A Brief Look at Designers and Companies We Love at
Bethidee's Collectible Vintage Costume Jewelry
A Guide To Timelines and Styles
Brought To You By Bethidee- Click Here To Come And See Us!
Art, late 1940's - 1980: Known for unusual color combinations and Victorian Revival designs. We've never seen an unattractive piece by Art! Also known as Mode Art.
Barclay 1930's-40's: Good quality; only produced for a brief time, so not common. There are some very pretty Barclay "poured" glass and rhinestone pieces!
McClelland Barclay 1935-43: Barclay was a well known artist-illustrator who had a brief career in costume jewelry design and manufacture; he was killed in World War II. His pieces are extremely coveted by collectors. Wonderful, elaborate sterling silver designs are his most recognizable, as well as beautiful Art Deco rhinestone pieces.
Bartek: Bartek designed for Napier in the late 1930's; he went on to start his own company headquartered in Connecticut, believed to have continued through the 1950's. His designs are sometimes remarkably different…downright unique…and sightings on eBay are pretty rare.
Beau Sterling, Beaucraft, 1947-2004: Beautifully crafted sterling silver and some 14kt gold pieces; the company was located in Providence, R. I.
Bogoff, 1946 - 1959: Elegant and graceful designs, sparkling rhinestones, usually nice rhodium-plate finishes. Classic.
Boucher, 1937 - 1971: Boucher might just be the greatest designer and producer of costume jewelry in America. He was born in France and trained as an apprentice to Cartier. His early costume jewelry is marked "Marboux". Beautiful and highly collectible, his pieces are often mistaken for the real thing! Boucher jewelry is numbered, and can easily be dated with a bit of research.
B.S.K., 1940's - early 80's: mark of Steinberg, Slovitt, Kaslo, NY; mid-quality jewelry line. Some very pretty rhinestone pieces, as well as amusing figurals.
Hattie Carnegie, 1918 - 1976: Originally from Vienna, Carnegie started out designing dresses, and introduced jewelry to complement them (not unlike Eisenberg!). Her work is often whimsical, and was (relatively) expensive throughout her career. She had a sizeable celebrity clientele.
Carolee 1972- present: Classic designs, lots of them in sterling silver. 1980's "Duchess of Windsor" line is very collectible.
Castlecliff 1918 - 1977: New York company known for a wide variety of styles, including Native American designs. The name is derived from founder, Clifford Furst. Produced jewelry for other companies until 1941.
Alice Caviness 1945 - not known; Caviness died in 1983: Always eye-catching, great quality, lots of unusual stones and color combinations. Alice Caviness' jewelry was always sold through exclusive boutiques. Getting harder and harder to find!
Chanel 1920's-present: Yet another jewelry designer who started by producing pieces to complement clothing. Chanel's designs are, of course, extravagant and beautifully made. Hallmarks: pearls, enamelled lead, highly stylized rhinestone pieces, Indian Moghul, Byzantine and antique Russian icon influences.
Charel 1945 - ?: Trademark used by Charel Jewelry Co., Inc. in Brooklyn NY about 1945. Not common by any means, and not mentioned often in collector's guides.
Ciner 1892 - present: Fabulous rhinestone and glass cabochon pieces, particularly designs with lots of small rhinestones in interesting colors. Very upscale jewelry.
Claudette 1945 - 1950's: This was the mark of the Premier Jewelry Company of New York. Very scarce and absolutely upscale jewelry.
Coro, 1901 - 1979: The name is derived from a combination of founders Emanuel Cohn and Gerard Rosenberg. Coro was the largest manufacturer of costume jewelry with a work force of over 2,000. They produced jewelry of all price levels, from the most basic to very expensive pieces. We love vintage Coro- the workmanship is generally very good, and some of their designs are absolutely striking. Well known for their "Duettes", which worked as a single brooch or separated into two dress clips. Top of their line was called Corocraft; also see Vendome below.
Dauplaise, 1978 - present: Carol Dauplaise left Miriam Haskell in 1978 to form her own company, and makes beautiful pearl and bead designs.
Deauville, 1850 - 1970: Mark of J. R. Wood & Sons. Sold in 1970. Name became Art Carved in 1975.
