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Vintage Costume Jewelry Designers A - F, G - O, P - Z
Hagler, Stanley
Haskell, Miriam
Kirk, Alexis
Les Bernard

Goldette:  The Circle Jewelry Company was founded by Ben Gartner in 1958, and the company marketed their good quality costume jewelry using the trademark Goldette. It was very popular throughout the 1960s and 1970s before ceasing operations in about 1977. While Goldette was designed and marketed in New York City, it's production was outsourced to a facility in the Providence, RI area. They were best known for producing Victorian look pieces with ornate antique finish goldtone metalwork, and pieces were usually signed "Goldette" from 1959 onward. (Reference Source: Costume Jewelers: The Golden Age of Design @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Grossé:   The German company Henkel & Grosse created the Grossé trademark for their costume jewelry business headquartered in Pforzheim, Germany since 1938. Grossé was one of the primary manufacturers of finer costume jewelry for Christian Dior and other third party labels. The French accent mark over the "e" originated as a marketing initiative to enter the French market, who were understandably reticent to  transact with German companies in the years right after World War II. (Reference Source: Modernist Jewelry 1930-1960: The Wearable Art Movement @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Hagler, Stanley:  Stanley Hagler is a New York City jewelry designer specializing in pearl necklaces and bracelets, and they are still in operation today. Hagler jewelry used all individually strung pearls to highlight the high quality of his pearls, while many other makers of faux pearl jewelry grouped pearls together to hide individual flaws and inconsistencies. The first Stanley Hagler marks from the 1950s had "Stanley Hagler" on an oval disc printed straight across, then upon his moving to South Florida he incorporated N.Y.C. to read "Stanley Hagler N.Y.C." on the curve of the oval. (Reference Source: Masterpieces of Costume Jewelry @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Miriam Haskell - Like her design predecessors in the Art Nouveau era, Miriam Haskell sought to design and manufacture jewelry that evoked nature in their subjects and construction. Haskell first began making jewelry commercially about 1924, and intensively began to create her unique flowers, animals, and other organic materials in her jewelry. Frank Hess joined her in the company as the lead artistic designer, and 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, and he was succeeded by Robert Clark who continued the traditions but incorporated some of his own ideas into production and used new materials such as mother of pearl. Lead designer Larry Vrba joined the company in 1970, and he more than his predecessors 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. Miriam Haskell jewelry has always been noted for the detailing, which directly translated into the time it took to make and thus the cost, and for the asymmetry of many of their designs. In the early years, Haskell jewelry was not marked and production was limited, suggesting that the proliferation of "unsigned" Haskell jewelry is questionable as to authenticity. There are of course distinct characteristics an expert looks for, including the design itself which often incorporates surprises or irregularities that one looks for. Quality was always evident, with 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 goldtone metal in an antique gold finish. She purchased her beads mostly from France and Venice, Italy, while most crystals came from Bohemia. The advent of World War II forced Haskell to sometimes use alternative materials including for the first time plastics, and she purchased more of her beads and crystals from sources closer to home. However, production did continue during the war years, and she introduced patriotic designs to contribute to the war effort.  After the war, styles changed as soldiers returned from Europe and Asia and the women of the country awaited. Clothing once again could be made of more luxurious materials, and the designs became more vibrant, colorful, and feminine as the 1950s approached. Haskell designs also became more elaborate to include larger pieces, necklaces of multiple bead strands, the use of pearls imported from Japan, and other looks largely impractical during the war. In the late 1940s, Miriam Haskell jewelry started to be marked for the first time, as fashion returned to the pages of the newspaper and designers began actively marketing their creations and growing their businesses. Several styles were used according to the design 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. (Reference Source: The Jewels of Miriam Haskell @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Hobé:  Hobé Cie was founded in New York City in the 1930s by William Hobé, an émigré from France who came from a family famous for their jewelry making. Long before, a French company of the same name was established by William Hobé's father Jacques Hobé in Paris, France in 1887. Jacques Hobé was quite well known in Europe as a master goldsmith and designer & manufacturer of fine jewelry. American Hobé costume jewelry was sold primarily in upscale department stores, adopting the slogan "jewels of legendary splendor" in 1946. A master marketer, young William Hobé approached the legendary Florence Ziegfeld to create exotic costume jewelry for the showgirls to wear in the yearly productions of the Ziegfeld Follies. This contract was really the start of Hobé's costume jewelry making operations in the U. S., and it is said that Florence Ziegfeld originated the term "costume jewelry" in referring to the pieces Hobé created for him and his theatrical