After a day browsing online and real life auctions in Europe, I always learn such a great deal and I thought it would be a great way to share my experiences via this blog. Of course my main subject is jewelry; signed and non-signed pieces from 1940-‘50-‘60.
I came across this very educational clipping of the 1940s or 1950s. Under the slogan ”Lets pin Coro down”, Coro gave multiple options to pin a brooch. Coro (Cohen & Rosenberger) was one of the largest American manufacturers of Costume Jewelry. The started in 1901 in Rhode Island and by 1946 they employed 8000 workers, they closed their doors in the 1990s. They became famous for their ”Duette” clips or double clips and one of their taglines was: ”America’s best dressed women wear Coro jewelry”. Look at the bottom of the clipping and see the brooch and compare it with my Belgium brooch. Now you know where to pin this Belgium beauty in 18K gold, diamonds and platinum. A Thank you for this inspirational clipping goes out to Viola from nasvete.com
Brooches are on a comeback tour. Especially vintage and retro brooches from the 1930s to the 1960s made in gold, platinum, diamonds and colored stones. They are often beautifully hand crafted, precious and very stylish. But instead of the obvious lapel or corner of a jacket, why not pin them on an unusual place? Brooches are far more versatile than you think. You can pin them in your hair. Use brooches as hair ornaments and fixate them with simple hairpins. You can stick them in a braid, a knot or a chignon. All ages can wear brooches in their hair, for a sweet 16 party, a prom, a wedding, a promotion or a gala. It’s chic, you will stand out from the crowd and you give a brooch a new life.
Mauboussin clip in white gold and diamonds from 1950s
Boucheron brooch / clip in gold and sapphires
Double brooch / clip in gold, diamonds, sapphires and rubies
French rose brooch / clip in gold and diamonds from the 1950s
Meet me at Rotterdam Art Fair
30th of March – 2nd of April
John Rubel ballerina demi-parure from the 1940s
“John Rubel’s jewels have always danced. My wish today is that they resume their ballet of shapes and colors“, says Sophie Mizrahi-Rubel, granddaughter and president of John Rubel Paris.
The Franco-American company which was founded by the two Hungarian Rubel brothers had from 1943 to 1947 a New York branch. It was in a famous nightclub that John Rubel scribbled the design for the ballerina brooch on a napkin. He gave the serviette to Maurice Duvallet to work out the design. Duvallet worked also for Van Cleef & Arpels and VCA took one of the ballerina’s in production. It was Van Cleef & Arpels who made the ballerina brooches famous, but the father of the ballerina was unmistakably John Rubel. The brooch is part of a demi-parure with a pair of earrings set in 18K gold and sapphires.
Toi & Moi or You & Me ring
Who can say my wife (girlfriend) or my husband (boyfriend) is my best friend is very rich and blessed in life. A French Toi & Moi ring represents this idea: 2 stones or 2 pearls representing 2 souls intertwined until death do us part. Although these types of rings were already made in the beginning of the 18th century (see also Le bijou de sentiment, an exhibition organised by Chaumet in 2008), I believe it was Napoleon who made this type of ring popular. The to be French emperor offered his future empress Josephine a toi et moi engagement ring in 1795. The ring was made of a diamond and sapphire pear and was sold in 2013 at auction for a million euros. Although not worn by an empress I offer a beautiful and moderate priced toi & moi ring from the 1950s. The 2 diamonds are set in a platinum eternity sign. This ring might just be the perfect gift for your Valentine.
“Sous le marteau” came one of Van Cleef & Arpels most iconic necklace. The Zip necklace. It saw the light in 1951 after many years of innovation. It was the Duchess of Windsor who came with the idea to design a piece of zipper jewelry. The Zip necklace has a small device that is used to zip and unzip the necklace. Open it was worn as a necklace and closed as a bracelet. According to the auction house Leclere a few rubies were replaced by diamonds and the necklace needs to be revised. Although when I asked about it, the expert could still unzip the necklace. A truly beautiful piece of jewelry. VCA made several models in diamonds and in colored stones. Only a few came to auction in the last 60 years. Oh and the hammer price? 66.000,- euros.
Van Cleef & Arpels advertisement for snowflake brooches (1946)
Nice example of how to wear a set of vintage brooches, one little bigger than the other, like the snowflakes
set of 18K gold and diamond snowflake brooches
How to wear vintage jewelry like these snowflake brooches? In the 1940s brooches were worn together as a set. In a Paris auction, I bought this lovely set of 2 small snowflake brooches. One is a little bigger than the other. Snowflakes were extremely popular after the war. Van Cleef & Arpels introduced them in 1946. Here you can see 2 advertisements of how to wear them: The lady with the snowflake brooches on her hat is from VCA and the other lady with a set of diamond clovers are from the House of Trifari.
showers of sapphires in 18K gold retro brooch
I found these wonderful showers of sapphires in a Paris auction. It’s a beautiful French 18K gold retro brooch and a good example of 1940s escapism.
Escapism of the 1940s was an important motif in pre- and mid-war jewelry. Eye-catching jewelry was used to forget the doom and gloom of the war. Jewels were extravagant and extrovert, bold and bossy with voluptuous curves and plumed up into massive 3-dimensial designs. Jewelry was bursting with ribbons of yellow gold and showers of sapphires*. Indulge yourself with a beautiful pin and lift WWII escapism to modern hedonism. It is more contemporain than ever.
* quotes from “Antique and Twentieth century jewellery” by Vivienne Becker (chapter 22).