaces and other well-crafted pieces made from the finest quality materials, sales were low until Helen Marion became chief designer and revitalized the line in the 1960s.
One of Coro’s successful innovations was the Coro Duette, which uses a Coro-patented mechanism to lock two dress clips together so they could be worn as one brooch or separately, without the mechanism. This mechanism was granted patent number 1,798,867 on March 31, 1931. TheseDuettes were popular in the 1930s, when women wore dress clips on either side of a square neckline, and remain popular today. Another Coro success was their “Jelly Belly” pins, which were originally created by Trifari in the 1940s, then copied by Coro and others. Coro Craft’s extra-large sterling silver pins are good examples of jewelry from the 1940s. In the 1950s and 1960s, Coroproduced jewelry with carved, molded and ribbed stones.Shop Coro jewelry
Ralph DeRosa (United States, 1934 – 1970)
Ralph DeRosa Co. was founded in New York City in 1934 by Ralph DeRosa (1884-1942), an Italian immigrant from a renowned family of jewelers. He had studied design in Naples. After Ralph’s death, the company was run by his wife Elvira, who was also a designer, and daughters Virginia and Theresa. Production ceased by 1970.
DeRosa’s signature style was large-sized costume jewelry produced with techniques typically used in the manufacture of precious jewelry. Floral motifs, the lace theme and retro designs such as exaggerated bows were common; figurals were seldom produced. Pieces typically featured gold-plated metal set with richly colored rhinestones and translucent enameling. Sterling silver was used from 1942 until the end of 1949. DeRosa jewelry was expensive. Until at least 1955, the trademark “R. DE ROSA” in block letters was used.Shop Ralph DeRosa jewelry
Christian Dior (France, United States, England & Germany, 1946 to the present)
Born in Normandy, France, Christian Dior (1905-1957) began his fashion career in the mid-1930s, selling sketches of his designs to Parisian couturiers before working for designer Lucien Lelong. In 1946 he opened his own fashion house and turned the fashion world upside down the following year with his first haute couture collection – the “New Look”. In juxtaposition to the austerity of the war years, Dior’s fashions were extravagant, feminine and formal. Accessories such as hats, gloves and costume jewelry enhanced the glamorous look. While some did not embrace this change in style, many North American and European elite, including Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Bette Davis, and the Duchess of Windsor, wore Dior clothing and jewelry.
Dior believed his jewelry was an integral part of his collections, and that its quality should mirror the quality of his clothing designs. Consequently, only individual designers and companies with the highest reputations were commissioned to produce Dior pieces. Designers include Henry Schreiner(in the late 1940s and early 1950s) and Kramer (in the early 1950s) in the U.S.; Mitchell Maer in England (1952-1956); Henkel & Grosse in Germany (from 1955 to the present); and Josette Gripoix(in the 1940s) and Robert Goossens (who also worked for Chanel) in France. Jewelry produced under license for Dior was (and still is) sold only in exclusive stores.
Dior jewelry is characterized by aurora borealis rhinestones, which he developed with Swarovski in 1955, stones in a variety of cuts and shapes in the same piece, historically-inspired styles and extensive use of floral motifs. Figurals, including circus animals, unicorns and fish, were also made.Shop Christian Dior jewelry
Eisenberg (United States, 1914 to the present)
Eisenberg started in Chicago as a designer and manufacturer of women’s fashions, which were labeled “Eisenberg Originals”. When they began accessorizing their dresses with brooches, these pieces became very popular, and the company established a jewelry division. By 1958, the jewelry business proved to be more profitable, so the company abandoned its clothing line. Eisenbergcontinues to manufacture high-quality rhinestone jewelry today.
Eisenberg sold mostly brooches, although they also had some necklaces, bracelets and rings. Their jewelry was expensive. It was characterized by the high quality of the materials, particularly the white and colored crystals imported from Austria and Czechoslovakia, which were hand set. Early pieces were large and bold asymmetrical bows and flowing designs with ribbons of pavérhinestones. During World War II, sterling silver was used instead of base metals, which were needed for the war effort. Jewelry was designed and manufactured by suppliers, such as Fallon &Kappel (who also made jewelry for Hattie Carnegie, Chanel and Schiaparelli until 1943, when they became exclusive to Eisenberg). Fallon & Kappel’s designers included Florence Nathan and Ruth M.Kamke. In the 1950s, colored rhinestones in dainty pieces replaced the large pins and clips. In the1970s, the company made enameled pieces designed by artists such as Calder, Picasso, Chagall andMiro. Today Eisenberg continues to manufacture high-quality rhinestone jewelry, but the largest part of the business involves the design and manufacture of Christmas jewelry.
