NEW AND VINTAGE COSTUME JEWELRY DESIGNERS, MARKS,
MANUFACTURERS REFERENCE INFORMATION & HISTORY
Special thanks for these pages is given to Shirley Wiesmann who has compiled this data on company history and their designers from a wide variety of sources.

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P-R S-T U-Z Bibliography HOME

 

J.J. 1935 - Early 1940s and 1970s - Present

Abraham Lisker founded the Jonette Jewelry Company, East Providence, RI in 1935 producing J.J. costume jewelry. To name the company, he combined the names of his parents, John and Etta naming it Jonette. The company name was later changed to Lisker & Lisker Inc. when brother Nathan joined the firm. During World War II, the company ceased operations due to metal shortages and government restrictions. The company started production of jewelry again in the 1970s with Gordon Lisker indicating that the jewelry was being produced with some of its production being farmed out to other companies. It has been said that today, the company has a workforce of approximately 80 employees. The J.J. jewelry produced is primarily figural and novelty pins with some containing sterling silver metal base. Abraham Lisker indicated that the company moved in this direction during the early years because of its success in selling ballerina and mother-of-pearl figural pins. Another speciality of J.J. was designing and creating Christmas pins. J.J. Jewelry is of average to better than average quality. Mark: "J.J. with a copyright symbol" and "J.J. STERLING". The company is still in business today.

JAMES AVERY: 1954 - Present

James Avery was born in Milwaukee, raised in the Chicago area and was introduced to Texas Hill Country while in the U.S. Air Force. He pursued courses to jewelry making techniques while attending the University of Colorado. In 1954, Avery decided to go into business making jewelry with the thought that jewelry must be pleasant to wear as it is to see with jewelry designs that are functional as well as expressive.

In 1957, James Avery produced his first Christian Jewelry Catalog of 16 pages that featured 39 items, all hand-made. That same year, he hired Fred Garcia to assist with the designing, sawing, polishing, finishing and selling of his jewelry. The company in 1965 was known as James Avery Craftsman, Inc. located on acreage near Kerrville, TX.

The James Avery jewelry today consists of designs in Sterling Silver, 14K and 18K yellow and white gold and gemstones for both women and men with 1100 designs and 14,000 separate jewelry items in the active line. The company maintains its quality and responsiveness essential to a successful business by designing, manufacturing, marketing, and selling their own product line from its headquarters in Kerrville and 5 jewelry workshops located throughout Texas. A Denver, Colorado store opened in July of 2005 and has also incorporated art and furnishings from regional Colorado artisans. Sales are said to be $85 million. It employs more than 1,300 nationally and maintains fine detailing and sample design that is true to the original spirit of the company.

The James Avery classic and contemporary collections include the Hammered Sunburst, Oval Onyx Collection, La Prima Vera Cross, Sorrento Ring and Gentle Wave Cuff Bracelet. The product line includes high quality, unique designs in heavy gram weight, creating charms, charm bracelets, rings, crosses, earrings, key chains, necklaces, ornaments, pendants, and pins hand-crafted in metals of Sterling Silver, 14K and 18K yellow and white gold crafted with gemstones. Marks: “AVERY 14K”, AVERY Ster”, “AVERY Ster 14K”, “AVERY Sterling“, “JA Ster”, James Avery logo “3 candle candelabra flanked with the letter J on the bottom left and the letter A on the bottom right with Ster below with or without the copyright C”.

James Avery jewelry cannot be compared to other jewelry. His designs are said to be statements about the deepest meanings of life and family. James Avery and sons Chris and Paul Avery, President and Executive Vice-President of the company, are working to carry on the dream of their father with a set of values, and a commitment to doing all things well. The James Avery Craftsman, Inc. company is still in business in 2006 reaching and satisfying customers through retail stores, mail order and on the internet.

 

JAY FEINBERG: 1982 - 1988 (See JAY STRONGWATER: 1990 - Present)

JAY STRONGWATER: 1990 - Present

Jay Feinberg founded Jay Feinberg Fashion Jewelry, under his own name in 1982 in New York. He had started making jewelry while a sophomore at Rhode Island School of Design when he began designing a necklace for his mother Penny that led to raves from locals of Montvale, NJ and an order from a hometown boutique. By calling on department stores, he suddenly had orders for his jewelry from Saks, Henri Bendel and Bergdorf Goodman and found that his jewelry was displayed and draped on mannequins wearing Oscar de la Renta dresses with buyers soon calling him requesting his next jewelry collection. This was the beginning of the Jay Feinberg Fashion Jewelry establishment in 1982.

