Initially known as the ‘Monocraft Products Company’, which manufactured gold- and silver-plated monogram plaques for women’s handbags, the company’s name was changed to Monet in 1937, began to focus on costume jewellery and became one of the top brands in USA.
In1980s, Monet was licensed to manufacture and sell the costume jewellery of Yves Saint Laurent, in the United States. Following the success with YSL in the 1990s, Monet began manufacturing for Christian Lacroix.
Today, vintage Monet jewellery is still popular and particularly prized by collectors for its ever lasting quality due to the triple-plating technique.
Christian Dior -founded in 1947 Paris- is one of the elite fashion houses to bring costume jewellery to the mainstream.
“As a rule I would use jewellery generously to get the most out of it. A many stoned necklace of rhinestones for instance, will look lovely with a décolleté frock for evening. It will go equally with a fine black knitted sweater for afternoons,” – Christian Dior.
Dior differed from many designers with his use of jewellery. He believed that jewellery was as much a part of fashion as clothing was. The jewellery for each look was designed in detail to complement his clothing collections.
By 1948, Dior opened a fashion house called “Dior Costume Jewelry” in Germany. Dior jewellery was inspired by nature; many designs since the late ’40s featured depictions of animals and floral motifs. Dior himself spent much of his time in the French countryside, and the scenery clearly influenced much of his work, including jewellery.
Christian Dior commissioned only the finest designers and companies to make high-quality costume jewelry for his fashion collections. In the US he hired designers such as Schreiner and Kramer; in England, Mitchel Maer; in Germany, Henkel & Grosse; and in France, Robert Goossens and Josette Gripoix.
In 1891, Daniel Swarovski, who has initially started with jewellery company supplying Queen Victoria, registered a patent for a machine that could cut crystal to perfection. Then in 1895, he founded the Swarovski company with his partners in Wattens, Austria.
After WW II, in the 1950s, fashion became a huge trend. Famous designers such as Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli snapped up Swarovski crystal designs. In 1956, Daniel Swarovski collaborated with Christian Dior to create the famous Aurora Borealis (AB) effect.
Crystals made an appearance on the silver screen as well. Marilyn Monroe wore crystal in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and her famous birthday song to John F Kennedy. Swarovski Crystals have shown up also in “Sabrina” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
In 1989, Swarovski replaced its original Edelweiss logo with the iconic Swan logo.
Today, Swarovski, still a 100% family-owned company, continues to partner with fashion designers and architects to innovate and create new designs pushing the capabilities of crystal design.
Avon’s roots as a perfume company go back to the end of the 19th century founded in New York City.
Kenneth J. Lane
Kenneth Jay Lane lauched his business in 1963 after five years experience as a shoe designer in New York branch of Christian Dior.
For almost 60 years, he has been one of the world’s outstanding fashion jewelers with his exceptional, imaginative skills. He has been an innovator, creating ‘Fabulous Fakes’!
He first came to public eye with the interest of Duchess of Windsor for his pieces. Fashion icons such as Jackie Onassis Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, and First Lady Barbara Bush chose to wear “Kennys”. His legacy has continued with his name. Today you can see the likes of Rhianna, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Miley Cyrus, and Katie Perry dazzling in Lane’ Jewellery.
Sphinx jewellery is a collectible vintage British Jewellery brand started in the late 1940′s by S Root and based in Chiswick, London.
Founded by an Italian immigrant Gustavo Trifari in 1910, the Trifari Company has been one of the most respected producers of costume jewellery in the United States.
The history of the company began in 1955. Ben Gartner, the owner of the trading company “Circle Jewelry Products Company”, launched a line of exquisite jewellery under the brand name “Goldette N.Y.”
Goldette jewellery often has a Victorian revival, Art Deco and Art Nouveau influence in styling. Necklaces are usually found in multi-layered designs with two or more chains that fasten with a distinctive type of foldover clasp. Some pendants resemble antique watches or fobs with large glass stones, while others have watchchain-style clasps.
Traditionally, Goldette jewelers used jewellery alloys of silver and gold tones and alloy of beautiful antique color, known as Russian gold. Also, Austrian crystals of high quality, art glass, rhinestones, and cabochons. While not overly complex or artistic in design, their jewellery is generally well made with quality plating and stone embellishments.
Some sources suggest that the company ceased operation in 1977.
Jonette Jewellery Company – JJ
Run by Abraham Lisker, the company “Jonette Jewelry” started its activities in 1935 under the name Providence Jewelry Company. Then it became “Lisker & Lisker,” and finally Lisker brothers renamed the company, and “Jonette Jewelry Co” was established in 1944. Since 1970, the company became known as JJ.
The company mainly engaged in the production of shaped brooches of original designs. While other jewelers imitated antique jewellery, JJ focused on producing brooches and pins in the form of various fun figures.
JJ is known for its novelty jewelry, including figures and animal designs and its Christmas-themed jewellery. In the 1980s, JJ produced two specialty lines: “Artifacts,” a line of novelty pins, and “Santa Fe,” a line of American western jewelry.
Butler & Wilson
Led by design visionary and founder Simon Wilson, the company started in 1969 in the Antiquarius market, Chelsea, selling antique jewellery. Now over 50 years, Butler and Wilson has come to define glamorous crystal costume jewellery for generations.
Still located at the flagship Fulham Road boutique, the first shop opened in 1972, Butler and Wilson have always transcended fashion trends to stay true to their whimsical yet decadent vision while remaining at the apex of any cultural zeitgeist.
From the signature billboard campaigns fronted by famous film faces including Catherine Deneuve and Faye Dunaway, the crystal jewellery as a defining look for screen characters such as 80’s TV hit Dynasty, collaborating with runway designers Giorgio Armani to a limited edition collection to celebrate the opening of Buckingham Palace to the public – the many memorable moments of Butler and Wilson are charted in two book editions,
Today their reinvented and re-imagined signature designs keep attracting a new generation of Butler and Wilson woman, including Beyoncé to Rita Ora and even the Duchess of Cambridge.
Founded in New York in 1943 by Louis Kramer- later joined with his brothers-, Kramer Jewellery Creations produced artistic and intricate pieces of jewellery out of gilt metal, glass, rhinestones, and enamel.
Kramer designed most exuberant parures and appeared to favor flowers, particularly organic-looking floral designs made with gilt petals and leaves or colored enamel. Some of these flower brooches had sparkling rhinestones set in “trembling” centers.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Kramer produced some stunning costume jewellery for Christian Dior.
Kramer’s beautifully ornate Dior pieces, with their sparkling Swarovski aurora borealis, baroque faux pearls, and petal-shaped pastes built upon the firm’s obsession with craftsmanship and organic, romantic type design, achieving a high level of sophistication and elegance in the process. However, although beneficial, the collaboration with Dior was not enough to keep Kramer from closing its doors in the 1970s.