NEW AND VINTAGE COSTUME JEWELRY DESIGNERS &
MANUFACTURERS REFERENCE INFORMATION & HISTORY
Special thanks for these pages is given to Shirley Wiesmann who has compiled this data
on company history, marks and their designers from a wide variety of sources.

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VAN DELL: 1939 - Present,

The Van Dell Corporation was founded in Providence, RI in 1943 producing high quality Van Dell lines of costume jewelry with designs resembling fine quality jewelry in sterling silver, gold filled and gold plated metal using rhinestones and other imitation stones, simulated gemstones and cultured and faux pearls. Their jewelry has the quality of Krementz with finishes not wearing off -held up through the years. The Van Dell costume jewelry has never been cheap but is sought after by collectors. Mark: "Van Dell 12 KGF Precious All Oct. F141", "Younger Lady" for ladies jewelry, brooches, bracelets, earrings, cameos, and pendants since Sept. 1943. The company was sold to Hallmark in 1970, and in 1998 became a part of Colibri. The jewelry is still being produced today.

VARGAS: 1945 - 1980?

The Vargas Manufacturing Company was founded in Providence, RI in 1945 and produced ornamental costume jewelry, prong set with clear and colored rhinestones, faux pearls and simulated colored glass stones (ruby, sapphire and opal) on sterling silver, 10k gold filled, gold plated and silver plated base metals. Many pieces designs (bracelets in particular) had 3-dimensional detailed surfaces layered with huge repousse’ scrolled leaves and textured berries set on an antique finish of silvertone and goldtone metal with smooth and shining surfaces on the interior of the jewelry pieces. The bracelets, at least 1 ½" wide, opened wide, were hinged and came with a safety chain for added security. Many of the jewelry designs were identical to those made by Whiting & Davis also located in Providence, RI, (sharing designs -the practice between competing costume jewelry houses was not uncommon in the 1940s and 1950s), and competition was prevalent in those days. Mark: "V in an elongated diamond shape" since 1945, "VARGAS" ornamental jewelry since June 1945, "Vargas 10K GF", "Cradle Craft" in script on children’s jewelry, pendants, necklaces, pins, bracelets and finger rings in Sept. 1946, " a large V partly inside and outside a triangle" particularly on ornamental jewelry for children since Jam. 15, 1947, "Lucky Elephant" in 1960 and "Brazilia" in 1971, "Grandee" in 1971, "Bennard" in 1969. It is assumed that the company ceased operations in 1980.

VENDOME: 1944 - Present (CORO)

Vendome was established as a subsidiary of Coro to manufacture a superior line of jewelry. The mark was used as early as 1944 on charm bracelets and faux pearl jewelry, but the Vendome line which began in the 1950's did not become popular until the early 1960's, largely due to beautiful designs introduced by Helen Marion, Vendome's principal designer. Basically, Vendome replaced Corocraft, which, up to that time, marked the higher quality jewelry made by Coro. Vendome jewelry used the best of imported rhinestones and faceted crystal beads. The clarity and brilliance of the stones and top quality metalwork combined in artistically expressive designs were the main factors behind Vendome's success. Mark" Vendome". The jewelry is highly collectible and should continue to rise in prices.

VINTAGE CREATIONS: 1973 - Present

Murry and Mildred Shapiro founded Heirloom 73 Jewelry in 1973 in Forest Hills, NY after time spent studying and collecting antique jewelry and deciding to go into manufacturing the classic designs that looked like it came from Grandma’s jewelry boc. Murry’s reproductions were so meticulous that many people thought the jewelry was accurate or that the jewelry produced adhered to the original vintage jewelry.

In researching vintage designs, the Shapiro’s became fascinated with jewelry made with marcasite and, therefore, researched and developed their jewelry with prong-set marcasites set into the sterling silver metal rather than those by other designers who were gluing their marcasites into the metal base of their classic design pieces. Necklaces, bracelets, pins, earrings, pendants and rings were produced in sterling silver metal with prong-set marcasites.

