Friday, November 10, 2006


Blue Net Pin

Kramer Jewerly Creations, NY, 1943--c.1980

A favourite of mine... very under-rated and very collectible. Pieces vary hugely in design, material and can be very serious to flirty and whimsical.

Founded by Louis Kramer in 1943

KRAMER 1943 Block, KRAMER Pat Pend,

KRAMER in Capitals and copyright mark, after 1955




The Diamond Look (script) KRAMER 1948


The Golden Look (script) 1954

Perles de Lune - on Kramer Pearl Jewelry after Sept. 1962

Amourelle in script on heart shaped plaque, Frank Hess for Kramer 1963

Amourelle in script

Kramer for Sale

Kramer Flickr Album

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Kramer Patents Flickr Album

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Spectacular Rousselet Necklace

The House of Chanel, more commonly known as Chanel, was founded in 1909, the small shop selling ladies headwear had moved to the up market Rue Cambon within a year. The house became especially famous with the elegant little black dress, its signature Chanel No. 5 fragrance and the popular, an elegant Chanel suit comprised of a knee-length skirt and trim, boxy jacket, traditionally made of woven wool with black trim and gold buttons and worn with large costume-pearl necklaces.
Post war Chanel’s long time friend Suzanne Gripoix began to produce Pâte de Verre and nacrés glass pearls for sautoirs, buttons and brooches.
Robert Goossens work was based on Byzantine, Celt, Egyptian and Etruscan designs and techniques. He designed her fabulous 50’s collection of bar pins, bracelets, crosses and barrettes because Chanel was besotted with Byzantine works of art. He adapted many designs based on lion’s heads, as Coco was a Leo. He worked for her from 1954 – 1971.
Louis Rousselet’s firm was the maker of a major source of hand made glass beads, producing barrel-shaped, cylindrical in stepped geometric designs. His factory produced huge amounts of glass pearls until the late 60’s when production ceased.
Both Rousselet and Gripoix used double rows of pearls and beads with floral patterns in between. These pieces were very feminine and very “French”, and were usually hand tagged.
Her belief was “jewellery was not created to make one look rich, but to adorn”.

Made in France Pieces for Sale

French Flickr Album

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Boucher Cyclamen Pin

BOUCHER 1937-1971
copyright symbol used after 1955
MB (Boucher)
phrygian cap mark
made in Mexico for Boucher during WW11

Marcel Boucher left France in 1925 for the United States and designed for Cartier. In 1937 Boucher established his own company, Marcel Boucher and Cie Company,. Sandra Raymonde Semensohn joined the company in 1949. Marcel and Sandre later married. Both Marcel (Cartier) and his wife Sandra (Harry Winston) began their careers in fine jewelry design. They created dimensional jewelry using multidimensional intricate enameling techniques and coloured rhinestones. Their upscale costume pieces show the same awareness and commitment to detail. The Phrygian cap* signature was used in 1937-1938. Marcel Boucher died in 1965. Sandra Boucher, his wife, ran the company until 1972. Boucher jewelry is usually signed and carries an inventory number. Boucher jewelry is high-end and can be tough to tell from the real thing.

Boucher Pieces for Sale

Boucher Flickr Album

Boucher Patents Flickr Album

Boucher Ads Flickr Album

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Friday, October 13, 2006


Early Unsigned Haskell Clip

Bakelite is a name for synthetic resin, phenol-formaldehyde.

Dr. Leo Hendrik Baekeland discovered the synthetic plastic while trying to produce synthetic shellac. When he combined carbolic acid and formaldehyde, the mixture would not pour out of the test tube. When neither heat nor any solvent would soften the new material, Baekeland realized that he had discovered something important - the first thermosetting plastic, a synthetic that would not melt once it had been heat set. Its initial use was in electrical insulation, and phenolic resins are still used today for that purpose.