Collectors prize Eisenberg pieces because of their craftsmanship and their bold designs featuring Swarovski’s highly-leaded crystals, which have exceptional sparkle. Figurals from the early 1940s, which are more rare, are particularly admired.Shop Eisenberg jewelry
Engel Brothers (United States, 1931? – 1965?)
Located in New York City, Engel Brothers, Inc. manufactured rhinestone bracelets, brooches, necklaces and other types of costume jewelry. The company was listed in trade directories from 1931 through 1965. Their trademark was “EB” within a diamond shape.Shop Engel Brothers jewelry
Fahrner (Germany, 1855 – 1979)
Founded in Pforzheim, Germany, in 1855 by Georg Seeger and Theodor Fahrner, Sr., the Fahrnercompany became one of the most successful European jewelry manufacturers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Theodor Fahrner, Jr., ran the company from 1883 until his death in 1919. The company was then sold to Gustav Braendle and renamed Gustave Braendle-Theodor FahrnerNachfolger (German for “successors”). When Gustav Braendle died in 1952, his son Herbert took over. Production ceased in 1979, when Herbert Braendle died.
Theodor Fahrner, Jr., was a creative and innovative designer and member of the aesthetic reform movement known as Jugendstil, the German name for Art Nouveau. He pioneered the use of eminent artists to design jewelry made partly or entirely by machine. Designers included Joseph Maria Olbrich, Max Gradl and Patriz Huber, who were architects and interior designers; Julius Müller-Salem, Bert Joho and Ferdinand Morawe, painters; and Ludwig Habich and Franz Boeres, sculptors. Each designer had a distinctive style. They helped the company gain eminence for its Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts and Celtic Revival jewelry. After winning a silver medal at the Paris World’s Fair in 1900, the company established the “TF” trademark and began to export its jewelry to England.
Under Gustav Braendle’s leadership, the company received acclaim for its striking Art Deco designs in silver or vermeil silver with matte enamel and marcasites, combined with semi-precious stones such as coral, onyx and green agate. In 1932, filigree was added to the inventory. German politics in the 1930s and World War II restricted the company’s design freedom and production output. After the war, the company never regained its earlier success. In the 1950s, a large variety of designs was produced. Modern silver pieces with semi-precious stones as well as Egyptian- and Roman-inspired designs were produced in the 1960s.Shop Fahrner jewelry
iriam Haskell (United States, 1926 to the present)
Born in Tell City, Indiana, Miriam Haskell (1899-1981) moved to New York in 1924 to start her career. She opened a gift shop in The McAlpin Hotel on July 30, 1926, and then hired Frank Hess, a young window dresser from Macy’s, as her chief designer. This partnership of a savvy businesswoman with an eye for design and a talented designer with vision launched a company that has been responsible for the finest handmade costume jewelry ever created. Additional boutiques opened shortly after the first — in the Hotel Roney in Miami, Florida, and on West 57th Street in New York. In 1933, the company moved to Fifth Avenue in New York. By then Miriam Haskell jewelry was being sold by up-scale department stores and shops in many locations around the U.S. For nearly 35 years, Hess remained head designer and was succeeded by Robert Clark (1960-1968), Peter Raines (1968-1970), Larry Vrba (1970-1978) and Camille (Millie) Petronzio (1980 to the present). Ownership of the company changed in 1950, when Miriam Haskell sold the company to her brother, and again in 1955, 1983 and 1990.
From the beginning, the distinctive style and quality of Haskell’s pieces appealed to well-dressed women and Hollywood stars. Worn by Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball, the Duchess of Windsor and other luminaries, Haskell’s jewelry has also appeared in films, in television shows and on stage. Among her contemporaries as well as today’s collectors, Haskell’s jewelry is prized for its innovative and complex designs and skillful execution to the highest standards. For example, beads were woven onto antiqued filigree backs, and pieces were assembled by hand. Also notable are the types and high-quality of the materials used, such as handmade Murano beads; pressed and poured French glass; faceted crystals from Austria and Bohemia; faux seed and baroque pearls first from Bohemia, then from Japan; and metal findings and stampings from Providence, Rhode Island. During World War II, when these components were not available, natural materials (such as wood, seashells and feathers) and plastics that could be acquired from domestic sources were used. Early themes from nature, such as leaves, flowers, butterflies and birds, have continued to the present. Pearl necklaces have also been a staple of the company.
According to Judith Miller (in Collector’s Guides: Costume Jewelry, DK Publishing, 2003, p.98), “Miriam Haskell did for the women of the United States what her contemporary Coco Chanel had done for the well-dressed ladies of Paris: namely, established costume jewelry as a fashionable and valued art form in its own right. For that alone, costume jewelry collectors of today have much to thank her for”.
For more information, see Cathy Gordon and Sheila Pamfiloff’s excellent book: Miriam Haskell Jewelry.Shop Miriam Haskell jewelry
Hess-Appel (United States, 1943 – 1954)
Lester L. Hess and Jack H. Appel established Hess-Appel in New York City in 1942. Hess and George E. Fearn, a freelancer, were the company’s designers. Hess continued to provide designs while he worked as production officer at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, during the war. The company’s trademark, Jollé, appeared in advertisements with the accent mark but without the accent on jewelry. Production ceased in 1954.
According to Brunialti, Hess-Appel’s best work featured pieces in sterling silver and sometimes enamel. Some of their well-known designs were pairs of brooches called “Russian Dancers” (1943) and “Card Dancers” (1947).Shop Hess-Appel jewelry
Hobé (United States, 1927 – 1995)
The son of Jacques Hobé, a French master goldsmith who founded Hobé Cie in 1887, William W.Hobé sold theatrical costumes in New York in the early 1920s. He then received a commission to produce both costumes and real-looking jewelry for the Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway, and similar orders from other theatre companies and Hollywood film studios soon followed. In 1927, William founded Hobé Cie Limited in New York to produce costume jewelry and accessories (including buttons). The company began selling their pieces in up-scale department stores and boutiques in the1930s. By the 1940s, stage and film actresses such as Carole Lombard, Bette Davis and Ava Gardner were wearing Hobé jewelry both on and off stage. In the 1960s, William’s sons Robert and Donald took over the company. William’s grandson James ran the company from the 1980s to 1995. Though still in operation, the company was sold by the Hobé family in 1995.
Except for Lou Vici, who worked for the company from the 1930s to the 1970s, until 1995 all Hobépieces were designed by members of the Hobé family. From the beginning, Hobé’s designs were often inspired by historical European jewelry, and their production was always top quality. The company used many of the same techniques and craftsmanship standards as those employed in the making of fine jewelry. Sterling silver, 14K gold plating, semi-precious stones and high-quality pastes were typically used by artisans who crafted each piece by hand. In the 1940s, designs mainly featured leaves and flowers, bows, baskets and hearts. Late in the decade, William’s wife, Sylvia, designed a series of Oriental figures known as bandores. By the 1950s, the company’s designs incorporated more “bling”, in response to contemporary tastes for more glamour. However, the designs were still original and the pieces well made. Hobé jewelry was marketed under the slogan “Jewels of Legendary Splendor”, with Hollywood actresses and top models used in advertising campaigns.
Among the most well-known of Hobé’s designs today are the reproductions of 16th– and 17th– century European fine jewels and the floral pins produced in the 1930s and 1940s.Shop Hobé jewelry
Kreisler (United States, 1913 – 1977)
Founded in 1913 by Jacques Kreisler (an immigrant from Hungary) and T. Stern in North Bergen, New Jersey, Jacques Kreisler Mfg. Co. initially produced only precious jewelry. In a 1927 trade directory, the company’s entry states its location as New York City, with a branch office in Chicago, and describes its line of business as “manufacturers of jewelry”. In the 1931 edition of the directory, the company describes itself as “manufacturers of diamond-platinum and sport watches; 14 and 18Kgold, platinum and diamond-platinum watch bands; gold, platinum, and diamond jewelry”. In the1940s, the company also produced costume jewelry, much of it in sterling silver. The jewelry division of the company moved to Florida in 1975 and closed in 1979.
Design patents for a finger ring, bracelets and watch bracelets were issued to Jacques Kreisler in the1920s and 1930s. In 1931, he applied for a utility patent for a vanity case (a combination of compartments for cosmetics); patent number 2,010,521 was issued in 1935. Helen D. Cole, WilliamDiehl, Kurt Speck and Germanil Anthony Santullo designed for Kreisler in the 1940s. Diehl’s first design patent (for a watch band) was issued in 1944. Several design patents for pins were granted to the designers, working individually or in partnership, in 1945 and 1946. Figurals and military motifs were prominent. Speck designed watchbands until at least 1952.
Kreisler trademarks include “Kreisler” and “Kreisler Quality”.Shop Kreisler jewelry
Walter Lampl (United States, 1921 – 1959)
Walter Lampl (1895-1945) established his firm in New York in 1921. The company produced fine jewelry, costume jewelry and personal accessories such as compacts and perfume bottles. In-house designers included Maybelle Manning, Nat Block and June Redding. All designs had to be approved by Lampl, who held all design patents. After he died, the company continued to operate under the leadership of Walter’s wife Sylvia and son Walter, Jr. Walter Lampl, Inc. ceased production in 1959.
The company’s motto, “Creators of the Unusual as Usual”, appeared in its ads, two of which are shown below. This motto was also reflected in the jewelry the company produced, such as whimsical pins in the forms of jeweled fish and enameled circus tents. Lampl applied the same care and high-quality of craftsmanship to the pieces made of gold fill or sterling silver and rhinestones as those with diamonds set in gold and platinum. Jade, garnet, moonstone, coral, turquoise, pearl, ivory, amethyst, chrysoprase, aquamarine and citrine were among the materials frequently used. The company found particular success in the design and manufacture of charms and charm bracelets. In 1956, more than 750 different charms appeared in the Walter Lampl catalog.
Leach & Miller (United States, 1904? – 1934?)
Not much is known about this company beyond its listings in trade directories. They indicate that Leach & Miller was located in Attleboro, Massachusetts, and had branch offices in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco. The company manufactured gold-filled and sterling lockets, bracelets, belt buckles, scarf pins and brooches. The “L&M” trademark (superimposed on two conjoined leaves) was still active in 1934.Shop Leach & Miller jewelry
Mazer & Jomaz (United States, 1927 – 1981)
Founded by Joseph and Louis Mazer in New York City in 1923, Mazer Brothers started producing costume jewelry in 1927. Early in 1930, Marcel Boucher joined the firm as a designer and remained there until 1937, when he left to open his own company. In 1946, the brothers separated: Louis and his son Nat continued the Mazer Brothers business, and Joseph and his son Lincoln, in partnership with Paul A. Green, formed Joseph J. Mazer & Co., Inc. and became known as Jomaz. Mazer Brothers continued producing jewelry until 1951. Andre Fleuridas (in the early 1950s) and Adolfo (in the 1970s) designed for Joseph Mazer. Jomaz ceased production in 1981.
With ties to traditional fine jewelry design, the brothers’ focus was always high-quality materials and techniques to produce simulations of fine jewelry at an affordable price. Materials included gold- or rhodium-plated metal before and after World War II, sterling silver and vermeil sterling during the war, imported Austrian crystals and enamel. Classic motifs, including floral, foliate or ribbon-and-bow designs, characterized the early pieces. In the late 1930s and 1940s, rhinestone-laden necklaces, bracelets and earrings, as well as a line of Duette pins and crown jewel pins (similar to those produced by Trifari and Coro) were the focus. Louis Mazer patented his company’s answer toCoro’s Duette and Trifari’s Clipmates in November 1934 (Patent No. 1,981,521) and April 1939 (Patent No. 2,153,022). The 1950s produced bib necklaces and pendant earrings set with lavish pastes.Shop Mazer Brothers & Jomaz jewelry
Ornella (Italy, 1946 – ?)