The 1980s were good years for jewelry and Feinberg’s jewelry often was seen on the New York runways and the pages of Vogue magazines. In 1988, a partnership developed with an investor to help the business grow, but it fell apart and in 1989, the business closed and the investor retained the rights to use the name of Jay Feinberg. In 1990 Jay Feinberg reopened his business changed the name to Jay Strongwater Fashion Jewelry after his mother’s maiden name.

Strongwater designed jewelry and accessory lines for Oscar de la Renta to highlight his clothing lines. Strongwater’s jewelry is instantly recognized by the swirled and layered enamel, the hand-placed clear and color Swarovski crystals and a lighthearted use of motifs. His work is said to be iconic. His jewelry of necklaces, bracelets, brooches, earrings and rings is hand-painted over metal (filigreed, pewter, antique brass, and silver plate, hand-enameled, hand-set in the U.S.A. with Swarovski crystals using old-world hand crafted techniques with the use of gemstones to include lapis lazuli and tiger eye. Outstanding jewelry designs taken from nature like leaves and flowers and/or animals to include butterflies, frogs, salamanders, and dragonflies embedded in metal of gold and silver. Mark: JAY FEINBERG” (1982 - 1988), “JAY STRONGWATER” (beginning in 1990 on tags and stickers), “JAY” (on earrings).

Today, in 2005, Jay Strongwater’s jewelry and accessory lines are sold at Sak’s Fifth Ave., Henri Bendel, Nieman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman department stores. Additional items now produced by the Strongwater Fashion Jewelry company include picture frames, decorative boxes, compacts, home accents, lipstick cases, vanity trays, bookmarks, figurines, key rings, mini frames, napkin rings, perfume bottles, pins, purse sprays, tabletops items, vanity jars/mirrors, vases, wine stoppers and candlesticks. His jewelry and accessories are of the highest quality in designs and workmanship and, therefore, sell for high end prices.
 

JEANNE: 1919 - Possible 1970s

Mark Dottenheim of New York City started making faux pearl jewelry in 1919. Little is know of the company. The jewelry brooches produced were whimsical and figural using faux emeralds, sapphires, rubies, and pearl stones, simulated glass crystals and rhinestones that were bezel set in textured gold metal that looked like it was being lightly hand hammered, then florentined or imparting a dull luster and then lightly antiqued. Quality of jewelry found is above average and not commonly seen. Some brooches found recently include an whimsical plump dark metal owl, a sunburst lions head in the center with textured gold metal plating, a star type with a huge faux emerald faceted in the center of the gold metal base, a toadstool or mushroom that is fat and bulky embedded with faux stones, a gold plated rooster embedded with faux stones, a gold plated bird basket with eggs of faux pearls, and a gold plated butterfly with rhinestones embedded in the metal. Mark: “JEANNE” for the faux pearl jewelry beginning in 1919 and “JEANNE with a C in a circle for copyright”. Through the years, some of Dottenheim’s jewelry was also marked: “DAWN GLOW“ and “SUPERBA”.

JENNA NICOLE CRYSTAL: 1979 - Present  (See VINTAGE CREATIONS)

JEWEL CREATIONS, INC., THE ATLANTA GEM LAB: 1977 - 2008


Kathryn or Kathy Kinev, designed and made jewelry for friends starting in
1977. She started Jewel Creations, Inc. while attending Georgia State
University in Atlanta establishing a shop in the Buckhead area of Atlanta in
1985. In 1984, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Jewelry Design
and Silversmithing and in 1987, received her status as a Gemologist. Her
first real job in jewelry was designing 18K gold pieces for various
designers.

Kathryn Kinev does all her own jewelry designs. She also alloyed her own
metals, drew her own gold wire and weaved her own mesh along with
appraising, identifying, repairing and restoration of jewelry per request.
Her jewelry pieces were hand-crafted and custom designed encompassing rings
(diamond, wedding, engagement, anniversary), earrings, necklaces, bracelets
and pendants using base metals of 14K, 18K and 22K gold and platinum with
precious gemstones to include aquamarine, amethyst, opal, sapphire and
diamonds along with simulated colored gemstones or red, orange, yellow,
green, blue indigo and violet. Kathryn is a rare jeweler in respect to the
uses of granulation, an ancient and time-consuming technique of applying
tiny spheres of gold to a surface of metal.