In 1979, the company with the Shapiro family made up of Murry, his wife Mildred and their son Drew moved their showroom to Manhattan and eventually formed a division “Vintage Creations: specializing in the marcasite jewelry. An optional vermeil finish (24kt Gold over Sterling Silver) was also available on most styles creating a stylish two-toned look. A few years later, Vintage Creations moved to a plant at 22 Throckmorton St., Freehold, NJ with the company business growing in leaps and bounds making Vintage Creations a leading manufacturer of sterling silver marcasite jewelry and an exception leader in producing fine costume jewelry made with sterling silver and marcasites.

Drew Shapiro worked diligently in the business and was the designer of a jewelry line with a unique twist of sterling silver and prong-set Swarovski crystals that were often enhanced with semi-precious stones and cultural pearls naming this new line of jewelry Jenna Nicole Crystal. Necklaces, bracelets, pins, earrings, pendants and rings were designed for the Jenna Nicole Crystal jewelry line that had the diamond look and could be compared to the most expensive diamond pieces with pricing ranging from $35 to $650. Mark: Logo and New Tag: “JENNA NICOLE CRYSTAL FOR THOSE WHO APPRECIATE QUALITY (in a triangle box)”.

In Oct. 2002, the Swarovski Crystal Components Division chose Jenna Nicole Crystal as a partner in the Swarovski Ingredient Branding Program and her jewelry packaging and promotion now featured the Swarovski Crystal Components logo (Swan and SWARVOSKI name) on hang tags and labels along with her own jewelry mark of JENNA NICOLE CRYSTAL.

The jewelry of Vintage Creations and Jenna Nicole Crystal is sold on their internet website, Vintage Creations, on Jenna Nicole Crystal Jewelry: Eclectic Elegance Old and New Jewelry, and it is also sold in leading department stores, specialty and gift stores, fine jewelry stores, boutiques and through mail order catalogs. Jenna Nicole Crystal, in 2005, is producing, not only exceptional fine costume jewelry, but also jewelry accessories for bridal, evening wear and formal wear.

VOGUE: 1915 - 1975

Vogue jewelry was first produced by Park Importing Co.NYC, about 1915. The firm specialized in simulated pearls and beads jewelry. The Vogue jewelry found on the market today was manufactured in the late 1930's to early 1970's by Harold Shapiro, and his two partners, Jack Gilbert and George Grant. Shapiro left the company in 1961 and his son, Bernard, founded Les Bernard, Inc. in 1963. Vogue jewelry is said to be beautiful, demonstrating originality and innovation of designs. Jewelry pieces produced in the early 1930s to 1940s are hard to find and sought after by collectors. Mark: VOGUE". The Vogue company ceased operations in early 1975.

VOLUPTE: 1920 - 1960s

Volpute Inc. was founded in 1920 in Elizabeth, NJ producing compacts and cigarette cases and jewelry using chromium-plated metal mesh. Mark" Soldered on tag "VOLUPTE" It was purchased by Shields, Inc. of Attleboro, MA in 1957 and ceased operations in the 1960s.

VRBA: 1990 - Present

Larry or Lawrence Vrba, a former top jewelry designer for Miriam Haskell in the 1960s and 1970s, is now producing costume jewelry under his own name. All his jewelry is hand-made using prong set stones with gold-tone or pewter metal bases. The designs along with the workmanship of the jewelry pieces now produced under the Vrba name are outstanding and said to be wonderful works of art. In demand today is the Haskell pieces designed by Vrba while with the company. It has been indicated (The Glitter Box) that Mr. Vrba will do refurbishing of Haskell and other name brand designer’s jewelry including De Mario, Eugene and Robert. Mark: "Lawrence Vrba" and "Larry Vrba". Vrba costume jewelry is still being made today and pricing is considered to be in the high price range.