This Milan-based firm was among the costume jewelry makers that rose from the wreckage of World War II and Fascist rule. The company, which was opened by Piera Barni Albani in 1946 with three workers, was the successor to the Visconti di Modrone company, a perfume and costume jewelry maker. The daughter of Ornella’s owner, Maria Vittoria Albani, joined the company in the mid-1950sas their designer. From 1962-1968, the company operated a shop under the name Creazione MariaVittoria.
Ornella pieces were sold to the American market in high-end department stores such as I. Magnin, Lord & Taylor, Bonwit Teller and Marshall Field. Their work featured typically-Italian materials such as hand-painted wooden beads, Venetian glass beads, sea shells and gilded, hand-molded ceramics. Designs did not follow particular fashion trends, so pieces cannot be dated easily. From the late1950s to the early 1970s, pieces were marked with a sticker with the trademark (“Bijoux OrnellaMade in Italy”) printed in gold on a red or blue background. Other pieces are marked with the“ORNELLA” trademark (in use since 1945) stamped into the metal.Shop Ornella jewelry
D. Ornstein & Sons (United States, 1922? – 1950?)
Little is known about D. Ornstein & Sons Corp., other than its New York location and its trademarks: Dorsons and Jubilee.Shop D. Ornstein & Sons jewelry
J. H. Peckham (United States, dates unknown)
J. H. Peckham & Sons of Attleboro, Massachusetts, was a manufacturer of “pierced costume jewelry”. The company and its trademark (“J.H.P.”) were listed in 1927, 1931 and 1934 trade directories.Shop J. H. Peckham jewelry
Pennino (United States, 1927 – 1961?)
Oreste Pennino, an Italian-born goldsmith, founded the Oreste Pennino company in New York City in 1927. The company name was changed to Pennino Brothers when Anselmo and Gennaro joined around 1930. Oreste is the only known designer for the company.
Pennino pieces are known for the excellent quality of their design and materials, and the intricacy of their workmanship. Typical motifs include flowers, bows, scrolls, drapes and abstract designs.Shop Pennino jewelry
Reinad (United States, 1922 – mid-1950s)
Founded in New York City in 1922 for the wholesale production of jewelry and ornaments for the garment trade, Reinad Novelty Co. started designing and manufacturing costume jewelry for retail under the name of Chanel Novelty Co. (marked “Chanel”) in 1941. After issuing its spring collection, the company was forced to change its name to avoid confusion with Maison Chanel of Paris. Reinadcontinued to produce for the wholesale and retail markets until the mid-1950s, using the trademark “REINAD”, “Reinad”, “REINAD N.Y.C.” and “SCEPTRON” (which was first used in 1944).
William Wienner was a Reinad designer in 1949, when he patented an earring design (number 155,326). In the 1940s and 1950s, Reinad produced for other jewelry makers such as Boucher, Hattie Carnegie and Eisenberg, using the same designs. Reinad jewelry is not plentiful; pieces with the “Chanel” mark are especially scarce.Shop Reinad jewelry
Réja/Déja (United States, 1932 – 1953)
In New York in 1932, Solomon Finkelstein started Sol Finkelstein Co., a company that manufactured rhinestone jewelry for wholesale distribution. In 1939, he changed the name of the company to DéjaCostume Jewelry, Inc., and started to manufacture jewelry for the retail trade. The following year,DuJay, Inc. sued Déja for trademark infringement because its name was too similar to DuJay. Consequently, Déja became Réja in 1941, mainly because the new name could easily be stamped over the Déja mark on items already manufactured with it. Production ceased in 1953.
The company, known for its exceptional designs and craftsmanship, manufactured in limited quantities for the medium-upper market segment. Most designs were created by SolomonFinkelstein. Figurals (such as anthropomorphic animals, masks and characters from fairy tales and folklore) were prominent in their collections, which also featured floral motifs. Sterling silver was used from 1942 to 1947. Other typical materials were enamel, faux pearls, rhinestones and colored glass. While all types of jewelry were produced, brooches are the most available today; necklaces and bracelets are rare.Shop Réja jewelry
Rice-Weiner (United States, 1938 – 1951)
New England Glass Work, founded in 1911, changed its name to Rice-Weiner & Company in 1938 and became an important manufacturer of premium costume jewelry. The company had offices and a showroom in New York City, a plant in Providence, Rhode Island, and showrooms in Chicago and Los Angeles. In 1946, the firm’s partners split: Alvin and Robert Rice created Barclay Jewelry, Inc., and Alexander Weiner continued to operate Rice-Weiner. Rice-Weiner ceased its retailing business in 1951 to concentrate on wholesale trade.
