Signed M & S vintage costume jewelry
The history of the M & S jewelry brand began in the mid-1940s at East Providence 14, Rhode Island and lasted a little over two decades. M. & S. Jewelry Mfg. Co., Inc. also launched such trademarks as Phyllis, Phyllis Original in 1946 and Scitarelli in 1948.
Basically, the designers of this company adhered to the art deco style, creating sophisticated, almost filigree jewelry using 10-12 carat gold and an abundance of stones and complex-cut crystals. Jewelry from these brands went out of production in the early 1960s and is today antique and highly collectible.
Jewelry markings include M&S 1/20-12 K GF on a round cartouche.
Noteworthy, there are several “M & S” jewelry brands founded by different companies at different times and in different countries. The oldest of these, in particular, is the Austrian brand “M & S” founded by Markowitsch & Scheid in 1862, and later renamed Markowitsch & Son, which ceased to exist in 1898.
In the 1980s, there was also French fashion jewelry made of “crumpled gold” alloy marked “M & S” (in cursive).
Category Archive: Vintage
Signed M & S vintage costume jewelry
Signed Barker vintage pewter jewelry (1995-1999)
The history of Barker pewter jewelry began in 1995 and lasted for a rather short period until 1999. It was a family business founded by M. Barker in New Hampshire. The design of artisan handmade jewelry ranged from garden themes and holiday decorations to fruit and animal motifs. In addition to genuine pewter, M. Barker sometimes used glass beads and faux pearls.
The maker’s mark includes 2 stamps – (c) the year of manufacture (1996, 1997 or 1998) and “Barker” on a rectangular cartouche and “Genuine Pewter USA” on an oval cartouche. In addition, each earring, tie tack or lapel pin was sold on an original card signed M. Barker, NH, USA. Noteworthy, Barker also paid attention to the symbolism and meaning of jewelry design. For example, “Pewterberries” ™ collection included a fabulous story, printed on the back of the cards, which made Barker jewelry a wonderful gift or a talisman.
John Szymak vintage modernist jewelry
Texas modernist jeweler John Szymak (1923–2007) ran his workshop in Dallas in the 1950s–1970s. He attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts and the School for American Craftsmen in Rochester, New York.
Creating his belt buckles, cufflinks, pendants, rings, brooches and earrings, Szymak traditionally used gold, sterling silver and pewter, as well as precious stones or enamel. The modernist jeweler marked his jewelry with the word “sterling” and his last name. It is important to note that in the 1960s Szymak’s work appeared in magazines such as Craft Horizons, which covered the US National Design and Jewelry exhibitions.
Gerald Stinn vintage silver jewelry
Mid-century modernist jeweler Gerald (Jerry) Stinn (April 22, 1937 – December 30, 2019) handcrafted sterling silver jewelry in his studio in Santa Maria, California. The designer traditionally used 925 sterling silver and natural stones, such as turquoise, onyx, moonstone, as well as pearls and ebony wood. Stinn’s hammered necklaces, earrings and bracelets have a unique craftsmanship and are highly collectible today.
Noteworthy, his wearable art pieces which mostly include hammered cuff bracelets and necklaces are on permanent display in major national art museums, including the Smithsonian Museum in D.C.
Born in Urbandale, Iowa on April 22, 1937, Gerald Stinn attended local Catholic schools and graduated from the Drake University in Iowa, where he studied jewelry, crafts, and design. Later he taught jewelry art and design in public schools and the Des Moines Art Center.
Gerald M. Stinn passed away on New Year’s eve, December 30, 2019, at the age of 82.
Henry Steig modernist silver jewelry
Born in 1906 in Bronx, New York, Henry Steig was a renowned jeweler of the 1940-60s and one of the founders of the wearable art movement.
He grew up in a creative atmosphere, where his relatives were artists and musicians. After graduating from the National Academy of Design, Steig dabbled in a variety of arts, including music, graphics, and photography. However, in the late 1940s, he decided to take up jewelry making and attended several training sessions.
A self-taught jeweler, he started making abstract modernist jewelry at home and selling it to his friends. In 1950, he opened a New York store in Greenwich Village, which was essentially the center of US modernist jewelry in the middle of the last century. Next to the Steig shop were the workshops of already well-known modernist silversmiths. Among them, in particular, Sam Kramer, Frank Miraglia, Frank Rebajez, Paul Voltaire, Ed Weiner, Arthur Smith and Paul Lobel.
Steig worked primarily in silver in his early years, but later focused on gold. He labeled his modernist jewelry “Steig”, or “Henry Steig”, and “sterling”.
In 1953, Steig moved his New York store to 52nd Street and Lexington. Noteworthy, it was there that the iconic episode with Marilyn Monroe in a white dress was filmed (“The Seven Year Itch”, 1954). Celebrities who bought Steig jewelry included Ella Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Taylor.
Steig closed the New York store in 1963 and moved to Provincetown with his wife, Mimi. In 1972, he sold his business to Chicago jeweler Jan Dee.
Steig died in 1973.
Martin Lasak mid-century modernist jewelry
American silver and goldsmith Martin Andrew Lasak made modernist jewelry in his workshops in Vermont and Florida in the 1960-70s.
The designer’s ad was published in the 1977 newspaper “Island Reporter”. According to the ad, Martin Andrew Lasak was the silver and goldsmith who created each piece by hand and torch, with good design and sound workmanship. He exhibited his art works in his workshop located at 2, Periwinkle Place, Sanibel Island, Florida. Noteworthy, Martin A. Lasak designed and built an exquisite show area interior himself. He made and sold his jewelry only there and in his other shop in the village of Stowe, Vermont, where he became known for the famous ‘Slalom Sing.’
Traditionally, he used solid sterling silver, gold, and natural stones, such as turquoise, amethyst and jade. The maker’s mark included the word “Lasak” in capital letters.
Noteworthy, Carol, the daughter of a renowned silversmith Joe Skinger (March 16, 1911 – January 1967), Lasak of Bar Harbor, Maine, was trained by and worked for her father during the 1960s in his Vermont studio.
Signed PC vintage costume jewelry (1978-1993)
The history of costume jewelry marked with two interlocked capital letters PC with a copyright sign on the left lasted from 1978 to 1993. Founded over 70 years ago in Rhode Island, Providence Chain Company has gone through several re-registrations, ownership and logo changes. Incorporated in 1950, Providence Chain Company was founded by Czechoslovakians Jan M. Ouhrabka Sr and his son, who immigrated to the United States in 1946.
According to some sources, before founding his company, Jan M. Ouhrabka had worked for the renowned Coro company. After the death of Jan M. Ouhrabka in 1979, the company went through a renewal and change of ownership. The PC jewelry trademark, registered in 1979, ceased to exist in 1993.
A distinctive feature of PC jewelry is the use of two tones of polished metal, most often gold and silver. The design of bracelets, clips and brooches traditionally includes clean lines, hearts, leaves, butterflies and a Maltese crosses.
Noteworthy, some mistakenly attribute their PC-marked jewelry to Pierre Cardin, or Paula & Chlo. Indeed, the style of the PC marking is very similar to the logo of two fashion brands – the American Paula & Chlo and the Italian fashion brand Pauri & Casati. However, Paula & Chlo (founded in 2012) and Pauri & Casati (2017) were not engaged in the production of costume jewelry.