DeLizza and Elster ("Juliana", also produced beautiful jewelry for the companies "Tara" and "Gloria") Harold Elster (died in 1963) & William DeLizza, New York 1947-1990: Founded by William DeLizza & Harold Elster in NYC. Juliana was only manufactured for approximately 2 years, 1967 and 1968. Some true Juliana designs include the fabulous "Easter Egg" stones series, and rhinestone pieces in very unusual (sometimes strange!) color combinations. Open-backed stones, dangling crystals with rhinestones, and five-link bracelet construction are among the familiar characteristics of Juliana, but many pieces are erroneously attributed to them. Sold only with paper hangtags, and never hallmarked. Possibly the most popular collectible vintage costume jewelry at present!
DeMario, 1945 - early 1960's: The Robert DeMario Company's jewelry is exquisite! Usually incorporates rhinestones, often in very showy pieces. Some early work is extremely similar to Miriam Haskell's, including the use of glass beads hand-wired to filigree backings in elaborate designs. DeMario jewelry is among the rarest found on today's market- it was produced in very limited quantities.
DeNicola, late 1950's - 1970's: Great quality! De Nicola was founded by Jerry De Nicola in the late 1950's or early 1960's and eventually became part of the Capri Jewelry Company. Unusual materials- we had a leather-backed turtle brooch once!
Christian Dior 1946-present: Opulent designs, many with Oriental and Middle Eastern influences. It goes without saying that Dior pieces are extremely high-quality, extravagant and expensive.
Eisenberg, 1914 - present: Founded in Chicago in 1914 by Jonas Eisenberg. He started out producing jewelry to complement his clothing lines, but the jewelry quickly overtook the clothing in popularity! Always beautiful, always elegant (except for an extremely few odd enamel pieces I've seen). Eisenberg used only Swarovski crystal rhinestones, many of them huge and show-stopping. They made some of the most exquisite fur clips and brooches you'll ever see. Early Eisenbergs are unmarked; in 1935, the company used the mark 'Eisenberg Original'. This mark was used from 1935 - 1945. During WWII, because of government restrictions [on materials], the company used sterling silver (1941-1945). Another mark, script letter E, was also used during the war years. Eisenberg Ice in block letters was used during 1945 - 1958 period. The jewelry manufactured during 1958 - 1970 period was not generally marked. Many of their designs are being reproduced; purists greatly prefer the early vintage pieces.
Exquisite, 1914 - 1970's: The British company Exquisite began as W. A. P. Watson Limited in Birmingham, England. They became a hugely successful costume jewelry manufacturer after World War II. Their lovely "Birthday Brooch" series, with a flower for each month, is most highly prized by collectors.
Florenza, late 1940's - late 1981: Renaissance Revival and Victorian Revival pieces, almost always very ornate and beautiful!
Gerry's, early 1950's - mid 1990's: Produced a wide range of cute novelty pins, many of which are stylized creatures, like fish and dogs.
Goldette, 1955 - 1970's: First produced in 1955 by Ben Gartner in New York. Their signature look is antique gold pieces in Victorian style, and they're invariably lovely. A favorite!
H. & S. Originals, 1950's: Not much is known about H & S, other than they produced jewelry from 1950 (possibly earlier) up until about 1960. If anyone has more information, please contact me through one of our auctions!
Miriam Haskell, 1924 - present: Extremely collectible, almost always strikingly unusual! All pieces were hand made, with many featuring elaborate, hand-wired beading and seed pearls. Early (and most desirable) Haskell pieces were usually asymmetrical; many featured large faux pearls.
Hobe, 1887 - present (1927 - present in the U. S.): Originally founded in Paris in 1887 by Jacques Hobe, the American company Hobe Cie was started in 1927 in New York by his son, William. His first real commission was designing costumes and jewelry for the Ziegfield Follies! This led to the company becoming the largest supplier of jewelry for the theater and film industries in the 40's and 50's. Their retail line was greatly enhanced by the Hollywood connection, and was advertised by leading actresses and models. Hobe was only sold in exclusive stores and boutiques. Exotic, top quality, creative design- to know it is to love it!
Hollycraft, 1936 - 1988: Just beautiful! Started by Joseph Chorbajian as the Hollywood Jewelry Company. They were nice enough to date their pieces (to the delight of collectors everywhere). Rhinestones abound in their designs, particularly pastels. Never met a piece of Hollycraft we didn't love.