Louis C. Mark was head designer in 1940 and 1941. During that period, 16 of his designs were patented but none of these pieces was produced with the Rice-Weiner name. Mark went to Barclay Jewelry in 1946.
McClelland Barclay, a sculptor, portrait painter, illustrator, and industrial designer, designed jewelry for Rice-Weiner from 1938 until his death in 1943. His work included sterling silver and vermeil pieces depicting animals or flowers, but he is best known for his gold- or silver-plated geometric pieces. In many of these creations, two components made of different metals were assembled and embellished with contrasting stones. What is really unusual about the designer’s collaboration with Rice-Weiner is that they produced his jewelry with his signature rather than their name. Note: Pieces marked “Barclay” on a palette with the words “Art in Jewelry” were made by Barclay Jewelry, Inc. – they were not designed by McClelland Barclay.
In the 1940s, Rice-Weiner also produced jewelry inspired by Alexander Korda’s movies The Thief ofBagdad and The Jungle Book. These pieces were marked “Thief of Bagdad Korda©” and “AlexanderKorda ©”.
Following the firm’s split in 1946, Natasha Brooks, Norman Bel Geddes and Betty Betz designed for Rice-Weiner.Shop Rice-Weiner jewelry
W. E. Richards (United States, 1900 to the present)
Located in Attleboro, Massachusetts, the W. E. Richards Co. has been manufacturing jewelry since around 1900. A 1931 trade directory describes their line of business as “Manufacturers of white and green gold pins, pendants, luck rings and emblems”. Their costume jewelry trademarks are “wRe”and “Symmetalic”.Shop W. E. Richards jewelry
Nettie Rosenstein (United States, 1935 – 1975)
Born Henrietta Rosencrans in Salzburg, Austria, Nettie Rosenstein (1890-1980) and her family immigrated to the United States in 1892. After working as a milliner and dress designer with her sisters, Rosenstein started her own clothing company and employed 50 seamstresses by 1921. Despite her success, she retired in 1927, then returned to work in 1931 for fashion house Corbett &Cie, designing jewelry, handbags, perfume and lingerie. She soon re-opened her own establishment and achieved great success. In 1961, Rosenstein abandoned her fashion line but continued to operate the jewelry and accessories business until 1975.
Rosenstein’s work is known for her attention to detail and use of colorful rhinestones, dramatic combinations of enamels, and gold-plated sterling in collections with animal, floral and heraldic motifs. While most of her contemporaries stopped producing with sterling silver after World War II,Rosenstein continued to use sterling through the first half of the 1950s. Her pieces were signed with her name inscribed in a rectangular cartouche, but no designs were patented.Shop Nettie Rosenstein jewelry
Louis Rousselet (France, 1922 – 1975)
Louis Rousselet (1892-1980) was born in Paris and apprenticed at a young age to learn to manufacture lamp-work beads. In 1922 in Menilmontant, a Paris suburb, he began manufacturing glass and Galalith beads as well as faux pearls. The pearls were created from glass beads coated with essence d’Orient, a fish-scale compound. All of his beads were hand-wound and polished. Workers had to train for six or seven years to learn his techniques. By 1925, Rousselet employed 800 workers and shipped his beads all over the world. Production of pearls ceased in the late1960s. Glass beads were manufactured until 1975, when the last trained worker retired.
Rousselet also designed sautoirs, necklaces, pendants and other jewelry, using glass beads in a wide range of colors and styles. His pieces were worn by Josephine Baker and other stars of the FoliesBergères, Casino de Paris and Moulin Rouge, as well as clients of couturiers such as Chanel, JacquesFath, Pierre Balmain and Robert Piquet. Rousselet’s daughter Denise designed many of the firm’s collections from 1943 until she took over as designer in 1965.