Kathryn Kinev is listed as owner of Jewel Creations, Inc., and is still
making custom jewelry and selling it online in 2008. She is also listed as
an Appraiser on Atlanta Gem Lab, that is a full gem lab appraising and
identifying diamonds, gemstones and jewelry. Kathryn Kinev, works out of her
studio and has been in the jewelry industry for 25 years and independently
done Jewelry Appraisal since 1985. Her jewelry is trademarked: "Kinev" in
script, with an oval containing a "KK". Her internet site is, Jewel
Creations, Inc. and on Atlanta Gem Lab, her name appears as an Appraiser.
Kathy Kinev lists the making of rings, earrings, bracelets, pendants and
more pieces of jewelry designed just for you. The company is located in
Atlanta, GA providing appraisals, identifications, repairs, and restorations
of jewelry. Phone listed for Kathy Kinev is 404-634-8355 with email address:
kkinev(at)jewelcreations.com


JOHN HARDY: 1975 - Present

John Hardy, a jewelry designed, was born in Canada and settled in Bali in 1975 thereby being introduced to its culture of art and handicraft, He worked with local artisans and later his wife Cynthia, designing his version of modern jewelry of luxury using multiple leathers, base metals of sterling silver, 18K and 22K gold, and some rhodium embedded with gemstones of amethyst, garnet, citrine, topaz, sapphire, turquoise etc. colorful ceramic polymers (synthetic substances), diamonds, and cultured fresh water pearls.The John Hardy jewelry is hand-made using traditional techniques inspired by Balinese life that is said to feel good to wear and improves with age. The jewelry designed and produced for men include watches, rings, necklaces, bracelets, cufflinks, and Tuxedo Sets. For women, watches, rings, necklaces, charm bracelets, bracelets, earrings and pendants. Designs for Kids are also produced.

John Hardy has 600 employees that includes an international management team fro Europe, America, Australia and Asia with the bulk of his employees being Indonesian craftsmen who create his designs by hand. The workshop and design center is located away in the rice-farming hills of central Bali. Often a single artisan works on a piece from start finish. Because the jewelry is hand-made, it is distinguished not only by its high quality but also by its design stories with collections inspired from such diverse sources as the garden (Kali, Ayu) and the Architecture of Rajasthan (Jaisalmer, Batu, and Sari), the tribal art of Borneo (Dayak) and from ancient Asian jewelry techniques (Dot, Chain, Palu). The inner surfaces of the John Hardy jewelry have a complex inner grillwork, like a secret story that is worn next to the skin.

The John Hardy jewelry is said to be extravagant and luxuriously high end of fine jewelry with from hundreds to many thousand dollars in price range. A watch had been listed for $19,000. Mark: Stamped with the logo “JH”, “JH 925”, “JH 18K”, and “JH 22K”. The jewelry is sold at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Ave. stores and internet sites, and on the John Hardy internet site where one can order a catalog of their jewelry. Ebay has also been listing some of the John Hardy jewelry. The company is still in business today in 2006.

JOMAZ AND MAZER (SEE MAZER)

JOSEFF OF HOLLYWOOD: 1935 - Present

Eugene Joseff began his jewelry design career with Sunset Jewelry Shop or Company. He founded Joseff of Hollywood, Inc. CA around 1935 producing fabulous jewelry originals that were rented or leased (with the jewelry belonging to Joseff) to the movie industry. He was labeled: "Jeweler For The Silver Screen". His beautiful stones came from Austria and Czechoslovakia. Other materials used in jewelry by Joseff included wood, glass, plastic, tin, platinum, special antique gold and silver metals and other precious metals and gemstones. The jewelry was hand-set and hand soldered and had to fit the time periods of the movies produced. In 1938, Joseff began producing pieces of jewelry, copied from the originals rented to the movie studios, for retail sales that was being sold in the finer department stores and boutiques. His product lines included flowers, frogs, owls, bees, beaded men, and bows, that had fantastic details. Mark: "Joseff Hollywood" and "Joseff" in script in 1938 to present. Eugene Joseff and his wife died in a plane crash 1948 and his 2nd wife Joan Castle Joseff continues to design and produce jewelry lines up to the present time. Some old molds and stampings were again used in the 1990s.

