Miriam Haskell jewellery
American jeweler Miriam Haskell was born into a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants, July 1, 1899, Tell City, Indiana. She studied at Chicago University for three years. She wasn’t a professional designer or jeweler, but with her good taste and subtle intuition, Haskell accurately determined the potential of a jewelry designer, she just got a talent in it. Miriam Haskell jewelry reflects innovative design and very rarely replicate the form of jewelry, which partly explains the relationship of the company with show business, private clients and collectors. Haskell jewelry often made its debut on the stage and in films. Florence Ziegfeld bought her decorations for the “Ziegfeld Folies”, movies stars Lucille Ball and Joan Crawford, Gloria Vanderbilt and the Duchess of Windsor wore her jewels. Her decoration were used on television shows, Broadway Musicals, such as “Phantom of the Opera”.
In 1924 with $500 in her pocket, she moved to New York and two years later opened her first jewelry store in a prestigious hotel “McAlpine”. In 1926 she opened her second jewelry boutique at West 57th Street. Frank Hess joined her business the same year, the two worked together until Miriam left the company. In the 1930s, the company moved to 392 Fifth Avenue. Her not expensive art jewelry pieces were popular even during the Great Depression, Miriam Haskell opened boutiques at Saks Fifth Avenue and Burdine’s, in Miami and London.
A successful career of Miriam Haskell took place in 1920-1940’s. She made for the U.S. the same as her contemporary Coco Chanel for Paris: created the jewelry for well-dressed ladies, who joined the fashion trends in jewelry and clothing in a single complex.
Of all the high-quality materials used by Haskell, a special place had pearls – white, pink, brown, champagne, and various shades of gray. The most popular necklaces – of one or more strands of artificial pearls in different colors: white and champagne, pink and gray – to dark brown, with a combination of high quality materials such as Murano glass, molded and cast of French glass, the smallest pearls and pink with Montanit finely crafted clasps. Haskell necklaces are examples of classic style.
Stylized glass and metal Haskell earrings is the classic combination of old gilded metal, faux pearls and translucent pink Montanit. Most popular Haskell earrings and brooches are made in a classic design of 1940-1950s.
As for bracelets, most of them are made of gold or gold-plated silver – plated antique metal with artificial pearls and glass beads of saturated colors. In the presence of brooches or earrings price increases.
Brooches by Miriam Haskell are complex compositions of metal and crystal. Favorite motifs – flower, vegetable and seashells. There are figurines of animals, turtles and exotic birds. Leaves – are constantly occurring motif in Haskell jewelry.
Each bead, each crystal, each pearl is picked up by hand, hand-wired to an intricate brass filigree backing, and ultimately backed to a second filigree, concealing any trace of its construction. One piece may take as long as three days to create.
When Ohio flooded in 1937, Haskell sent boxcars full of relief materials to New Albany, and traveled home to assist during the disaster. In World War Two, she contributed most conscientiously to the war effort, and asked Hess to create new patriotic metal-free jewelry designs, using natural materials and plastics.
Miriam Haskell died in 1981 at age 82. In the book “Miriam Haskell Jewelry” vintage jewelry lover with Russian family name Sheila Pamfiloff writes, “Obviously, the legacy of her dream has filtered on down through the decades. It was a man’s world. Designers were men. The owners of companies were men. The staff was men. The salesmen were men. It was all men. And then you had Coco Chanel, who just jumped right out there, and a couple of other women who carved out their own niche in the world. Haskell did that, too.”