J.J., 1935 - present: Jonette Jewelry Company of Rhode Island, known primarily for whimsical, cute pins and figurals. Getting more and more popular with collectors.
Jomaz, 1946 - 1981: Brothers Joseph and Louis Mazer founded Mazer Bros. in 1927; Joseph left in 1946 to start Jomaz (sometimes marked "Mazer" or "Joseph Mazer"). Extremely high-end jewelry highly prized by collectors; they often feature elaborate rhinestone designs and we've seen some exquisite enamelling on Jomaz pieces.
Joseff, 1938 - 1950's: Also known as Joseff of Hollywood. Designed much of the fabulous jewelry you see in old movies from Hollywood's heyday in the 40's and 50's. Stunning designs. Joseff even invented a process called "Russian Gold" plating, to work with the lighting in films to reduce glare.
Judy Lee, 1950's-1970's: Sold at "home parties"; Judy Lee made some beautiful rhinestone pieces as well as some gorgeous Victorian Revival jewelry in antiqued metal.
Juliana, see DeLizza & Elster
Kramer, 1943 - 1980: Founded in New York in 1943 by Louis Kramer. Fabulous quality with exceptional rhinestones- think elegant. The company also produced jewelry for Christian Dior marked "Kramer for Christian Dior". Always lovely. Well-known for their "Diamond Look" pieces in the 60's, as well.
Lisner, early 1904 - late 1985: Well-priced, affordable, nice designs and quality. Their Lucite "Oak Leaves", particularly in red, are the Holy Grail for Lisner collectors…they are gorgeous.
Marino, 1932 - 1978: Marino was based in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Not very plentiful on the vintage jewelry market, and not a great deal is known about the company. (We would welcome any help- please contact us with further info!)
Mazer: see "Jomaz"
Monet, 1927 - present: Lovely quality, innovative design…the Monet name is well-known to most people, but almost no one realizes the company was founded in 1927! There are some great old pieces out there. Started as Monocraft; since 1994 the company has been part of The Monet Group (along with Trifari and Marvella), now owned by Liz Claiborne.
MYLU, early 1960's - 1970: Founded by two women, Mylu produced some lovely jewelry. Became a division of Coro in 1968.
Napier, 1875 - present: Again, a name everyone knows…but did you know they started making jewelry in 1875?! Actually, the oldest company of its type in the U.S.
Ora, 1921 - present: Founded in Chicago by Oreste Agnini, and Ralph Singer. Initially the company was known as Agnini & Singer. Early pieces are unmarked, and some of the most beautiful and well-crafted jewelry from the 20's and 30's is attributable to them. In the late 1940's the business became known as ORA designs, and ORA is in business (albeit under different ownership) to this day.
Original by Robert (see "Robert")
Pell, 1941 - present: Still in production; this New York company had some exceptionally pretty and graceful rhinestone brooches in the 50's.
Pennino, 1926 - 1966: The three Pennino brothers were sons of an Italian goldsmith who brought their brilliant talents to the jewelry business in New York City. Said to be descended from Italian royalty, they designed some of the most beautiful and rare pieces of jewelry you will find; elegant and innovative and incorporating the finest materials and rhodium-plated metal. Extremely collectible!
H. Pomerantz: H. Pomerantz produced belt buckles, buttons, and jewelry from the 19th century, possibly as early as the 1840s, up through the 1940s. Early pieces are scarce and highly coveted by collectors.
Rebajes, 1934 - 1967 in the U.S.: Before returing to his native Spain in 1967, Rebajes made beautiful Modernist jewelry in his New York studio. He continued creating unusual, dramatic pieces there until his death in 1990. His usual medium was copper. Handcrafted, unique, highly collectible!
Renoir (also Matisse), 1946 - 1964: A Los Angeles company started by Jerry Fels in 1946, Renoir is known for solid copper jewelry. A new division, Matisse, was added in 1952 to market enamelled jewelry. Beautiful, graceful natural designs are most common.
Robert, or Original by Robert, 1942 - 1979: Mark used by Fashioncraft Jewelry Company. The firm was founded in New York City by Robert Levey, David Jaffe, and Irving Landsman. Name changed to Robert Originals about 1960. Elaborate, well-made, expensive, and very much coveted by collectors.