JOSEPH ESPOSITO JEWELRY: 1910 - Present

In 1910, Guisepppi Esposito, an Italian jewelry designer, founded Esposito Jewelry. The jewelry company’s motive was directed toward the principles of superior craftsmanship, innovative design, hard work, and the personal touch using sterling silver as the base metal. In the early years, the Esposito jewelry specialized in precious metal engagement and wedding rings and later added new raw materials and designs to market high fashion rings, necklaces, bracelets, earring, and enhancers.

In 1911, the Esposito family moved the company from Italy to Rhode Island, USA. Today, the company employs 250 people with a 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility. The company is today, under the leadership of Joseph Esposito, Guiseppi Esposito’s great grandson, who oversees the design process of all the collections, and, under his leadership, is still offering the same principals of superior craftsmanship, quality and design handed down to him by his great grandfather that today, the industry demands and is found in the finest collections of Fashion Jewelry and Sterling Silver .

It is said that Joseph Esposito is now creating timeless jewelry pieces with a polished sterling silver or 14k gold metal base, bezel set, faceted gemstones of turquoise, rhodocrosite (a member of the carbonate class and an ore of manganese, pink in color), black onyx, white topaz and also including cultured fresh water pearls, and mother-of-pearl shells. His jewelry is styled with an emphasis on fashion and trends; the jewelry is made in the USA. Pieces are displayed in style magazines and worn on fashion runways.

The Esposito Sterling Signatures Collection line of jewelry is sold exclusively on the internet QVC.com, and on the QVC TV Network containing outstanding jewelry quality, at affordable prices, with a great deal of detail in the design, and a forward look that is expected of a company with 4 generations of design experience behind it. Esposito jewelry.com, on the internet, offers Sterling Silver, 14k Gold, Sterling Silver and 14k and Brilliant CZ Designs collections on their site along with an online catalog of their unique collections.

JUDITH JACK: 1969 - Present

Judith and her husband Jack Rosenberg created the company Judith Jack in 1969 producing jewelry with marcasite pieces, faux pearls, and sunray crystals hand set in sterling silver and hand polished. Some designs manufactured are replicas of antique styles with sterling silver base metal. Marcasite, when cut with a flat bottom and many facets, shines like a small diamond. Her "Reflection" line of costume jewelry is sold on QVC, the Television shopping network and other jewelry is sold at finest department store to include Nordstrom, Marshall Fields, Von Maur, Lord & Taylor, and Bloomingdale’s nationwide, women’s speciality stores and jewelry stores in the U.S. and internationally. Judith has been named the queen of marcasite in the U.S. Her jewelry lines include earrings, pins, pendants, rings, charms and bracelets in Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and retro styles. Some of the jewelry made is limited in quantity and prices are quite high. Mark: "double JJ in a triangle". New Collections for 2004 include: Sunset Pearl, Summer Rain, Right-Hand Rings, Gardener’s Delight, Peek-a-Boo, Charms, Anklets and Primavera Bridal. She has also branched out to produce jeweled belt buckles and handbags.

JUDY LEE: 1959 - Unknown

The Blanch-Ette Company, Chicago founded in the late 1950s produced Judy Lee costume jewelry. It produced jewelry of rhinestones, simulated stones and pearls stamped in silver toned metal. The company employed marketing and distribution methods similar to Emmons, Sara Coventry and Avon and the jewelry was sold through house parties. It was of average quality, not very common on the market, but had interesting traditional designs set with high quality clear and colored rhinestones. Judy Lee jewelry can be still purchased today at an average price. It is not highly collectible. Mark: "Judy-Lee", and "Judy-Lee Jewels".

