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Category Archive: Vintage

Esther Lewittes Modernist Silver Jewelry

Esther Lewittes Modernist Silver Jewelry

Seagull brooch pin with cultured pearl. Esther Lewittes Modernist Silver Jewelry

Esther Lewittes Modernist Silver Jewelry

Born in 1904 in New York, Esther Lewittes was a renowned mid-century modernist jewelry designer. Lewittes graduated from Columbia University and studied industrial design at the Art Students League in New York. Noteworthy, she apprenticed with a jeweler who worked for Cartier before opening her own business in California.

Lewittes has made a name for herself not only as an artist and eccentric designer, but also as a gallerist, creating and selling her art works in her gallery in Los Angeles. Also, she sold her work through Georg Jensen in New York and Gumps in San Francisco, among others. Lewittes imbued her pieces with elegance by using cultured pearls, wood, and smoother lines than the average modernist jeweler. Markings on the back traditionally include “Sterling” and “Lewittes” and sometimes “handmade”.

Her designer cufflinks, brooches and earrings often graced exhibitions at the Pasadena Museum of Art in the 1960s and 1970s. After retiring in the late 1970s, Esther Lewittes (Jan 5, 1904 – Oct 1990) moved to her native New York City, where she later died at the age of 86.

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Signed Prestige vintage costume jewelry

Signed Prestige vintage costume jewelry

Floral design silver tone rhinestone filigree earrings and pendant. Signed Prestige vintage costume jewelry

Signed Prestige vintage costume jewelry
The history of the Prestige brand for the production of costume jewelry lasted more than six decades, from 1948 to 2012. The legendary jewelry corporation Coro (47 West 34th Street New York, NY) founded the Prestige brand in 1948, and produced exquisite costume jewelry labeled “Prestige” until the mid-1980s.

The renewed Prestige brand became the property of K&M ASSOCIATES (425 Dexter Street, Providence, Rhode Island) in 1986 and ceased to exist due to the the company liquidation in 2012.

It is important to note that the famous Providence costume jewelry company Danecraft also produced Prestige jewelry from the 1950s through the 1970s.
In addition, a small costume jewelry company, Prestige Mfg Co was founded in Johnston, Rhode Island in 1986. The president and founder of the company, which employed 21 people, was Donna J. Sabitoni.
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Signed Vanecci vintage costume jewelry

Signed Vanecci vintage costume jewelry

Leopard pattern gold tone rhinestone brooch and clip-on earrings. 1980s. Signed Vanecci vintage costume jewelry

Signed Vanecci vintage costume jewelry
The history of the Italian costume jewelry brand Vanecci began in the early 1980s and lasted no more than a decade.

Although there is little information about the brand, it is certain that the company ceased to exist in the early 1990s. Italian craftsmen created catwalk statement jewelry with bold designs – mostly clip-on earrings, as well as brooches, necklaces and bracelets. Creating jewelry they used high quality materials, and in particular, metal alloy with matte gold finish, Swarovski crystals, rhinestones, faux pearls and enamel. The maker’s mark on the back of each piece includes the word “Vanecci” in script and without the copyright symbol.

Already in 1992, the new owner of the company used this brand name to produce accessories. However, that was already a completely different company, unrelated to the Italian costume jewelry brand, so popular in the 1980s.
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Signed Murat vintage costume jewelry

Signed Murat vintage costume jewelry

Wheat ears gold plated circle brooch. 1930s. Signed Murat vintage costume jewelry

Signed Murat vintage costume jewelry

One of the oldest Parisian jewelry firms, “Bijoux Murat” began its history at 62 rue des Archives in Paris in 1847. Its founder was jewelry designer Charles Bertrand Murat (1 April 1818, Toulouse – 9 August 1897, Paris). A self-taught jeweler, Murat began studying jewelry making and improving his skills by working in jewelry workshops at the age of 16.
His eldest son Jacques Louis Georges Murat (1851 – 1918) successfully continued the family business and received many awards at jewelry exhibitions. As Jacques Louis Georges was childless, he passed on his business to his nephews.
According to the 1925 catalog, the company produced not only jewelry, chains, buttons, crosses, but also cigarette cases, manicure sets, fountain pens, pocket knives and award badges and medals.
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Finnish modernist jeweler Bjorn Weckstrom

