Joseph Masaniello modernist silver jewelry (late 1940s – 1970s)
New York based silversmith of Italian origin, Joseph Masaniello (1908 – 1979) was one of the renowned artisans and modernist jewelers of the late 1940s – early 70s. Following the traditions of the Arts and Crafts movement, he nevertheless created his own jewelry designs, which were more geometric and modernist. Noteworthy, calla lily designs became the hallmark of most of his works.
When handcrafting bracelets, brooches, pins, rings and earrings, the jeweler traditionally used sterling silver. Also, natural gemstones such as onyx, jade, moonstone, agate, as well as glass. He signed his pieces with a conjoined ‘JM’ for Joseph Masaniello and “Sterling”.
Today, jewelry created by Joseph Masaniello is rare and highly collectible.
Category Archive: Vintage
Joseph Masaniello modernist silver jewelry (late 1940s – 1970s)
Paul Lobel modernist silver jewelry
Born in 1899 in Romania, Paul A. Lobel showed artistic ability since childhood. As a teenager, he immigrated to the United States where he studied draftsmanship, industrial arts, design, sculpture, and metalworking at various art institutions in New York City.
The young artist was especially impressed by the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris in 1925. Subsequently, demonstrating his craft talent in decoration, design and silver sculpture, he himself became a regular participant in various exhibitions in New York museums.
Lobel lived in New York from the 1920s until his death in 1983. He made a great contribution to the development of contemporary American design, including the design of silver jewelry.
One of the most sought-after jewelers of the mid-century, Lobel created wearable art using sterling silver or metal alloys instead of gold. His geometric modernist design jewelry is always wonderful and worth collecting. Traditionally, the craftsman signed his pieces with his name “Lobel” in capital letters and the word “sterling”.
John Lewis vintage silver jewelry
Born in 1932 in Weston, Massachusetts, John Lewis grew up in the family of Professor Frank M. Lewis and Marie Eckes Lewis. A gifted jewelry designer, he began creating modernist silver jewelry in the early 1950s. After marrying in 1955, he and his wife Louise embarked on a multi-year journey around the world. After returning in the 1960s, John and Louise started their family business by opening a store in Ogunquit, Maine.
However, in the early 1970s they moved to his native Massachusetts, opening their store on Newbury Street in Boston. The business was quite successful and the shop closed its doors only a few month before the death of its founder. The father of two daughters, John Lewis died on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019 at the age of 87.
Traditionally, the designer stamped his solid textured pieces in a modernist style with the crossed JL (John Lewis). Today, his pieces are rare and highly sought after by collectors.
Supported by his wife, Lewis made his mark not only in the jewelry art, but also in environmental protection, having worked at the Boston Environmental Protection Commission for more than 40 years. He also took an interest in music, supporting the Boston Early Music Festival, the Cambridge Early Music Society and the Vivaldi Edition recording project in Paris.
Hilda Kraus modernist silver jewelry (1950-80s)
Born in New York City in 1915, 20-year-old American artist Hilda Kraus went to Europe to continue her studies and improve her skills after graduating from Hunter College. In the 1950s and 60s, she studied at the International Academy of Arts in Salzburg, Austria, and learned the technology of making silver and enamelware from the best masters in Europe. Among them, in particular, were well-known workshops in Denmark, France, Germany and Italy.
Noteworthy, she managed to combine her studies in jewelry art with business and teaching. So, she owned workshops and stores in her native New York City, Connecticut and Maine. In addition, Hilda taught at the Crafts Center in Brookfield, Minnesota and had been a regular exhibitor at art exhibitions, receiving numerous awards and prizes. Her work is in the collections of the Art Museums of New York, Delaware, Connecticut and other states.
Many-awarded artist, enamellist, jewelry designer, silversmith and teacher, Hilda Kraus lived a long life, almost 100 years. She died in Westport, Connecticut on June 2, 2014.
Paul Voltaire modernist silver jewelry
Born November 7, 1917 in Vienna, Austrian metallurgical engineer Paul Voltaire moved to New York during World War II. In the mid-1940s, he joined the artists, becoming one of the founders of the Craftsmen’s Equity, known today as the American Craft Council. Starting to create his own designer jewelry, already in 1949 he opened his own store in New York’s Greenwich Village.
Traditionally, Voltaire used various metals such as silver, brass, gold, copper and steel. He marked his jewelry with the full name “Paul Voltaire”, with two triangles around the edges of the name Paul. Today, Voltaire’s pieces are extremely rare and highly collectible.
Handcrafted, his jewelry was not only unique but also beautiful, a wearable art that did not go unnoticed. So, many fashion magazines, including Look, Vogue and Glamour, published images of his abstract jewelry. The successful family business of Voltaire and his wife expanded with the opening of other stores. Specifically, New Hope, Pennsylvania, Woodstock, New York, and New Milford, Litchfield County, Connecticut (his final place of residence).
Unfortunately, the designer died at the age of 61, in February 1979.
Franz Bergmann modernist silver jewelry
Born August 6, 1898 in Austria, Franz Walter Bergmann grew up in the family of a musician and artist, imbibing a love of art from childhood. After serving in World War I, he studied painting at the National Academy of Arts in Vienna, from which he graduated with honors in 1925.
The very next year he moved to the United States, where he lived and worked in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, receiving commissions for artwork and participating in art exhibitions. In addition, he taught at various schools of fine arts.
Noteworthy, Bergman began creating abstract modernist jewelry in the late 1940s. Traditionally, the master used sterling silver and natural stones such as amethyst, quartz, as well as art glass. He marked his brooches, pins, earrings, and pendants with the conjoined initials “FB”. Today, his jewelry pieces have become scarce and are highly collectable.
Despite the serious car accident ands his broken legs (1952), the master continued to create, preferring to work with enamel. He successfully sold his products and participated in various art exhibitions for ten years. However, from 1962, Bergmann spent the rest of his years traveling with his wife until his death in 1977.
Signed Empress vintage costume jewelry
The history of Empress jewelry began in Hollywood, California, registered in 1967 and owned by Empress Pearls Inc. The president of the company was Arthur Joseph Parent, Sr. (8 April, 1935 – 28 December, 2011).
However, according to other records, Empress jewelry began its history during the WWII, in 1942. In addition to cultured and faux pearls, the designers used genuine opal, tiger’s eye and other natural stones. Creating classic design stick pins, earrings, rings, cufflinks and necklaces, Empress jewelers used silver or 10, 12 and 14 carats gold.
Traditionally, all jewelry was sold in exquisite branded boxes. Notably, the earliest maker’s marks included the stylized word “Empress” on an oval cartouche and no copyright mark.
Based in California, Empress Pearls Inc ceased to exist in the early 1990s.