Most of Rousselet’s pieces were signed only on a paper tag. Jewelry with the “L.R.”mark is rare.Shop Louis Rousselet jewelry
Elsa Schiaparelli (France & United States, 1930s – 1960s?)
Born in Rome, Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) moved to Paris in the 1920s and established an haute couture house there in 1927. She soon began producing costume jewelry along with clothing, perfume and other accessories. After the war years in New York, Schiaparelli returned to Paris in 1945 to resume her fashion business. In 1949, she opened retail outlets in New York and returned there in 1954, after selling her business in Paris. During the 1950s, Schiaparelli focused on producing costume jewelry. Some sources state that production ceased in the late 1950s, while others say it continued into the next decade. Schiaparelli died in Paris.
Schiaparelli believed that costume jewelry was an integral part of fashion design as well as an art form in its own right. Her early work, which reflected her interest in nature and Surrealism, is often characterized as whimsical, exotic or highly stylized. Her “Shocking Pink” collection in 1936, at a time when a black cocktail dress was the height of fashion, is a reflection of Surrealist principles (i.e., “the metaphor of splashing the ‘black cocktail dress’ of society with vivid and outrageous color”, according to Judith Miller in Miller’s Costume Jewelry). Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau and ChristianBérard, Surrealist artists and friends of Schiaparelli, designed some pieces for her. Other designers with whom Schiaparelli collaborated include Lyda Coppola, Jean Schlumberger, Jean Clément and Roger Jean-Pierre. In 1949, she licensed Ralph DeRosa to make her jewelry, labeled “Designed in Paris – Created in America”. Jewelry produced in the 1950s employed unusual and often very colorful stones and glass in abstract, floral and faunal designs.
Shocking pink is Schiaparelli’s signature color, and the faux tourmaline is her signature stone. Irregularly shaped chunky stones such as the lava rocks are also prevalent in her jewelry. Chunky bracelets are her signature pieces.Shop Elsa Schiaparelli jewelry
Schreiner (United States, 1932 – 1975)
Originally from Germany, Henry Schreiner opened his company in 1932. His daughter Terry and her husband, Ambros Albert, joined the business in 1952. After Henry died in 1954, they continued to produce Schreiner jewelry using the original molds. Pieces continued to be sold for a few years after production ceased.
Although many of Schreiner’s pieces were never signed, they can usually be identified because of their distinctive style, elaborate designs and high-quality of materials. Typical characteristics include the following: inverted (i.e., set upside down) rhinestones; kite-shaped crystals (known askeystones); large, unusually-shaped crystals; dome-shaped brooches; unconventional color combinations; unfoiled stones; large triangular prongs; pewter settings; and hook-and-eye construction. Crystals came from Czechoslovakia and Germany. Schreiner’s pieces were set and finished by hand, so the output was limited. Huge bib necklaces and parures are especially rare.Shop Schreiner jewelry
Trifari (United States, 1925 to the present)
Gustavo Trifari (1883-1952), a goldsmith from Naples, Italy, partnered with Leo F. Krussman (1888-1952), a sales manager, in 1918 in New York City to design and manufacture high-quality costume jewelry. Trifari created the designs and Krussman marketed them. The company became Trifari,Krussman & Fishel (TKF) when Carl M. Fishel (1878-1964), a salesman, joined the firm in 1925. In 1930, Alfred Philippe was hired as chief designer (a position he held until 1968). TKF soon became the second largest producer of costume jewelry in the U.S., with plants in Providence, Rhode Island, and offices and design departments in New York. In 1964 ownership of the company passed to the founders’ children. In 1989 Trifari became part of the Monet Group, which was bought by Liz Claiborne in 2000.
From the early days to the present, Trifari has created exclusive designs for Broadway musicals and films (most recently, for Madonna in Evita), numerous theatre and film stars, and other illustrious clients such as First Lady Mamie Eisenhower. Known for the high quality of its materials and manufacturing techniques and the sophistication and diversity of its designs, Trifari manufactured jewelry aimed at a medium-high market segment. The company’s distinguishing characteristic was its style of imitating fine jewelry. The predominance of high-quality Swarovski crystals, set using the sophisticated techniques employed with fine jewelry, earned the company the nickname “The Rhinestone Kings”.