JULIANA / DE LIZZA & ELSTER: 1947 - Late 1990s (Old Juliana Designs Are Being Recreated Today))

Designer William De Lizza and Harold Elster founded the De Lizza & Elster Company (D & E) about 1947 with William’s sons, Frank and Anthony joining around 1948. In the beginning, the company made buckles, buttons and jewelry that were hand-set and prong-set with beautiful rhinestones, simulated stones and pearls in metal plating of gold and silver. The company became a major costume jewelry manufacturer, and by 1953, produced their own costume jewelry, unmarked, with multi-color and multi-layer lines labeled Juliana. In 1967, the company marked the pieces with a hand tag "Juliana". But the name tag was only used by the company for 2 years, otherwise the jewelry was not marked.
The D & E Company made jewelry for other companies including Weiss, Alice Caviness, Celebrity, Hobe, Hattie Carnegie, Kenneth J. Lane, Karu, and Kramer. Harold Elster died in 1964. The De Lizza & Elster Company closed in the late 1990s but it has been said that Frank De Lizza, William De Lizza’s son, and original creator of the Juliana line of jewelry, is currently producing copies of a few of his old designs through a contractor in Brooklyn, NY. Frank De Lizza has helped collectors and dealers to determine and identify the Juliana line and the D & E pieces. He has indicated that he prefers the jewelry to be known as De Lizza & Elster but Juliana is still the familiar name to collectors and dealers.

KARL LAGERFELD: 1953 - Present

Karl Lagerfeld was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1933 to a wealthy family and moved to Paris, France in 1953 to study fashion design. In 1954, his coat design won “The Wool Secretariat” title with Lagerfeld, that year, being hired by the house of Pierre Balmain ( a king of French fashion) ending his term with them in 1957. In 1958, he became chief designer for the house of Jean Palou and also briefly designed freelance to several Paris companies before becoming a designer for Chloe (1959-1982) at the same time designing delicate furs and other fashion accessories for the Fendi of Italy Collection of clothing and apparel, handbags, wallets, luggage, shoes and sunglasses with these items being sold in Fendi Boutiques, Saks Fifth Ave., and Neiman Marcus stores. In 1975, Lagerfeld started his own company labeled “Parfums Lagerfeld” and in 1984, he started designing his own lines of fashion items and accessories.

In 1983, he became the head designer and artistic director for the house of Chanel where he revitalized the “Chanel” label, and independently, at the same time in 1984, he started designing his own lines of fashion items including jewelry under the Karl Lagerfeld name: “KL” engraved in script, and some with a fan design embedded on the back of earrings, or “Karl Lagerfeld, Paris” (a gold-tone metal tag can appear on jewelry) and the relief of a head logo can also appear on jewelry pieces. In years past and in the 1980s and 1990s, in Paris, Lagerfeld designed high end necklaces, chains, bracelets, pins/brooches, and earrings to complement his clothing fashions produced that consists of embedded pearls and semi-precious stones in base metals of gold-tone, silver-tone, sterling silver (925) and vermeil.

Lagerfeld’s authentic pieces of vintage jewelry, made in Paris in earlier years is appearing on the scene today along with new items being produced. Victoire de Castellane is Karl Lagerfeld’s assistant for jewelry at the Chanel fashion house. She came to her job through her uncle Gilles Dufour, who is Lagerfeld’s right hand man at Chanel and who previously worked for Fendi, the Italian fashion house.

Karl Lagerfeld is one of the most recognized designers in the world due to his ponytail, white hair, and dark sunglasses. Today, Lagerfeld’s name appears on many of his own ready-to-wear garments of Chanel with his trademark: the KL and Karl Lagerfeld couture. He is a leader in new or unconventional movements in jewelry design. He is still working for Chanel and his association with Chloe ended in 1997 when their designs were taken over by ex-Beatle Paul’s daughter, Stella McCartney. Today, Lagerfeld designs for 3 companies: his own, Chanel, and furs by Fendi of Italy.

Internet sites for Karl Lagerfeld include:

Vintage Designer Clothing - Featured Designer - Karl Lagerfeld

The Fashion Digest - Karl Lagerfeld - The Fashion Maestro

Karl Lagerfeld Biography and profiles of fashion designers

At Chanel, An Assistant is Inspiration - New York Times

Collectible and Antique Jewelry, Earrings on CYBERATTIC
 

KARU: 1940 - ?

Karu jewelry was founded by Kaufman and Ruderman Inc. NY in 1940 producing costume jewelry with goldtone metal, iridescent crystals and aurora borealis rhinestones. Famed comedian Andy Kaufman was the founder’s son. Mark: "Karu" in script, from 1940 and "Karu Arke" in script from 1954.