In 1910 Baekeland founded the General Bakelite Company (later changed to the Bakelite Corporation), which became established in the United States, England, Germany, and Canada. Union Carbide acquired the Bakelite Corporation in 1939.

Bakelite Testing
NEVER PIN TEST BAKELITE…It ruins the value

Friction- rub piece vigorously to create heat and smell the piece immediately. If it has a smell like the old black telephones, it is bakelite. Hot water works creates the same smell.

Simichrome is available in a tube at your local hardware store. Use a tiny bit on a "Q" tip on the underside of the piece you are testing. When rubbed against bakelite it will turn a yellowish colour. Simichrome is great for polishing bakelite. You can use it on silver and other metals too.

Formula 409 is an all-purpose cleaner also can be used to test bakelite. Test put a small amount of 409 on a swab and rub it on a small area on the back of the piece you are testing. The “Q” tip will turn yellowish if it is bakelite. Wash the area afterwards with mild dishwashing soap and warm water. Towel dry immediately afterward. 409 does not strip the finish.


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Friday, April 21, 2006


Alice Caviness Pin

Alice Caviness is notable for its originality and use of complex materials and shows a richness of color, shape, and texture. Some Caviness pieces were manufactured in West Germany, and are marked as such. Many of these are sterling, often in delicate filigree. Production began in 1945, post World War II. She died in 1983. the company continued under the leadership of her partner, Lois Steever.

Alice Caviness Pieces for Sale

Alice Caviness Flickr Album

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Saturday, March 04, 2006


Danecraft Sterling Repoussé Rose Pin

Danecraft made Sterling, gold filled and jewelry made of base metals. Victor Primavera, Sr. & James Felch founded Felch & Co. in Providence, RI in 1934, with Victor in charge of design and James in charge of administration & sales. The mark used was "Danecraft". In 1945 Primaverabought out Felch and changed the company name to Danecraft, which it has remained. Victor Primavera, Sr. died in 1977. Company is still owned and operated by the Primavera family. Danecraft is known for quality sterling silver designs similar to Scandinavian Jewellery.

Information kindly provided to Dotty Stringfield by Victor Primavera,

Danecraft Pieces for Sale

Danecraft Flickr Album

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Information kindly provided to Dotty Stringfield by Victor Primavera,

Saturday, February 18, 2006


“Hollywood Jewelry Mfg” started making jewellery in the mid 30’s. The name was changed to “Hollycraft” in the late 40’s. There is speculation that the name was changed because of the similarity of names with “Joseff of Hollywood”. Pieces were not signed until 1948 and they did not date or use the copyright mark until 1950 through 1959. “Hollycraft” is known for their distinct antique gold settings and the use of colorful glass and rhinestones. Some of the most popular designs from the 1950s are those using a pastel pallet. Favourite colours are amethyst, aqua, citrine, pink, olivine and are rich and complex in design. Most pieces are nearly always done in gold-tone metal findings. They were leaders in creating much of the 50s costume jewelry. Many pieces have become classics and are avidly sought after by many collectors. Because of the use of dates many collectors only collect by year!

