SA Samsan vintage costume jewelry
The history of Samsan Manufacturing Co. began in the late 1930s in Providence, Rhode Island. The founder of the company located at 158 Pine Street, Providence, was Pasquale Sammartino (1895-1986). Born on March 21, 1895 in Agnone, Provincia di Isernia, Molise, Italy, young Pasco emigrated to the jewelry capital of the United States. Together with his brother, they founded Sammartino Bros. Jewelry Mfg. in 1922. The company closed in 1931, unable to cope with the economic situation, like many jewelry companies during the Great Depression.
Some years later, Pasco decided to open the new firm, which had become the family business of his wife Jennie (Giovanna), their three sons and a daughter.
In August 1941, 50 people worked in his firm, according to the US Senate document “To Authorize the Use for War Purposes of Silver Held Or Owned by the United States” (1942). Also, his company was a Member of the New England Manufacturing Jewelers ‘and Silversmiths’ Association.
Pasco’s eldest son, Louis (Luigi) Pasco Sammartino (1925-2019) joined the family business after graduating from Mt. Pleasant High School in Providence in 1943. He worked there for many years as a designer, production and marketing manger, making the company successful. His younger brother Alfred also worked for the family company, and died the same year as Louis. In the late 1980s they stopped making jewelry and sold the company.
Initially, the company produced silver items with gold filling, and the marking of such items included the word Samsan and the purity of the gold, for example 1/20 12K GF. When the copyright mark appeared in the mid-1950s, the company changed the mark to SA in a square and the copyright mark in a different square. Also, there’s “SA” mark along with the copyright sign on a rectangular base, which many attribute to Samsan Co. In general, this is quite possible, over a long history, change of owners and designers.
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