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Costume Jewelry Designers & Company Information

Information on costume jewelry designers and marks used on their respective costume jewelry designs alphabetized I through Q.

Costume Jewelry Designers:   spacer

A - H

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I - Q

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R - Z

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      J.J.  -   J.J. is the registered trademark of Jonette Jewelry Co. of East Providence, R.I. The company was founded about 1935 by Abraham Lisker as Providence Jewelry Co. and later changed names to Lisker & Lisker Inc. when Abraham's brother Nathan joined the company. The firm discontinued operations during WWII. After the war, Lisker restarted the company renaming the firm Johnette Jewelry Co. J.J. costume jewelry consists primarily of figural and novelty pins. Christmas pins are another J.J. specialty. J.J. jewelry is marked J.J. with a copyright symbol preceding the initials.

      Jomaz - Jomaz/Mazer: Founded in 1927 in New York, the company went out of business in the late 1970s. Mazer jewelry is very high quality. Andre Fleuridas designed much early 1950s jewelry and in the 1970s, Adolfo even designed some pieces for the company. Early jewelry is marked "Mazer Bros." Later pieces are marked MAZER or JOMAZ.

      Kirk, Alexis - Alexis Kirk is a well-known contemporary designer of jewelry and women's accessories utilizing high-end composition and craftsmanship incorporating the highest quality materials. Highly collectible. Click for Alexis Kirk vintage costume jewelry examples.

      Kramer - Kramer or Kramer of New York was founded in 1943 and ceased operation around 1980. They produced both high and low end jewelry (that identified by a hang tag). The jewelry was produced using top quality rhinestones. Early Kramer jewelry is sought after by many collectors. Marks used are Kramer of NY, Kramer of NY City (1950's), Kramer on an applied oval plaque, and just Kramer. The company also produced a line of jewelry for Christian Dior during the 1950's. These pieces were marked with both company names.

      Krementz - Krementz and Company was founded in 1866. They originally manufactured mens jewelry, mainly collar buttons and cuff buttons and later tie clasps and cufflinks. The Krementz and Lester families each owned 50% of Krementz and Co. In 1936 the company split into two separate parts, with each family specializing. Lester & Co. took over manufacturing fine gold jewelry and Krementz & Co. made 10 karat and 14 karat gold jewelry their specialty. From the 1930's on Krementz became known for its gold overlay process which no other company was able to master as they did. In the 1930's when collar buttons were no longer in demand, they started making women's jewelry which did not become popular until the 1950's. Their 10 karat line which sold mainly in department stores is labeled "Diana." Their workmanship, design, and detailing are excellent. ( 5 )

      Lane, Kenneth J. - Kenneth J. Lane. 1963 to present. Started his company in 1963. Signed his jewelry with his K.J.L. logo for the first 10 years of production. His big, bold designs, attention to detail and the use of fine stones that he personally developed with his supplier in Germany were no doubt instrumental in his success. The Duchess of Windsor started wearing his jewels in the 1960's. He would often design specific items for her which he would later include in his collections with several variations. His jewelry was worn by such famous women as Gloria Swanson, Jackie Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Nancy Reagan, some member sof the British Royal Family and Barbara Bush. For examples of his wonderful work, click here.( 8 )

      Lang - Lang Jewerly Company, Providence RI. April 1946. The STERLING hallmark is characterized by the letter 'S' denoted by a swan with a crown on its head. ( 1 )

      Ledo - LEDO is the name given to Leading Jewelry Company in 1949, originally founded in 1911 by Ralph Polcini. The company produced hand-set rhinestone jewelry often in deco designs, resembling genuine jewelry in style, design and quality. After Ralph Polcini death, the company was inherited by his son who later renamed the company Polcini in the 1960's. ( 6 )

      Les Bernard -

      Lisner - D. Lisner and Company was founded in NYC in the early 1900's. The mark in block letters was first used in 1959. Much of their jewelry was produced in the 1950s. The Richelieu line of jewelry is some of their best and much of their jewelry is similar to average CORO. Some Lisner jewelry is of higher quality - using superior aurora borealis stones and others have colorful pastic/lucite cabochons adorned with rhinestones. About the late 1970's they were listed as Lisner-Richelieu Corporation - however - the current Richelieu Corporation does not include the Lisner name.