With his experience at William Scheer Inc. in New York, a company that collaborated with Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, Alfred Philippe was responsible for many Trifari innovations and successful lines. Most notable among them are invisible settings, enameled floral pins in the 1930s, “Fruit Salads” (produced in the mid-1930s and again in the early 1940s), “Jelly Bellies” (which first appeared in 1940) and “Crown Pins” (produced from the late 1930s to the 1950s). Gustavo Trifariwas also an innovator: in 1932, he patented a “Clip Brooch” that enabled two clips to be mounted either together on a pin bar for use as a brooch or separately on a hinged clip bar for use as a clip. In 1947 he invented “Trifanium”, a metal alloy which the company used in place of sterling silver after World War II. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Trifari produced sets in textured gilded metal set with pearls and rhinestones, which were ideal for daytime wear.
In 1955 Trifari sued Charel Co. and Charel Jewelry Co. over design copyright infringement and won. With this ruling, copyright protection for costume jewelry designs as works of art was established, and jewelry makers added the copyright symbol to their logos. As a result, we know that items marked with a copyright symbol were produced after 1955.Shop Trifari jewelry
W. & H. Jewelry Company (United States, 1937? – 1965)
A manufacturer of jewelry and watch attachments, W. & H. Jewelry Company, Inc. was located in Providence, Rhode Island. Little has been written about the company. Its trademarks were “WH” (conjoined), “W & H”, “Leading Lady”, “Leading Band”, “Harwood”, “Co-Star”, “Tiny Jewels” and “Jack ‘N Jill”.Shop W. & H. Jewelry Company jewelry
Wachenheimer Brothers (United States, 1905 – 1934)
Wachenheimer Bros. Inc. was located at 36 Garnet Street, Providence, Rhode Island, and had a showroom at 303 Fifth Avenue in New York City. The firm was started in 1905 by Jacob, Harry and Samuel Wachenheimer, the sons of German-born immigrants who met, married and settled in Manhattan. The company was incorporated in 1919 by the brothers and Providence attorney John R.Rosenfeld. It remained in operation until around May 1934, although the corporation had been dissolved the previous May.
Best known for their Diamonbar trademark, Wachenheimer Brothers manufactured high-quality sterling silver jewelry. The name Diamonbar first appeared in Vogue advertisements as the name given to a sterling silver and rhinestone bar pin that was first produced in 1916. Harry was granted a patent for the bar pin on October 19, 1920 (U.S. number 1,356,027), although the application was filed on May 24, 1916. He was also granted several patents that defined the ways in which the company’s flexible bracelets, perhaps their most well-known pieces today, were constructed. The first patent (U.S. number 1,219,683) was granted on March 20, 1917. Bracelets with this construction are marked 3 20 17, the patent date rather than the patent number. The second bracelet patent (U.S. number 1,344,365) was granted on June 22, 1920; the application was filed on December 26, 1919. The Diamonbar trademark, which was registered in 1920, was stamped on Wachenheimer bar pins and bracelets until the end of that decade. Styles of the latter included one-, two-, and three-row flexible bracelets set with round- or square-cut rhinestones to imitate gemstones such as diamond, sapphire, emerald, onyx, ruby, amethyst, topaz as well as combinations. Other flexible bracelets had pierced links, with or without stones. The company’s sterling silver and rhinestone bangle bracelets – in 4mm and 8mm widths – were called Lady Gloria Hinge Bracelets.
By the end of the 1920s, the company launched an entirely different product line: Diamonbar flexible bracelets were replaced by Wachenheimer Real Stone Jewelry, which was advertised in Vogue. These pieces were marked Wachenheimer (the trademark was registered on November 2, 1926) and were made of sterling silver with semi-precious stones, including chrysoprase, carnelian, lapis lazuli, onyx and combinations. Some designs had floral motifs, while others were geometric. Sometimesmarcasites were used to accent the colored stones. Matching sets (parures) often included earrings, a necklace, a bracelet, a brooch and a finger ring.
In the early 1930s, the company returned to their product line of one-, two- and three-row sterling silver flexible bracelets, perhaps in an attempt to regain their earlier success. WachenheimerBrothers was one of many casualties among American costume jewelry manufacturers during the Great Depression.Shop Wachenheimer Brothers jewelry