HollyCraft Pieces for Sale

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Thursday, February 09, 2006


Large Miriam Haskell Pearl & Rhinestone Pin

Miriam Haskell (1899-1981) is recognized as a very important American costume jewelry designer. She had a penchant for the unusual with her ostentatious accessories.
She was born in 1899 in Tell City, Indiana to immigrant parents… a Russian father and a Prussian mother.
At the dawn of the Roaring Twenties, Miriam Haskell moved to New York City with $500 in her pocket, opening a small boutique in her own name in the McAlpin Hotel. She sold costume jewelry that she designed. In the early 1920's, Haskell advertised "colored glass necklaces, one for each outfit, are considered a necessity this year.”
Miriam Haskell first began making jewelry commercially around 1924. Like her design predecessors in the Art Nouveau era, she designed and manufactured jewelry that evoked nature in their subjects and construction. She began to create the pieces using organic materials in her jewelry. Not only was Haskell riding the wave of the Roaring Twenties, she was creating a wave of her own. The Twenties were the years that all of the fashion rules were broken. Haskell's unbounded creativity met with enormous popularity. The prices for her costume jewelry were much lower than the cost of precious metals and stones, so anyone could afford to look fashionable. The popularity of her costume jewelry continued, even after the stock market crash. Her sales did not drop significantly until 1931
Frank Hess joined her in 1936 as the head artistic designer. He was a master of new and technically complex production techniques that allowed their vision for the jewelry to come into being. Hess worked as the lead designer until he retired in 1960. In August of 1950 ownership of the company goes to Joe Haskell. Design, production and promotion remained the responsibility of Frank Hess.
Quality was always evident, with the use of finer quality materials and all prong set in the design. Haskell jewelry is known for its use of elaborate filigree and careful wiring, all handmade and accommodating a variety of designs. Haskell filigree was typically electroplated gold tone metal in an antique gold finish. The beads were bought from France and Italy. Most of the crystals came from Bohemia.
During World War II forced Haskell to use alternative materials including plastics. She had to purchase more of her beads and crystals from sources closer to home. Production did continue during the war years. She introduced patriotic designs to contribute to the war effort.
After the war, styles changed. Clothing was made of more luxurious materials. The designs became more vibrant, colorful, and feminine as the 1950s approached. Haskell designs became more elaborate including larger pieces and necklaces of multiple bead strands. In the late 1940s as fashion returned to the pages of the newspaper designers began marketing their creations and growing their businesses.

Joe Haskell sells the company to Morris Kinzler in 1955. Hess is still a major force within the company.

In 1958 at Hess’s suggestion Robert F. Clark joins the company and Sanford Moss becomes general manager.

1960 Robert Clark takes over from Hess and Hess becomes vice president. Clark continued the traditions and incorporated some of his own ideas into production. He also used new materials such as mother of pearl. Clark leaves the company in 1967.

1968 designer Larry Vrba joined the company. In 1970 he becomes chief designer. He introduced completely new and more exotic designs that reflected the times of the 1960s and 1970s.

Millie Petronzio became the first woman to lead the design department at Miriam Haskell in 1980, continuing to make some of the old designs, often with archived older materials, but as those before her continues to introduce new designs and design elements in their lines.
Haskell jewelry has always been noted for the detailing thus the cost. The jewelry is known for the asymmetrical designs. In the early years, Haskell jewelry was not marked and production was limited. Many of "unsigned" Haskell pieces are questionable as to authenticity.
Haskell never registered her designs. She began to sign her pieces in 1950. The Miriam Haskell trademark was not received until 1988, 64 years after she began designing. Because there were no marks to identify her work prior to 1950, it is difficult to verify many of her pieces.

Several signatures including an incised "Miriam Haskell" on the hook, "Miriam Haskell" in a crescent shaped cartouche, and an oval stamp "Miriam Haskell" on the clasp. Some designs during the fifties were incredibly elaborate, combining stones, pearls, beads, and filigree in new and exciting ways.
The company was sold to Frank Fialkoff in 1990 and is still producing today, making some of the older designs such as the Retro line introduced in the early 90s as well as doing custom work.
A must for the Haskell collector are the books “Miriam Haskell Jewelry (Schiffer Book for Collectors)”by Cathy Gordon and Sheila Pamiloff and “The Jewels of Miriam Haskell” by Deanna Farneti Cera.

References for this Bio:
Miriam Haskell Jewelry (Schiffer Book for Collectors) by Cathy Gordon and Sheila Pamiloff

The Jewels of Miriam Haskell by Deanna Farneti Cera

Miriam Haskell Pieces for Sale

Miriam Haskell Flickr Album

Haskell Ads Flickr Album

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Many thanks to Dotty Stringfield & Pat Seal for all their hard work at Illusion Jewels.