This guide will introduce you to the world of the 1940s-1960s vanity accessories manufactured by
Matson, Stylebuilt, Guildcrest, Globe and others.
These items were originally sold in department stores, drug stores and jewelry stores.
The ormolu pieces are in a Rococo style and feature cherubs, birds, scrolling, intricate filigree or stylized flowers like roses. In the 1940s and into the 50s, some dresser sets featured a large faceted jewel on the pieces. Sometimes I see dealers incorrectly labeling these items as antique, Victorian, French or Italian. Please understand that these are NOT Victorian, French, Italian or antique!!!!!
I realize that many people do not have the time nor resources to research their items, and some people just wish to remain ignorant when I mention how old their bottle really is. I hope that the people who do take the time to read this guide are able to list their items accurately so their buyers arent buying something that is misrepresented.
I had written a seller because she had incorrectly said her perfume bottle was "Antique Victorian,French and Italian" all in one title. She responsed quite negatively and even so much as went to put a response in her listing as she couldnt verify that I was an expert when I said her perfume bottle was no older than the 1940s. As a dealer in antique & vintage perfumes for over 10 years, a member of the International Perfume Bottle Association, author of over 200 guides on vintage perfumes & vanity sets and appraiser for vintage perfume bottles, I have alot of knowledge on vintage perfume bottles and dresser sets with many reference books on perfumes & vanity accessories at my disposal. Please feel confident that you are reading the guide of someone who has spent a lot of time researching these vanity pieces and trying to garner as much info as possible to help you. Any quetions please feel free to ask, Thanks!
Often times, original labels and tags are missing from these pieces as they were lovingly used for years. But you can be sure that your piece is one of the manufacturers I have listed below.
These items add a touch of glamour when displayed on a vanity, counter top in your powder rooms or even on your nightstand in a guest bedroom.
Matson perfumes & tray
Many of the perfume bottles resemble reliquaries and have beveled glass windows and a tiny glass vial inside to hold perfume. The perfume can be applied to the skin with a long glass dauber attached to a very fancy filigreed stopper. The perfume bottles were often sold as a pair. The glass windows are either clear, pink or amber in color. Other perfume bottles are the atomizers, these have plastic siphon tubes inside. And there are other perfumes with pressed glass bases and gilded metal mounts and daubers. You might wish to clean out the old perfume residue with some alcohol. Please note that these are NOT Victorian nor antiques. There are no perfume bottles of the Victorian era that even resemble these oversized gargantuan bottles. Some of these bottles stand as tall as 10" and higher. You might also find a single faceted glass or lucite jewel in the center of the stopper. Some perfume bottles have plastic behind the filigree that imitates mother of pearl, please note that this is plastic and NOT real mother of pearl.
Here are some examples of the perfume bottles:
The jewel caskets generally have beveled glass sides held in by tooth like prongs, the bottoms are lined in either a tan, burgundy, purple or blue velvet. Sometimes the velvet is tufted with little gold tone brads. The glass can be either amber, pink or clear. Sometimes you might find a single faceted glass or lucite jewel on the lid. The caskets are in many different shapes from oval, rectangular, triangular, round, square and even ball shaped. These are not antiques, I once saw a seller trying to pass off a 1950s signed Matson jewel casket as an "Antique Victorian Mourning Box".
Stylebuilt jewel casket
Handmirrors, Brushes & Combs
Handmirrors have beveled glass, combs have lucite teeth and brushes have nylon bristles. Sometimes you might find a single faceted glass or lucite jewel on the backs of the mirrors and brushes.Sometimes the backs of brushes or mirrors have mother of pearl looking plastic backings under the filigree, please note that this is plastic and not real mother of pearl.
Most vanity trays are large enough to hold either the entire vanity set and some are just large enough to hold the pair of perfumes. Many of the trays have a mirror on the base or they might have beveled glass. Each one has an intricate gilded frame and some may be accented with a large faceted glass or lucite jewel on each end. Some trays have handles and some are footed. You might even come across newer style plateaus.
