Friday, September 27, 2013
It is happening. I'm falling in love with Miriam Haskell jewelry. I suppose it was only a matter of time.
I am fascinated by her designs and her craftsmanship. Beginning in the late 1920s, she created big, colorful, 3-D pieces that were desirable not for the materials used but for their elaborate, handmade quality. Women lusted after them. Many of the same women who wore Cartier and Tiffany also wore Haskell (Joan Crawford, the Duchess of Windsor, etc.). She had a completely different way of constructing her jewelry than other costumer jewelers of the time. Mainly, she never used glue. As described in the "history" section of the modern Haskell company website, "the [jewelry] element, no matter how diminutive, was threaded, encrusted, or wrapped by hand onto a wire, a chain, or handset into a channel or finding. It’s the tight embroidery of the elements-that bares no sign of the base underneath - that is one of the most distinctive features of Miriam Haskell jewelry."
This is a wonderful appraisal (video and transcript) of a collection of Haskell jewelry from the archives of Antiques Roadshow. The appraiser, Jeanenne Bell, does a great job of pointing out the things that make Haskell jewelry unique. Put on your diapers before you watch it.
Because her pieces weren't signed before 1940, collectors use different ways of authenticating early Haskell pieces. The use of Miriam Haskell advertisements, like the ones here, is one way to identify her earliest work. How cool is it to see the actual jewelry along with the ads?! You can see many more 1930s-1940s ads on this excellent resource page over at Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry.