Wednesday, October 30, 2013
The Art Deco rhinestone necklace and earrings I just listed in the shop are part of a trend of "brilliant set," American costume jewels from the early 1930s. Women of that era lusted after the platinum and diamond creations of the great jewelry houses like Cartier (don't we still!?) which were inaccessible to most of the population. It didn't take long for jewelry manufacturers to draft costume versions of these highly desired styles to meet the demand of fashionable ladies.
For the price of $7.50 in 1932 (about $130 today) you could purchase an "exact copy of an expensive French creation" from stores like Montgomery Ward. The jewelry was always done in silver, either sterling or plated with rhodium, and always pavé set with clear rhinestones - usually chatons or baguettes. The necklaces always featured a drop portion and the earrings were usually chandelier style.
The craftsmanship on these pieces is always excellent and they are right on the line of Edwardian and Art Deco styling . . . dripping with jewels and delicate with lacy piercings but also non-figural and often geometric in design. Hands down, one of my favorite styles from the era. As the copy in one of my catalogs says about this jewelry, "As a gift for any occasion, nothing could be more acceptable."Agreed! Although I think these things would be especially lovely for a bride.
Images scanned from my copies of the 1932 Fort Dearborn Gift Book & Catalog, Answers to Questions About Old Jewelry, 1840-1950, 7th Edition (C. Jeanenne Bell, G.G.), and Warman's Vintage Jewelry, Identification and Price Guide (Leigh Leshner)