Sam Biern vintage button jewelry (1933-1961)
Born in Hungary, fifteen year-old Sam Biern (August 1905 – August 1976) moved to the USA in 1920. An artist by vocation, Sam had a passion for painting and embodied his artistic vision in the design of various accessories and jewelry. However, he became known for his original button designs, which are highly collectible today.
Biern founded the eponymous company Sam Biern Inc., in 1933 at the height of the Great Depression.
According to the designer, he got the most pleasure not from sales, but from the creative process – sketching, molding and finishing. His buttons differed from the usual buttons that were sold in stores. Traditionally, he used brass, copper, white metal, leather, aluminium, pewter, plastic and jewels. Also, he signed his buttons with his name Sam Biern N.Y.
Located at 260 West 39th Street, New York City, his company which once had more than 90 employees, ceased to exist in 1961.
Noteworthy, Sam Biern lived and worked in Providence, Rhode Island until his death in August 1976. He worked as a designer of handbags, buckles, ornaments and costume jewelry. In his leisure time he enjoyed painting and experimenting in new techniques.
Category Archive: Vintage
Sam Biern vintage button jewelry (1933-1961)
Theda vintage costume jewelry
The history of Theda jewelry trademark began one hundred years ago in Providence, Rhode Island. The trademark was owned by Ideal Jewelry Mfg. Co., incorporated in 1921 and located at 21 Eddy Street, Providence, RI.
The company’s craftsmen used sterling silver, marcasite, rhodium plating, 12 K gold, cultured pearl, amethyst, jade, topaz and rhinestones. Traditionally, they worked in etching technique, hand engraving floral patterns on silver. Ideal Mfg. Co signed their pieces “Theda sterling”.
Noteworthy, the company went through several renewals and changes of owners and addresses. Thus, renewed in 1963 Theda trademark ceased to exist in the 1980s. Also, reregistered in 1988 in Cranston, RI, Theda became inactive in 1995.
Lee Charley vintage silver jewelry
Born May 13, 1968 in Thoreau New Mexico, Lee Charley is a prominent hereditary Navajo artist silversmith. He began making jewelry in the early 1980s under the tutelage of his mother Nellie, and later passed on his knowledge to his son Matthew Charley. Jewelry designs are varied, from Native Americans and chiefs, to horses and a model airplane with a moving propeller. In addition, many designs are inspired by fauna and flora – butterflies, dragonflies, dinosaurs, fish, toads, flowers and more.
Traditionally, the artist uses sterling silver engraving, shell and multicolor natural turquoise and coral. The marking on the back side of pendants, pins, rings, belt buckles consists of initials “LC” and “Sterling”.
Patricia Von Musulin vintage jewelry
Born in 1947, iconic jewelry designer Patricia Von Musulin founded her company in 1976 in New York City.
Back to 1970-90s such fashion magazines as Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Town and Country, Elle and Forbes featured her works. Also, most famous American and European fashion designers used her jewelry as part of catwalks. Among them were such fashion brands as Estee Lauder, Revlon, Elizabeth Arden, Lancome, Victoria’s Secret, Ralph Lauren, Carolina Herrera and others.
New York designer succeeded in designing original jewelry as well as luxury objects for home interior. Her works are in the permanent collections of many museums. In particular, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution, and The Museum at the Fashion institute of Technology.
Extasia vintage costume jewelry
Located in Nevada City, California, Extasia Inc. has been operating jewelry business for 33 years. Founded by Stefanie Freydont in 1989, Extasia craftsmen create jewelry, using original old English and French designs. Based on the ancient technique of “intaglio” (glass carving), a dozen of Extasia make Victorian jewelry by hand. Traditionally, they use high quality red bronze, silvering and gilding for frames.
In her youth, Stefanie was trained blacksmithing in gold and silver and became an accomplished designer, winning awards for her student work while still in high school. Currently, 72-year-old Stefanie is still active living in Nevada City, CA, and hundreds of stores around the world, from the US and Europe to Japan and Australia sell her jewelry.
Bijou Brigitte vintage costume jewelry
The history of Bijou Brigitte’s costume jewelry brand began on July 8, 1963 in Hamburg, Germany, when 23-year-old Friedrich-Wilhelm Werner designed his first jewelry. Later, his wife Brigitte also made jewelry, helping to grow the family business. It was her name that Frederick included in the name of his company, registered in 1971. Initially, Bijou Brigitte modische Accessoires AG was engaged in the import and trade of fashion jewelry.
Today, the number of brand stores located in Europe has reached more than a thousand. The German quality of products and the French chic of durable and elegant jewelry made the Bijou Brigitte brand popular. It is noteworthy that the trademark Bijou Brigitte (general manager Bettina Diek) registered in the United States in 2006 ceased to exist in 2015.
Along with traditional materials – alloys of metal, pewter, silver and gold, the company’s craftsmen used ceramics, feathers, tassels and leather. The design of brooches, necklaces, bracelets and earrings is most often floral and geometric, made in a variety of styles – from ethnic and fashionable to vintage and boho.
One of Europe’s leading jewelry brands, Bijou Brigitte also manufactures accessories – glasses, scarves, belts, watches and bags for women, men and children.
Courtney Design nature inspired jewelry
The history of nature inspired Courtney jewelry began thanks to a creative duo, Courtney Berry Peterson and her husband Lee Peterson. Founded in 1983 in Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, their company’s original name was Courtney Metal Design.
Courtney Berry Peterson grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana and taught English and French to high school students after graduating from the University of New Orleans.
Lee Peterson grew up in Old Lyme, Connecticut and, after graduating from Johns Hopkins University, wrote a reference book on edible wild plants.
They met in Louisiana, married a year later, and began making jewelry with animal and plant designs in the 1960s. Traditionally, jewelers use silver, brass, copper and gold. Made realistically, with the smallest elaboration of details, Peterson’s jewelry was a great success. Combining natural history and goldsmithing, these pins, pendants, bracelets and earrings have become highly collectible today.
Noteworthy the hallmark on the back side includes sterling, Courtney in script, SSB in script (sterling silver and brass).
Currently, 76 year-old Courtney B Peterson and 73 year-old Lee Peterson are still active, living and working with a small team of silversmiths in Lincoln University, PA