Finnish modernist jeweler Bjorn Weckstrom

Man and child sterling silver brooch. Finnish modernist jeweler Bjorn Weckstrom

Finnish modernist jeweler Bjorn Weckstrom
Born in 1935, Björn Weckström graduated from Helsinki Goldsmith’s school in 1956. He is a renowned Finnish sculptor and artist-jeweler known for his “organic” style in jewelry. According to Weckström, his jewelry is more like three-dimensional small sculptures inspired by the brutal Finnish nature. Indeed, in his designs you can see snow drifts, roots, bark of trees, ice-covered surfaces and the figures of people. The designer worked with a wide variety of materials: precious and semi-precious metals, glass, textiles, stone, and fiberglass.

Weckström created jewelry for the Finnish company Lapponia since 1963, and brought the company the international recognition and success. As an art director of Lapponia, he won the Grand Prix in 1965 in the International Jewelry Contest in Rio de Janeiro. Lapponia’s products were sold on Bond Street in London.

Launched in 1969, “Space Silver” became the designer’s most famous collection. When creating this collection, Weckström could not have imagined that it would become part of a cult phenomenon. Thus, “Planetoid Valleys” and “Darina’s Bracelet” became his most famous jewelry in 1977 after being featured in George Lucas’ film “Star Wars.”
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Signed Langani vintage costume jewelry

Signed Langani vintage costume jewelry

Art Deco wood and metal brooch pin. 1960’s. Signed Langani vintage costume jewelry

Signed Langani vintage costume jewelry
The history of the German brand of costume jewelry Langani began in 1952, founded by artist, designer and jeweler Anni Schaad.

Born in Stuttgart, Germany, Anni Lang (1911–1988) studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in 1929–30. She then continued her studies in Vienna and Munich at the State School of Applied Arts, where she studied textile design until 1934. In 1935 she married Rudolf Schaad and became Anni Schaad, but her maiden name turned into the jewelry brand “langani” in 1952, when she opened a costume jewelry workshop.

Initially, Anni Schaad produced handmade lampwork beads of her own design in her workshop. Her unique jewelry soon became very successful and recognizable, especially after participating in national and international arts and crafts exhibitions around the world. As a result of this success, Anni Schaad began a long collaboration with the Parisian couturier Louis Féraud. The first notable collections appeared in the early 1970s and included “Bandura”(1971), Hannibal (1972), and others.

During this period the designer began to use unusual materials for her jewelry. In particular, wood, seashells, ivory, ostrich egg shells, suede, leather and feathers, silk thread, acrylic, sequins and even embroidery.
Noteworthy, Anni and Rudolf Schaad had four children, who joined the family business and successfully continued it.
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Signed RVP vintage costume jewelry

Signed RVP vintage costume jewelry

Traveler’s suitcase gold tone brooch with charms. Signed RVP vintage costume jewelry

Signed RVP vintage costume jewelry

Fallbrook, California based RVP Inc manufactured costume jewelry for just over a decade. The company’s founder and president was Roger Victor Peterson, and his initials make up the manufacturer’s mark “RVP” next to the copyright symbol.

The collection of costume jewelry marked “RVP” mainly included various fancy brooches with charms, which could undoubtedly be a wonderful gift for anyone, and for any occasion. Thus, the design featured various sets on a variety of themes – travel, professions, Christmas, hobbies, gambling, food, music, fashion, etc. The company’s craftsmen used a textured gold-tone metal alloy and sometimes rhinestones.
RVP Inc, incorporated in 1974, ceased to exist in 1986.
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