productions. Throughout their history, Hobé jewelry has been all handmade and used in many theatrical and movie productions during the middle of the 20th century. One of the most popular lines at Hobé were the romantic floral brooches and particularly the rose bouquet, an incredibly realistic recreation of a bouquet of long-stemmed roses with leaves and held together by ribbons and bows. Especially in their early years of production 1935-1955 their work was of the very highest quality and used many of the techniques of fine jewelry in creating the metalwork and hand setting the stones. Hobé jewelry uses high quality stones and sterling silver, gold, and platinum plated metalwork in contrast to lesser materials. They also made many reproductions of jewelry for the royal courts of Europe and other lines resembling such for sale at their exclusive outlets. Most of their work was signed "Hobé" impressed in the metalwork or on an oval plaque "© Hobé". Hobe' ceased jewelry making operations in 1992. (Reference Source: Masterpieces of Costume Jewelry @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Hollycraft:  The Hollywood Jewelry Manufacturing Company was founded in New York City in 1938 but adopted the "Hollycraft" trademark and logo in 1948. Some Hollycraft is dated, particularly from the 1950s when they were among the 2 or 3 dominant American designers of finer quality costume jewelry, and most is marked "Hollycraft" impressed in the metalwork. Hollycraft is particularly well known for their intricate costume jewelry rings and Christmas tree pins and brooches. Hollycraft jewelry tends to be done in an antique goldtone finish sometimes highlighted with enamels, quite colorful in their use of multi-colored rhinestones and glass beads. The company ceased ongoing operations in 1965. (Reference Source: Costume Jewelers: The Golden Age of Design @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

J.J.:   The Providence Jewelry Company was founded in 1935 by Abraham Lisker in East Providence, R.I., subsequently to change names to Lisker & Lisker when Abraham's brother Nathan joined the company in 1938. The firm ceased operations during the years of World War II, and then following the war the firm was reorganized and reincorporated as The Jonette Jewelry Company in 1953 and the brand trademark J. J. was created. The new name came from combining the first names of his two parents, John and Etta, to create Jonette. J. J. jewelry was quite affordable yet well done, including many figural and Christmas pins that are favored by collectors. Of particular merit and uniqueness were the ballerina pins, and many of the figural pins were done in mother of pearl, unique compared to most period makers of American costume jewelry. J. J. jewelry is marked "© J. J." (Reference Source: Modernist Jewelry 1930-1960: The Wearable Art Movement @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Jomaz:  Jomaz history has to start with the Mazer Brothers company which was founded in 1927 in New York City, one of the early makers of American costume jewelry. One of the founding brothers Joseph Mazer left Mazer Brothers in 1946 to establish Joseph J. Mazer and Company and adopting the Jomaz trademark while Louis Mazer stayed with Mazer Brothers until 1951. Jomaz pieces were usually quite affordable yet interesting in their design. (Reference Source: Fabulous Costume Jewelry: History of Fantasy and Fashion in Jewels @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Joseff:  Joseff jewelry owes its popularity and style to the founder Eugene Joseff, a master craftsman of jewelry making techniques but coupled with a design sensibility far beyond that of most of his contemporaries. Like Hobe, Joseff has its roots in outfitting some of the stars of Broadway theater and Hollywood movies during the 1940s and 1950s. Joseff executed some of the most exotic designs ever rendered in vintage costume jewelry, and he made designs for both men and women. Joseff jewelry appeared in many Hollywood movies including Gone with the Wind, Algiers, and Humoresque. Joseff jewelry was almost totally captive to the demands of movies and theater, so consequently very little was sold to the general public and it is accordingly quite rare. Eugene Joseff died in an airplane crash in July, 1948 and the company ceased operations. Joseff designs are still being sold off from the inventory of over 3 million pieces Eugene left after his death, and these have been slowly offered to the market by his estate and wife Joan Castle Joseff. (Reference Source: Fifty Years of Collectible  Fashion Jewelry: 1925-1975 @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Kirk, Alexis:  Alexis Kirk is a contemporary designer of high quality costume jewelry and women's accessories sold through exclusive retail outlets. Kirk designs are known as innovative and use the techniques of fine jewelry making with higher quality materials. (Reference Source: A Century of Jewelry: Classy, Flashy, And Trashy! @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Kramer:  Kramer Jewelry Creations was founded by Louis Kramer in New York City in 1943, and the company produced interesting costume jewelry at a variety of price ranges. Often referred to as Kramer of New York, Kramer jewelry typically used quite high quality rhinestones regardless of the line, and they used different marks on their jewelry through the years. Kramer jewelry is variously marked Kramer of NY" in the early years, "Kramer of NY City" primarily during the 1950s, or simply "Kramer" impressed in the metal or on an oval appliqué. The line of lower end jewelry was usually distinguished by the use of a metal tag for identification versus impression in the metalwork. The firm sometimes did private label work for larger firms like Christian Dior, but they finally ceased