WARNER: 1950s - 1970s

Joseph Warner founded the Warner Company in 1953. The Warner jewelry produced is known for its high quality workmanship and superior and brilliant rhinestones and other materials using a Japanned blacken metal base which is a finishing process on metal using a black coal-tar derivative. The Warner jewelry is not very common and because of its better quality of workmanship, superior rhinestones and materials and Japanned metal settings, the jewelry found commands above average pricing in the collector’s market today. Other manufacturers of jewelry, using Japanned metal backings, rhinestones and other materials do not demonstrate the workmanship or the pieces do not contain the brilliant stones and materials which distinguishes them from the Warner pieces. Mark: "WARNER". The company ceased operations in the early 1970s.

WEISS: 1942 - 1971

Albert Weiss, a jewelry designer and manufacturer, founded the Albert Weiss & Company Inc.NYC in 1942. He had been a former employee of Coro. The company prospered during the 1950s and 1960s. Weiss jewelry offered high quality costume jewelry using excellent Austrian diamente or clear and colored and aurora borealis rhinestones of exceptional quality and clarity, faux pearls, clear and glass colored stones with antique and gold-tone, silver-tone and Japanned metal settings. Desirable pieces sought after by collectors are the beautiful rhinestones studded figural jewelry that includes the Weiss butterflies and insects. Weiss jewelry has become highly rated and is increasing in price, and is said to be comparable to Eisenberg and Bogoff jewelry. Weiss manufactured jewelry for wholesale to stores including JC Penny and Sears & Roebuck with the stores using their own name boxes for retail sales. Through the years in business, the Weiss company has manufactured some of the most beautiful and appealing rhinestone jewelry of the post WWII era and after. Weiss introduced the gray rhinestone to the public. Christmas tree pins were made for Weiss in Germany that bore the Weiss logo. Mark: "WEISS". The company ceased operations in 1971.

WENDY GELL: 1975 - 1992, 2000 - Present

Wendy Gell designer and president of Wendy Gell Jewelry, Inc. New York City and Key West founded her company in 1975. It became an international fashion and costume jewelry business with the jewelry assembled from rhinestones, color Swarvoski Austrian crystals, small antique toys and objects to include cloth, plastic cherubs, religious artifacts, inlaid with tiny bits of things, articles of Santaria symbolism or playful icons of Retro-America.

In 1976, Wendy Gell’s first Wristy appeared on the market, a metal cuff with some of the rhinestone pins she collected. Because of its popularity due to her friends excitement of her designed pieces, the Wristy, a metal cuff 1 - 3” wide encrusted with glistening stones, ethnic artifacts, fake pearls, beads, rope of silver and gold, pop culture icons, rhinestones, tiles, flowers, beach glass, Indian carvings, netsuke’s, Eisenberg pins, and even bark from trees, is a jewelry line of many different designs, each piece put together by hand, that was created and manufactured by the company in the 1970’s. along with necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and brooches. Many of the fabulous large cuff Wristy were one-of-a-kind or part of a limited edition that the company produced.

Gell’s jewelry for the wristy, continued to be popular and was the wild style of the 1980’s, with its appearance all over the world on thousands of covers, pages of fashion and editorials in magazines, Vogue (U.S., Germany, Italy, and France), Glamour, Penthouse, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and Harpers & Queens of Great Britain, and was sold at Nordstroms, CA . Her jewelry designs were worn by Madonna, Oprah, Brook Shields, Isabella Rossellini, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, and Cher. Gell’s jewelry can also be found in private collections of Elizabeth Taylor, Hillary Clinton, Liza Minnelli, and the late Liberace, Andy Warhol and Princess Diana. The company turned into a multi-million dollar contemporary jewelry company and, by 1986, Wendy Gell employed 40 people with the company tripling in size each year with over 1,000 different earrings alone made in the workroom by skilled jewelry makers and with some young people just out of art school. Wendy has designed special pieces for Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, and Louis Dell’Olio. Her jewelry pieces are collected by Marisa Berenson who shows them in her book.

