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A Few Of My Favorite Things

by Pat Seal

My initial foray into jewelry research began about five years ago because I had a brooch marked Leo Glass that appeared to me to be from the 1930s. However all of my costume jewelry books stated that he began his business in 1943/44. My curiosity got the best of me and I decided to see what I could find by looking through old Vogue and Harper's Bazaar fashion magazines at the Ft Worth City Library. Fortunately for me, they have excellent magazine archives and the search was on!

I used "Warman's Jewelry" by Christie Romero as a guide for the dates of the designers and manufacturers. When I found an ad that placed an earlier or later date than was mentioned in her book, I emailed Christie and shared it with her. There were several changes made before her second edition came out.

 

I decided to begin my search with 1938 and I was rewarded by finding this ad for Leo Glass in the October issue. Needless to say, I was thrilled with my discovery and subsequently found his name mentioned in Vogue as early as 1934--a full ten years before the books said that he was in business!

I decided to leaf through every issue of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar that was available to me. Over a four year period, for at least eight hours at a time, I have looked through magazines from 1901 to 1979. I have copies of every costume jewelry ad or article that I could find. The ads, unfortunately, are all in black and white [no color copiers in the library]--but the information is there and the satisfaction of putting the correct date on a wonderful piece of vintage jewelry is very rewarding.

Another discovery was an ad for a delightful Castlecliff charm bracelet. It too, was in the 1938 Vogue, seven years earlier than the date in the book. This kind of discovery is the most rewarding for me.

 


It is not always a jewelry ad that helps us in our search. This is a favorite of mine by DuBerry Cosmetics. Found in a 1943 Vogue, it features a manager at Bloomingdales in New York City wearing a patriotic brooch. It is a sterling silver eagle made by Coro and one that I happen to own. Definitely a fun find for me!


Sometime in the late '40s, my father gave me a lovely pair of Monet earrings and I still have them. They are silvertone drops. You can unscrew the bottom of the little ball that dangles from the clips and place a small dab of cotton moistened with your favorite perfume inside. Imagine my delight when I found the Monet ad from 1949 showing the lariat necklace that matches my earrings. Not only did I pinpoint the exact year, but I also found out that they cost 7.50!

This is one of the first ads that I shared with the SilverForum. Copper on silver mobile earrings and pin designed by Sam Kramer in 1951. They sold for 13.95 fifty years ago!

It was only a matter of time before other members of my family became infected with my passion for "The Wearable Art." By the way, this is the name of my "Show and Tell" talks that I present to different civic, educational, and cultural clubs and organizations. Each piece of jewelry is indeed a small bit of creative art and should be appreciated and valued as such.

  

 


My daughter-in-law decided that she would go forth and search out her local thrift shops, flea markets, and antique malls. One of her first quality finds [in a Goodwill store] was a lovely Eisenberg choker with a design that resembles a small bow tie. Several years later, I found this Eisenberg ad in a 1955 Vogue--the same year that her husband, my son, was born. It has remained one of her favorite pieces.

 

 


It is too difficult to choose my favorite designer/manufacturer. I love them all. It is like trying to chose between my four children--it is impossible and unnecessary. There is something to recommend each one. But if I had to make one choice, it would probably be Miriam Haskell--especially the 1930s pieces. The earliest ad that I could find for her was in 1946. I have several of her ads from that year and I do hope that you will enjoy seeing this one. Like her fabulous jewelry, her ads are also "a cut above."

The top picture shows my 1928 Vogue magazine. A fabulous Art Deco design on the cover and the inside is even better. Searching through magazines of this sort is a pure joy. The artistic beauty from this decade is beyond compare.

These are just some of the surprises and joys of research. I hope that this might encourage some of you to join us in our search. Research never ends--it is an ongoing, never finished job and I, for one, love doing it!

My friend, Dotty Stringfield, and I have combined our efforts and she has created a list of just a few of the designers and manufacturers and placed them on her website at Illusion Jewels. We invite you to visit, read, and enjoy our list. We welcome any new or different information.

http://www.illusionjewels.com/list.html

"TREASURES FROM YESTERDAY"

Montgomery Street Antique
IH 30 and Montgomery St.
Fort Worth, Texas
Showcase # 32
817-735-9685

Greene's Antiques
215 W 8th Street
Fort Worth, Texas
817-820-0196

Proud member of Vintage Fashion and Costume Jewelry Club, Jewelcollect, SilverForum, and Christie Romero's Board of Advisors for Warman's Jewelry 2nd Edition.

email:  Patstfy@aol.com

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Article by Pat Seal
Photographs courtesy of  Pat Seal


 Web design by Marbeth Schon 
www.mschon.com


 Copyright 2001 Modern Silver Magazine


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