ongoing operations in 1980. (Reference Source: Fabulous Fakes: A Passion for Vintage @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Krementz - Krementz and Company was founded in 1866 by two families, the Krementz and Lester families who each owned 50%, to make men's accessories such as cuff and collar buttons, shirt studs, cufflinks, and tie clasps. In the late 1800s, Krementz expanded into ladies accessories, making brooches, scarf & hat pins, bracelets, and more, most of which used their distinct gold overlay process and was marked with an umbrella with curved handle or with the mark "Krementz". In 1936, the families decided to separate their interests, and the company was divided into distinct organizations with Lester & Company specializing in making fine 18k gold jewelry and Krementz & Company making lower cost 10k and 14k jewelry through more simple techniques and innovative plating and overlay processes which they largely pioneered. In the late 1930s, the company began making women's jewelry as demand was falling way off for the types of men's fashion accessories which had given them their start. The years of World War II interrupted their growth, but Krementz designs became quite popular during the 1950s. They used various labels for their different lines, with the popular 10k gold line "Diana" sold in the department stores like Macys and Gimbels which were spreading across the nation. Krementz jewelry is typically marked "Krementz" in block letters, and they were known for making very realistic copies of classical fine jewelry. Krementz was sold to various parties in the 1970s and 1980s and now operates as part of Colibri who continues to produce Krementz and Van Dell jewelry. (Reference Source: Fabulous Costume Jewelry @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Lang:  The Lang Jewelry Company was founded in Providence RI in April, 1946 and specializes in finer sterling silver jewelry. Their pieces are marked "Sterling" with the letter "S" stylized and represented by a swan with crown on head. (Reference Source: Fabulous Costume Jewelry: History of Fantasy and Fashion in Jewels @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Ledo:  The Leading Jewelry Company was founded in 1911 by Ralph Polcini, producing typically Art Deco design jewelry of rhinestones, beads, and faux pearls. The company changed its name and its marks in 1949 when renamed LEDO. The founder died in 1964 and the company passed on to Ralph's sons who renamed the company after the family name Polcini. (Reference Source: Signed Beauties of Costume Jewelry: Identification & Values @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Les Bernard:   The Les Bernard trademark grew out of the company Vogue, founded in 1936 by Harold Shapiro to make fine costume jewelry. The Shapiro family sold their interest Vogue in 1962, and the company continued to operate under new owners until about 1974. Meanwhile, Harold's son Bernard Shapiro established the new Les Bernard brand in 1963 along with master craftsman Lester Joy, thus creating the name Les Bernard. Bernard wanted to carry on the family tradition himself and had no desire to work for the new owners of his father's former company. Bernard Shapiro was fascinated with the combined use of rhinestones and marquisette in the design of elaborate costume jewelry, and combining these two materials was quite hard in the manufacturing process given their different shapes. The differing shapes meant that each setting had to be individually molded and formed, different depending on whether the stone was to be a rhinestone or marquisette. (Reference Source: Costume Jewelers: The Golden Age of Design @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Lisner:  D. Lisner and Company was founded in New York City in 1904, a contemporary of Coro and similar in pricing and design. The heyday of their jewelry production was in the 1950s when they produced high quality designs using more expensive materials such as aurora borealis and lucite cabochons as well as Austrian rhinestones for their Richelieu line. They produced many different lines of varying popularity and primarily lower cost offerings, but the Richelieu pieces were some of their best and most popular with collectors. In 1978, they changed their name to the Lisner-Richelieu Corporation before ceasing jewelry production a year later. The Lisner jewelry mark with "Lisner" in block letters was first used in 1935, and "Lisner" in script originated in 1938.  From 1959 onward, most Lisner pieces used the "Lisner" mark in block letter and combined with an elongated "L" . (Reference Source: A Century of Jewelry: Classy, Flashy, And Trashy! @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Marvella:  Weinrich Brothers of Philadelphia were contract makers of costume jewelry and accessories, founded in 1911, but they also established their own trademark brand and identity with Marvella. In fact, the name of the company was changed to Marvella Pearls in 1950 and to simply Marvella, Inc. in 1965 in recognition of the jewelry line which brought them their greatest success. Marvella jewelry is particularly noted and collected for their high quality faux pearls, sometimes combined aurora borealis crystal beads and rhinestone roundels. Marvella used a particular aurora borealis which is known for its iridescence and ability to capture the light through color and faceting. Various marks and trademarks were used over the years, and they include many variations on the company name including  Marvellesque and Marvellette. Marvella was purchased by Trifari in 1982. (Reference Source: Modernist Jewelry 1930-1960: The Wearable Art Movement @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Mazer Brothers:  Mazer Brothers was founded by Joseph Mazer and his brother Louis