Nettie Rosenstein, early 1935 - 1975: Nettie Rosenstein's career began in 1927 in millinery but she turned to couture and later into accessories. As with other designers, her jewelry eclipsed her clothing line. Her pieces are excellent quality and range from simple coin designs to much more elaborate work.
Rousseau, circa 1950's: Rousseau was a French fashion designer who also produced a very limited amount of jewelry. The pieces we've seen have been striking!
Sarah Coventry, 1949 - 1984: Sold at home jewelry parties, Coventry is an interesting piece of American business history! Nice, mid-range to better quality; we've seen some very pretty examples. SC did not design or manufacture their own jewelry- some of their pieces were made by DeLizza and Elster, among many others! More and more collectors are snapping Sarah Coventry up while the market is favorable.
Schreiner, 1939 - 1973: For serious collectors! Unusual and distinctive jewelry with way cool art glass cabochons, inverted-set rhinestones, and unusual color combinations. Also, some of the most elaborate rhinestone pieces you'll ever see. Fabulous! Only produced in very limited quantities. Hard to find.
Selro/Selini, 1950's - 1960's: Most people think of Selro's "face jewelry" when they hear the name, but they also produced some lovely rhinestone pieces. Selini was introduced as a different line by Selro in the 60's. Beautifully made jewelry!
Sperry, 1947 - ?: Mark of Sperry Manufacturing Company of Providence, R. I., at least until the 1960's. Sperry also sold jewelry under the name "Tara".
Trifari (TKF, or Trifari, Krussman & Fishel), 1918 - present: Luigi Trifari, a goldsmith and producer of fine jewelry in Italy, taught his grandson Gustavo well. He emigrated to the U.S. and for several years worked as a designer in New York City. Trifari & Trifari was born in about 1910, in partnership with his uncle. The firm produced costume jewelry but lasted only two years, after which Gustavo founded his own company, Trifari.
In 1917, Leo Krussman joined the company, forming the Trifari and Krussman Company. Carl Fishel came aboard in the early 1920's, and the company changed its name to Trifari, Krussman & Fishel (or TKF). Alfred Philippe, who worked and designed jewelry for Trifari from 1930 to 1968, was formerly a designer of fine jewelry, including pieces for Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. His influence led the company to innovative design and world-class status. Trifari jewelry is excellent quality, and Philippe pieces (especially crown brooches), jelly bellies and ClipMates are among the most coveted. All of their vintage jewelry is wonderful, though, and highly collectible!
Vendome, 1944 - 1970's: Originally Coro's upscale line, introduced to replace Corocraft. Eventually became an independent company. Excellent quality, beautiful designs, and very collectible.
Vogue, 1936 - 1973: Founded by Harold Shapiro, Jack Gilbert and George Grant, this highly successful company was famous for figural pins and popularized "rope necklaces" of beads in the 1950's. Excellent quality and innovative style. Shapiro's son Bernard and Lester Joy combined their names to form Les Bernard in 1963.
Volupte 1926- 50's: Best known for beautiful compacts, cigarette cases and other accessories, but they made a small amount of knockout jewelry! Almost never seen- we've had one rhinestone demi-parure (necklace and bracelet) by Volupte, which sold for $400. Simply the best!
Warner, 1950's - 1970's: Established in the 1950's by Joseph Warner; the company produced jewelry until the early 1970's. Fabulous workmanship and exceptional stones! Known for using japanned (black) metal. Relatively scarce.
Weiss, 1942 - 1971: Founded in New York City in 1942 by a former Coro employee, Albert Weiss. Their rhinestone pieces are among the most lovely you'll ever see; they used only Austrian crystal stones, and it's very evident. Highly sought-after by collectors; elegant, striking, classic jewelry.
Whiting & Davis, 1876 - present: Known primarily for beautiful gold and silver mesh jewelry and accessories, W&D also produced some of the most stunning and dramatic Art Nouveau and Victorian influenced pieces you'll find!
Do you think this guide would be helpful to other vintage costume jewelry collectors? If so, please vote "Yes" below so that more people will see it!
(AND to make it easier to find)
how we can improve it for you.