KENNETH J. LANE 1963 - Present

Kenneth J. Lane started his own company in 1963. His jewelry is big and bold, had originality and quality and exquisite design with dramatic and superior workmanship. The jewelry is high quality with lines produced taken from mythology and zodiac, periods of Ancient, Medieval and Art Deco. Jewelry produced include figurals, animals, and other bold designs with often striking and startling color combinations using superior fine rhinestones and synthetic stones supplied from Germany. He specializes in accessories including handbags, watches and hair ornaments that are sold in top boutiques throughout the world. His pearl jewelry has been worn by First Ladies and the Rich and Famous throughout the world. Kenneth Jay Lane is considered a costume jewelry icon and his jewelry is in great demand. Mark: "K.J.L.", first 10 years and for AVON, and "KJL" for QVC on the internet, "Kenneth Lane with a copyright symbol" in an oval frame from 1963 to present. He has designed jewelry for the Duchess of Windsor, Jacqueline Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Ivana Trump, and Barbara Bush, to name a few. His jewelry pieces are larger than life and are being sold by QVC, Franklin Mint and Avon. His name is known well in the Costume Jewelry industry and his jewelry is sought after by collectors.

KIRK, ALEXIS: Unknown - Present

Alexis Kirk is a well known contemporary designer of jewelry and women’s accessories. Her costume jewelry has high-end composition and craftsmanship using the highest quality of materials, huge and vibrant stones of different sizes in a dazzling array of color, paved rhinestones and crystals, and faux pearls with silver plated and rhodium plated base metal. Alexis Kirk’s jewelry has impeccable quality and wonderful artistic design with high end composition and craftsmanship using the techniques of fine jewelry along with the highest quality of materials. The jewelry is sold through exclusive retail outlets and is highly prized by collectors.

KIRK’S FOLLY: 1979 - Present

The Kirk’s family, Ellen, George, Jennifer, and Elizabeth Kirk, founded Kirk’s Folly in 1979 in Providence RI and have created fantasy jewelry and accessories that are hand-made, The company is recognized throughout the jewelry industry as a leader in fashion jewelry because of its unique quality, workmanship and attention to detail. Another plus is that their items are made in the U.S.A. Their jewelry designs consists of fanciful images of angels, fairies, sun, moon, stars, wizards, sea creatures, wood sprites, gnomes, unicorns, and flower fairies that are brought to life as wearable objects. Each jewelry piece is handcrafted and hand-set with Swarovski clear and color rhinestones to include aurora borealis, glass clear and color crystals, faux pearls, some stones prong set, others bezel set, with 14k gold plating, goldtone and silvertone metal bases, and enameling. Some pieces are encrusted with follydust. The family’s unique designing, the overseeing of the manufactured jewelry creations along with the excellent customer service reflects the high quality statues of the company’s products geared towards consumer satisfaction. Mark: in a oval “Kirk’s Folly” in script form. The Kirk’s Folly jewelry line is featured in the world’s most exclusive stores throughout the USA, and in England, Germany, Japan and Saudi Arabia. Their jewelry appears on pages of America’s top fashion magazines. It is sold on the internet sites, QVC.com, and Kirk’s Folly Couture, Treasure Chest Boutique, and on TV, the QVC network. The company today, continues to design and produce whimsical jewelry. The family members take their business very serious, personally handling or overseeing each aspect of the company, from design to manufacturing to customer service, to insure that each item produced reflects the quality the Kirk’s Folly name demands.

KRAMER: 1943 - 1980

Kramer Jewelry Creations was founded in New York in 1943 by designer Louis Kramer with brothers Morris and Henry joining the company in the beginning. The company’s jewelry was of high quality and design. The company designed and manufactured low to high quality jewelry with the latter some of the most luxurious and artistic costume jewelry using diamente and paved rhinestones of clear and color, simulated pearls, lapis, jade, ruby, and sapphire stones. In the 1950s, the "Golden Look" was produced using gold plated metal and in the 1960s, the "Diamond Look" was produced with silver plating. Their designs were always innovative and well crafted. The company’s higher priced jewelry was usually marked "KRAMER" or "KRAMER of NEW YORK" while the lower quality pieces only carried a tag. The company also produced jewelry for Christian Dior starting in 1950 marked "Kramer for Christian Dior" and "Dior  by Kramer". Kramer created many hand-set quality pieces that had beautiful and outstanding jewelry designs including those of flowers, insects, butterflies, crowns, turtles, birds, to name a few. It produced jewelry pieces with an abundance of the highest quality Austrian rhinestones and crystals, simulated stones and pearls with clear or a variety of colors. The company ceased operations in the 1970s.