      Mazer - Also see Jomaz . Mazer Brothers was founded by Joseph Mazer and his brother Louis about 1927 in New York. One of the Mazer Bros. best known designers was the talented Marcel Boucher who left to open his own company in the mid 1930s. In 1946 Joseph Mazer left Mazer Bros. to form Joseph J. Mazer and Co. (better known as JOMAZ), while Louis Mazer stayed with Mazer Bros. until 1951, the year of his last jewelry collection.
      Mazer Bros. was known for its innovative stance, exploring new design and production methods and continually experimenting with different techniques for creating metal alloys or for use in the refinishing processes. The stones used in their jewelry were frequently made to order by Swarovski in Austria. ( 7 ) p. 216.
      The company went out of business in the late 1970s. Mazer manufactured high quality jewelry which sold at middle price range and is avidly sought in the collectible market today.
      The early 1950s jewelry was designed by Andre Fleuridas, and Adolfo designed some of the 1970s pieces for the company. The earlier jewelry is marked Mazer Bros., while the later pieces are marked Mazer or Jomaz.

      Napier - Napier company was named after its president, James H. Napier, who led the company from 1920 to 1960. But the company's history can be tracked back to 1875 when it was founded as Whitney and Rice in Attleboro, Mass., manufacturing silver products. The firm changed hands and name in 1882 and became Carpenter and Bliss and shortly thereafter, E.A. Bliss and Co., Inc. After rapid expansion in the late 1880s the company moved to Meriden, CT in 1890. After WWI, the firm shifted emphasis from silver products to production of modern jewelry. James Napier became president in 1920 and the company adopted the name Napier - Bliss Co. In 1922, the name was changed to Napier Company. Napier is still in business today and a major producer of costume jewelry. Most, but not all, Napier jewelry is simple, lacking fancy ornamentation and embellished glitter of other costume jewelry. The designs are modern and simple in basic geometric forms and foral motifs. Some of the metalwork has a sculpture look somewhat resembling Mexican and Scandinavian silverwork. Today Napier jewelry is mass produced in large quantities and marketed though major department stores. The company used several trademarks, but they all include the name Napier. See "American Costume Jewelry" by Fred Rezazadeh, p. 119. For a wonderful example of an Egyptian revival necklace by Napier, click here .

      ORA - [The following information on the company's history was so graciously provided to me by the daughter of Ralph Singer. Many thanks!] Oreste Agnini Co. began in 1921 - soon to be joined by Ralph Singer - nee Raffaele Cantaluppi which roughly translates into Rafael/Ralph Wolfesinger. Mr. Agnini came from Naples, Italy and my father, Ralph Singer, from Lombardy - north Italy. The Company was, of course, called Agnini & Singer. They manufactured beautiful and very fine quality costume jewelry. The name "Ora" is a combination of "Oreste" and "Ralph." My father learned the trade from a man he referred to as "The old Tree-far-ee" (Trifari) - accent on the "Tree" when he worked there. (Before that he worked as a diamond setter.) "Ora" in Italian means "Hour" and we advertised as "Ora - Jewels of the Hour" - as well as "Ora Creations" and "Ora Originals." The Company did, indeed, make jewelry for the Eisenberg line of clothing - pins/brooches and buttons (before my time).Until Eisenberg went into business for themselves, and concentrated on making jewelry, not clothing. You say "early ORA was often unsigned" - early ORA was always unsigned. The tradename was not acquired until the late 40's (some say 1950). Therefore, the pieces actually signed "Ora" are comparatively recent - the older pieces date back to the 20's, 30's and 40's. (My favorites). Art Deco jewelry was a large part of our line. (I worked there as a young girl/woman - I was born in 1936.) We only used Swarovski stones. Much of the line (but not all) was Rhodium plated (a heavy plate - not the "flash" of some pieces from other manufacturers). When my brother-in-law came to work for the Company around 1949 he encouraged the manufacture of "emblematic jewelry" and we made pieces for Shriners, Masons, Lions, etc. and many individual companies who wanted, for instance, commemorative pins, earrings, cufflinks etc. - These emblematic pieces were in addition to the fashion pieces that had been our mainstay. We sold to department stores such as Marshall Field & Co. (our Company was in Chicago) and other stores - not just in Chicago. We had salesmen in New York and St. Louis and showrooms in New York, San Francisco and Chicago. Mr. Agnini retired in 1953 - my father bought out his half and the Company became "The Ralph Singer Company" - still retaining the "Ora" tradename. When my father died in 1963 my mother took my brother-in-law in as partner - he eventually bought out my mother's half. Still keeping the name "The Ralph Singer Company" name. When my brother-in-law retired in the '80's he sold the company to Stanford Smith who continued on until he died in 1992, passing the ownership on to his son, Stan II.
      ORA jewelry is still being produced today by the Ralph Singer Jewelry company in Chicago, IL. They maintain the only license for ORA jewelry and produce a fashion line and fraternal jewelry as well. All jewelry is stamped ORA. You can visit their web site at RalphSingerJewelry.com.