in 1927 in New York City. Mazer was particularly known for their innovation in using new metal alloys in the manufacture of finer costume jewelry that would incorporate the best materials such as Swarovski crystals from Austria. Mazer used the services of many designers including Adolfo, Andre Fleuridas, and the best known Marcel Boucher who went on to open his own jewelry marking operation under his own name in 1934. Joseph Mazer left Mazer Brothers in 1946 to establish Joseph J. Mazer and Company and adopting the Jomaz trademark while Louis Mazer stayed with Mazer Brothers until 1951. The Mazer Brothers company ceased operations in 1977. (Reference Source: Fabulous Fakes: A Passion for Vintage @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Monet:  Brothers Michael and Jay Chernow founded what later became Monet in 1929 in Providence, Rhode Island, an area around which many of the early American costume jewelry designers were established. The original incorporated name was Monocraft, and they produced gold plated monogram plaques for purses and other leather accessories. In 1937, they expanded their offerings to include costume jewelry which they marketed under the name of Monet. The Chernow brothers used the same gold plating techniques developed for the monogram plates and applied them to the metalwork for intricate, modern costume jewelry. Monet jewelry can be found with a variety of base metals including silver, and they pioneered several manufacturing innovations such as the barrel clutch for pierced earrings and a new type of ear clip which adjusted to fit on the ear with less discomfort. In addition to producing their own designs, they have also outsourced the manufacturing for others including Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior. (Reference Source: Fifty Years of Collectible  Fashion Jewelry: 1925-1975 @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

Napier:  What later became Napier was originally founded as a silver manufacturing operation in 1875 as Whitney and Rice in Attleboro, Massachusetts. The firm was sold in 1882 and was renamed the Carpenter and Bliss Company and then again a few years later as E. A. Bliss and Co. Bliss moved the operations to Meriden, CT in 1890, and in 1920 James H. Napier joined the company as its new president. With his hiring, the name of the company was changed again to Napier-Bliss Co. and yet again in 1922 to its final incarnation of simply Napier company. Napier designed and manufactured a simple yet elegant line of costume jewelry, but avoiding the more expensive materials like aurora borealis to keep the cost down. Napier jewelry was produced in fairly large quantities and marketed through a diverse array of outlets which included major department stores, gift shops, and jewelry stores nationwide. The "Napier" mark has been used over the years mostly in block letters but also in script. (Reference Source: Fabulous Costume Jewelry: History of Fantasy and Fashion in Jewels @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

ORA:  Italian Oreste Agnini was born in 1885 in Naples, Italy where he pursued the arts at an early age and studied violin at the Naples Conservatory of Music. He became an excellent musician and concert master for the Wurlitzer Orchestra, but he crossed the ocean like so many others in 1903 to New York. During World War I, Agnini served in the U. S. Air Force where his drawing skills proved strategically important in sketching enemy installations behind the enemy lines.  After the war, he moved to Chicago and founded Agnini & Singer in 1921 as the first jewelry manufacturing company to be established in the rapidly growing Midwestern city of Chicago. He had learned his craft in jewelry making by working at Trifari and also as a diamond setter. His partner in the business, Ralph Singer, also designed jewelry and helped to keep the factory operation efficient and the quality high. A & S stones were purchased from Czechoslovakia through large buying cooperatives which had grown up in and around Providence, RI. Agnini and Singer made costume jewelry pins and brooches for many of the top clothing designers of the time such as Eisenberg, before they and others established their own costume jewelry operations to accessorize their clothing. A & S also got many high profile commissions, making pieces for Hollywood and Broadway, jewelry for the 1939 World's Fair, and even adorning costumes and crowns for Mardi Gras parades. Marketed under the trademark Ora, their jewelry was also popular with groups such as the Masons, Shriners, and Lions, and they actively marketed to them locally and nationally. A & S used higher quality materials in their jewelry including Swarovski crystals and metalwork plated with a heavy layer of rhodium. The company's lines were sold in major U. S. department stores including Macy's and Marshall Field. The name Ora is a combination of the partner's first names Oreste and Ralph. The A & S business eventually came to be known as Ora Designs and the Ora logo was first used.  Early Ora pieces were all unsigned, and the Ora mark was first used in the late 1940s and there after. Oreste Agnini retired in 1952, and his half of the company was sold to his partner Ralph Singer, who gave the company its final name The Ralph Singer Company. Shortly after Ralph Singer's death in 1963, his wife took in their son-in-law Raymond Pausback as partner while keeping the name of the company and the tradename. He eventually bought out her half and ran the company until he retired in the 1980's, selling the company to Stanford Smith Sr. whose heirs still operate it today to the best of our knowledge. (Reference Source: Costume Jewelers: The Golden Age of Design @ the Collectics Collector Bookstore)

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