American jewelry designer William Ruser
American jewelry designer William Ruser (1908-1994)
The name of William Ruser is little known today, but from 1949 to 1969 he was one of California’s most sought-after jewelers. His clients included Hollywood stars such as Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Loretta Young and Lana Turner.
Born in Philadelphia in 1908, Ruser began his career in 1925 in Atlantic City at Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin jewelry company. Then, he moved to Beverly Hills, where he ran a subsidiary of that firm at 300 Rodeo Drive. However, in the 1940s, due to the WWII, he had to leave the business to join the Army. Already in 1949, Ruser, along with his wife Pauline, opened his own business – Ruser Jewels – on Rodeo Drive.
Remarkably, Ruser was able to bring back the popularity of freshwater pearls, which he often used in his designs. It all started with a shoebox containing pearls he bought in the 1930s from a button salesman in Mississippi. The designer made his figural jewelry with the use of baroque pearls, gold, diamonds and precious stones. The maker’s mark traditionally includes stylized word “Ruser”, “copyright” and “14K” or “18K” (for purity of gold).
Ruser retired in 1969 and sold his business to Van Cleef & Arpels. He died in 1994.
During the 20-year period of the existence of Ruser Jewels, his jewelry appeared in many films. Among them, in particular, “Sorry, Wrong Number” (1948), the very first film in which actress Barbara Stanwyck demonstrates William Ruser jewelry. The beautiful Joan Crawford wore the jewels of the famous master in Sudden Fear (1952), Shirley MacLaine and Caroline Jones in Career (1955).