Pieces you may find:
- Hand mirrors
- Adjustable Mirrors on stands
- Perfume bottles
- Perfume Atomizers
- Hair Brushes
- Large dresser trays
- Jewel caskets
- Kleenex covers
- Hairspray can covers
- Lipstick holders/caddies
- Pin trays
- Picture frames
- Powder jars
- Soap dishes
- Toothbrush holders
- Candy dishes
- Cup holders & cups
- Vanity trash baskets
- Cigarette boxes
- Vanity lamps
Stylebuilt: New York company established in 1940, that specialized in the manufacture of vanity accessories in the 1960s. Most items are of a gold tone or silver tone alloy metal. Stylebuilt often had their pieces plated with 24kt gold and were said to be tarnish proof. The company is still in business today and operates under the name of Stylebuilt Accessories Inc. and is located in New York. Vintage Stylebuilt items may retain their original labels or tags which state the following: “Stylebuilt Accessories, New York, 24K Gold Plated, Guaranteed Not To Tarnish." Other tags or labels might read "Stylebuilt Frame Co."
Matson: Matson Manufacturing Company of 347 FIFTH AVENUE. NEW YORK, NY 10016. Their items were marked © Matson and Matson Import. They manufactured vanity accessories and accessories for the powder room during the 1950s-1960s. Their pieces are often 24kt gold plated and should have a little label or tag attached verifying this. Information on Matson is next to nothing. Matson was NOT given away to passengers on Matson Line Cruises. For some reason someone has made up this ridiculous rumor to help sell their items and the rumor is spreading! The two companies are NOT related.
Guildcrest: An American company that made dresser sets and boudoir accessories in the 1940s and into the 1950s. These items were 24kt gold plated and pieces were imported from Germany. Birds on branches are a common theme with this company. They also used amber glass for their perfumes and caskets.
Globe: In the 1950s & 60s, the Globe Silver Company manufactured the same type of vanity accessories as Matson & Stylebuilt, in fact their dies are very similar if not the same. They also plated their wares with 24kt gold and some of their pieces were accented with large faceted glass jewels.
Florenza: a costume jewelry manufacturer who started around 1937 as Dan Kasoff Inc, but didnt start marking items with the Florenza name until 1950. They also made a series of gold tone lipstick caddies in the 1950s, some have a antique white finish. Other items include pincushions with red velvet. Florenza items are generally accented with rhinestones or faux pearls. Florenza was in business until 1981.
Yule Mfg Co: a Brooklyn, New York based company that manufactured vanity sets comparable to those by Stylebuilt and Matson. Their tags or pieces are sometimes marked "Guaranteed not to Tarnish". Some of their pieces will be adorned with aurora borealis rhinestones and faux pearls.
Astorloid: This company began making vanity accessories with goldtone filigree in the 1950s and continued production into the 1960s. The “Astorloid” plastic backings of mirrors, powder jar lids was often combined with silk brocade or embroidered backings. The nylon bristles snapped out of the backs for easy cleaning and the mirrors were protected by copper backings.
SF: manufacturers of filigree vanity sets much like Stylebuilt & Matson.
Regent of London: manufactured matching vanity sets with petit point inserts, with intricate brass filigree handles and frames. The backings often have an Oriental theme. The embroidered backings are generally covered with a thin clear plastic or vinyl material. The nylon bristles should also snap out for easy cleaning. These are generally found in the United Kingdom and date to the 1940s-1960s.
Care & Cleaning Tips:
To keep your pretty vanity items in good condition, be sure to keep them away from moisture. The moisture will loosen the gilding, turn the foil backed stones dark, and spot your mirror. A light dusting with a stiff brush can help you clean them off, I use a little makeup brush to get in between the stones and into the filigree. You can clean this brush in between cleanings to help get rid of the little dusty particles. I used some of my dresser items, notably a powder box, brush, perfume bottle, comb and hand mirror. I didn't have any problems with that. Most of the other items I just displayed.
Whatever styles of vanity accessories you choose to collect, I am sure you will enjoy the thrill of the hunt! Have fun and good luck bidding! Any questions, feel free to ask Me.
If you choose to use my info from my guides,please credit me, I have seen many sellers copy and pasting my info right into their listings. Writing guides and researching info is a very time consuming endeavor, you wouldn't do the same to a book author would you?
Feel free to email me for details or any questions. I also have a perfume identification and appraisal service here on ebay, click on my ME page for info. Please see my site at www .freewebs. com/cleopatrasboudoir
Check out the 250+ guides & reviews I have written on perfumes & vanity items on ebay.
Pictures in this guide were provided by the following ebay sellers, please take a moment to view their current auctions:
keywords: filigree, ormolu, dresser set, vanity set, gilded, rococo, Victorian, deco, vintage
Copyright © 2007 cleopatra*s_boudoir. This material may not be reproduced in any form, or linked to electronically, without the express written permission of the author.