Wendy Gell’s jewelry has a very distinctive style being bold, whimsical, and glitzy. The materials she used and uses, not only form texture depth, but visual delight. She has created sequined Disney characters, jeweled Roger Rabbit and his friends, Wizard of Oz, and The Phantom of the Opera, because of her various licenses with Disney. Her designs are featured in numerous exhibitions including the Jewels of Fantasy show that is traveling worldwide to Milan, London, Tokyo, Paris and New York. Collectors can distinguish the older pieces by the glue around the edge of the cuff which yellows with age. The signature on early pieces were made by an electric pen or signed “Wristies by Wendy”, and in 1986, was replaced by an oval disk that was soldered into the piece. It is now signed and dated “Wendy Gell and year“. The Wendy Gell Company ceased operations in 1992, but Wendy Gell is again in business, presently in 2005. Her jewelry pieces can be found for sale on her internet site: wendygell.com.

WEST GERMANY, GERMANY & EAST GERMANY: 1871 - Present

The German Empire originated in 1871 and was called Germany through 1948 (after Word War II) when in 1949, it split to West and East Germany. West Germany, the U.S. British and French Zones of Occupation became the Federal Republic of Germany with Bonn as its capital. East Germany (the Soviet zone), West Berlin (the western sectors) and East Berlin (the Eastern sector) became known as the German Democratic Republic (a socialist state) comprising the provinces of eastern Pomerania, eastern Brandenburg, Silesia, and East and West Prussia with its capital Berlin. In October 1990, East and West Germany unified again, and the country is now known as Germany.

Items produced including costume jewelry made before and up through 1948 are marked: “Germany”. Those made in 1949 from West Germany were marked: “Western Zone Germany“, “American Zone Germany“, “W. Germany“, “West Germany”, “Made in West Germany”, and “Made in Western Germany”. In East Germany, items were marked: “German Democratic Republic”. To sum, jewelry pieces marked just “Germany” were almost certain to be pre-WWII unless they are newer (1990 - Present).

The German costume jewelry styles designed and manufactured in the Art Nouveau (poetic interpretation of nature 1890-1915) and Art Deco (geometric figures and symmetrical forms 1919-1930) include necklaces, bracelets, brooches/pins, earrings, pendants. medallions, and rings started in 1903. Sterling silver, silver-tone, gold-tone, rhodium, brass, chromium, filigree, and white base metals were used along with imitation stones of turquoise, amethyst, emerald, opal, ruby, topaz, lapis, and pearl (to name a few), clear and multi colored crystals, rhinestones, lampwork beads, crackle glass and art glass beads. Matching sets of pendants and medallions consisting of a necklace, earrings and bracelet with Cameos of ladies and flowers surrounded by delicate pearls and rhinestones on filigree gold-tone and silver-tone metal enameled were also designed and produced in West Germany and Germany. The European country, by hand, created exceptional examples of costume jewelry. The costume jewelry, the old style designs of Germany and West Germany, were probably produced in the 1920’s through the 1950’s, and were similar to those of Miriam Haskell, Original by Robert, Stanley Hagler and De Mario. Costume jewelry made in West Germany is becoming scarce and hard to find.

WHITING & DAVIS: 1976 - Present

Charles W. Whiting, in 1907, became a partner and owner of the Wade & Davis Company, a chain manufacturing company founded by William Wade and Edward P. Davis in 1876, located in Attleboro, MA, after having worked for the firm since 1880. Along with Davis as partner, the name changed to the Whiting and Davis Company. The company, mainly as a silver manufacturer, originally made silver plated and gold plated mesh chains and purses that were completed by hand in 1892. They then started making fashion accessories to complement their product lines. They introduced a jewelry line in sterling silver or silver or gold plated metalwork as the foundation of their mesh works. The Whiting & Davis Co. introduced applied transfer porcelain jewelry and cameos along with a line of iridescent glass jewelry. The company produced many original designs along with reproducing reproductions of antique jewelry that were copies of museum pieces in the 1950s. They stopped making non-mesh jewelry in 1980 and stopped making mesh jewelry in 1991. Whiting & Davis today still produces mesh purses and accessories along with distinctive jewelry things. Mark: "WHITING & DAVIS CHAIN CO.", first used in 1926, "W & D", "WHITING & DAVIS CO.", in the metal and sometimes in a cartouche

WIESNER: 1953 -?