      Pakula - Pakula & Co., Chicago, IL, mark first used in 1932 ( 1 ).

      Panetta - Panetta was started in November of 1945, by Beneditto Panetta, originally a "platinum jeweler" from Naples, Italy. When he came to the United States, he continued to work as a platinum jeweler in New York City. His two sons, Amadeo and Armand, were born in New York and were always involved with jewelry. After the war they started their own company. Their statement of work was "It had to look real or out it went!" ( 4 ).
      Panetta is a very respected mark. Panetta was never cheap new. "If it didn't look 'real', it went back to the drawing board." ( 3 ) Panetta prided itself on copying the "fine" look with utmost detail. Panetta jewelry is not as plentiful in the secondary market because of limited production runs and high initial prices. The company was sold in the late '80s to one of their best customers in Japan and closed in 1995.

      Pell - The Pell Jewelry Company was founded in 1941 by the four Gaita brothers, Anthony, William, Joseph, and Alfred. The company specializes in pave rhinestone broaches, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and tiaras. The Pell Jewelry Company has a rich history of established working relationships with many companies such as Disney, the Miss America Organization, and Coro. Products of the company have been featured on the QVC.

      Pennino - Pennino Brothers was founded in the late 1920s and continued until around 1961. Pennino made use of top quality stones mounted in sterling silver or heavy gold plate. Pennino jewelry is highly collectible and scarce and commands high prices. The jewelry is marked "PENNINO" in script or sometimes with a Pat. Pen. mark. It is possible that not all jewelry was marked.

      Polcini - In 1911, Ralph Polcini, a goldsmith founded the company. After his death the children took over renaming the company Polcini. Polcini companies produced very good quality hand set jewelry. There designs were traditional and conservative. Range of pieces with reconstituted opal was very highly successful. So, here you are, a very elegant exquisite brooch done in goldtone with 8 rows of clear rhinestones. Large stone is green, feels like glass. You can find this brooch in The Best of Costume Jewelry by Nancy Schiffer page 101. In 1996 this piece booked for 300.00 - to- 400.00.

1

Collecting Rhinestone and Colored Jewelry, 4th Edition,  Maryanne Dolan, ISBN 0-87341-649-X, December 1998, Krause Publications

2

Masterpieces of Costume Jewelry (with Value Guide),  Joanne Dubbs Ball, Dorothy  Hehl Torem, ISBN 0-88740-900-8, March 1997,  Published by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

3

A Collector's Guide to Costume Jewelry. Key Styles and How to Recognize Them,  Tracy  Tolkien and Henrietta Wilkinson, ISBN 1-55209-156-2, First Published in Canada in 1997,  Published by Firefly Books, Ltd.

4

Costume Jewelry Identification and Price Guide (Confident Collector),  Harrice Simons Miller, ISBN 0-38077-078-4, Published January 1994, Published by Avon Books

5

American Jewelry Manufacturers,  Dorothy T. Rainwater, ISBN 0-88740-120-1, Published March 1997, Published by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

6

Collectible Costume Jewelry: Identification & Values,  Cherri Simonds, ISBN 0-89145-762-3, Published November 1997, Published by Collector Books

7

Jewels of Fantasy: Costume Jewelry of the 20th Century,  Deanna Cera, Melissa Gabardi, ISBN 0-81093-178-8, Published August 1992, Published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

8

Twentieth Century Costume Jewerly,  Angie Gordon, ISBN 962-7517-02-X, Published 1990, Published by Adasia International


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