The Wiesner Company was founded by Joseph Wiesner NY in 1953 producing clear and brilliant colored rhinestones prong set in goldtone metal. Wiesner costume jewelry pieces are known for their quality workmanship and brilliant stones. Mark: "Joseph Wiesner NY".

WILD BRYDE JEWELRY: 1980 - Present

Michael Warner, a avid naturalist and wildlife observer (now sole owner of the company) and Tracy Holzman started designing Wild Bryde jewelry in Richmond, California in 1980. Their jewelry immediately attracted accounts of the San Francisco Zoo and the Audubon Canyon Ranch at Stinson Beach, California.

All of the Wild Bryde jewelry designs has been inspired by wildlife and nature. The designs are hand drawn with the original artwork done by Michael Warner who holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Illustration from the California College of Arts and Krafts in Oakland. His art work is reflected in each and every Wild Bryde piece of jewelry that includes earrings, pins, necklaces, bracelets, and barrettes.

Wild Bryde jewelry is lightweight in construction, etched in recycled brass. Each piece is hammered by hand using a special planishing tool that produces a smooth surface finish on metal by rapid succession of blows delivered by a hammer that is designed for that purpose. This procedure gives the jewelry subtle facets that catch the light, making the piece attractive and distinctive from all angles along with the final process of plating. The use of gold-plating, 14K gold filled and/or a rhodium finish metal highlights the jewelry pieces. Mark: “Wild Bryde” similar to script writing with each letter of the name separate. The design numbers produced now totals over 8,000 species, specific animal, plant, and natural designs.

All Wild Bryde jewelry is made in the U.S.A. Sales have outstretched to Europe and Japan. The Wild Bryde company is a wholesale business and sells to retail stores with a retail catalog sent per request from their website: wildbryde.com The company is still in business in 2007.
 

YVES SAINT LAURENT: 1960 - Present

Yves Saint Laurent, a designer, was born in Algeria in 1936 and worked for the House of Dior in 1954. When Christian Dior died in 1957, Saint Laurent managed one of the Dior establishments but in 1961, opened his own fashion house in Paris and, later, in 1966, opened a boutique in the U.S. Monet produced some of his jewelry. Mark: "Yves Saint Laurent".

1928 JEWELRY: 1968 - Present

The 1928 Jewelry Company was founded in 1968 by Melvyn Bernie in Burbank, California creating finely detailed fashion jewelry, replicas of vintage jewelry drawn from a wealth of antique designs. It is producing modern replicas of the most beautiful and exquisite jewelry of past years with vintage details and fresh interpretations designing necklaces, bracelets, pendants, earrings, brooches and pins, and hair accessories for exceptional value and the price conscience consumer.

The 1928 Company also designs rosaries, jewelry boxes, key and fob chains that have beauty and are significant to the originals of days-gone-by with the use of the company’s expert skills at producing new items that are profoundly and spiritually unique including the Vatican Library Collection of jewels. Their jewelry designs contain bases of silver, gold and brass metals with crystals, simulated colored stones and pearls including mother-of-pearl and imitation colored gemstones and beads. Their product line includes one of Christian-oriented jewelry and gifts. Mark: “1928”

Most recently, the 1928 Company has introduced a new brand 2028 into their family. It was developed as an exclusive line for Macy’s Stores that will feature more fashion forward designs with the choices containing premium quality components honoring “every woman’s exclusivity” from the rich to the middle class consumer, and for those who want and desires the today’s fashion look of fine jewelry. Mark: “2028”.

The 1928 Company is a privately held company that has unique familial feeling towards its employees. They successfully contribute to their employer and assist in the company’s business success which comes from design inspirations from the past in this ever changing development of the fashion world as we see its expansion to new horizons. The 1928 Company is still in business in 2006.

 

Vintage Costume Jewelry Makers And Designers

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