KREMENTZ: 1886 - Present

The Krementz and Company NJ, was founded by George Krementz and was owned by the Krementz and Lister families. Krementz was an original manufacturer of men’s gold jewelry that included studs and collar buttons, cuff buttons, tie clasps, and cufflinks. Mark: "NU-KAY" for jewelry made wholly or partly of precious metals since 1907. In 1930, the Krementz company, started making women’s jewelry, scarf pins, broaches, bar pins, necklace clasps, bracelets, and clasps. Mark: "Heraldic" since July 1930. The jewelry was made with rolled gold plate, of 10K and 14K gold metal with pearls and precious stones, and some with a gold overlay with beautiful design pieces of the Art Deco and Art Nouveau era. Mark: "SNAP-BAR" for cuff links set with stones since 1948. One line Krementz produced was labeled "Diana" and was sold in department stores and the pieces are hard to find today. Up to 1980, Krementz made inexpensive gold overlay jewelry to expensive colored gemstone pieces, the latter bringing the retail price of some pieces up to $100,000. Lister, of the company specialized in manufacturing fine gold jewelry. Mark" Krementz" in script, "14K GOLD OVERLAY" AND "KREMENTZ". Krementz jewelry pieces were never inexpensively priced because of the excellent workmanship, designs and detailing. Today, Richard Krementz (as President) has renamed the firm Richard Krementz Gemstones LLC specializes in fine 18K and Platinum jewelry with exotic colored gemstones including tanzanite, alexandrite, and tourmaline with rings retailing at $5,000 to $10,000 and some of his finer pieces going for over $100,000. Richard Krementz jewelry is marked: "Richard Krementz 18K" and "Richard Krementz Platinum" The gold overlay production of Krementz was sold to The Colibri Group and is still today produced in Providence, RI with other Krementz production lines sold to Goldman and Tiffany Co. (additional information: Krementz Costume Jewelry, Internet).

LAGUNA: 1944 - 1980

Laguna jewelry was founded by Royal Craftsmen Inc.,NY in 1944 producing simulated pearl and clear and color rhinestone jewelry and ornaments for personal adornment under the Laguna name. Laguna jewelry consisted of beaded jewelry using simulated pearls, plastic beads, Austrian crystals and faceted glass beads.   Mark: "Laguna" or "LAGUNA" from 1944. The company ceased production in 1980.

LAMPL: 1921 - 1959

The Lampl Company NY, was founded by Walter Lampl in 1921. It was a wholesale jewelry company creating bold and highly individualistic jewelry, prong set, using frequently semi precious gemstones (carved topaz, amethyst, jade, lapis, cinnabar, garnet and turquoise etc.), at times synthetic stones, the highest quality clear and colored rhinestones and crystals, and natural seed pearls on karat gold(10K and 14K), sterling silver, rhodium, and gold plating as base metals. The carved green jadite and other precious stones came from China in the 1920s and 1930s. Lampl’s designed included fish, ballerinas, peacock, flowers and floral arrangements, Victorian Revival themes, and circus items. Motto of Lampl jewelry was "Creators of the Unusual, as Usual". Some of the jewelry in WWII was produced in Mexico. Walter Lampl died in 1945 and his wife Sylvia Lampl and son Walter Jr. took over managing the company. The company ceased operations in 1959. Mark: "WALTER LAMPL", "LAMPL", "WL 14K", "14K WL"(on rings), "By Lampl" in script, "By Lampl STERLING" with the name in script, "WL in a shield, STERLING", "WL in a shield 1/20 - 12K Gold Filled", "THE UNITED FRONT...BEHIND THE FRONT" for rings, bar pins, bracelets, necklaces, charms, dress clips, key chains, earrings and brooches since July 1942, "WALBURT" for rings, bracelets, earrings, lapel pins, necklaces, lavalieres, lockets, charms, and dress clips in March 1944, "Pin Wheel" in script on ornamental dress and lapel pins used since Dec. 1945, "Toddle Tot" for bracelets, rings, necklaces, lockets, barrettes, and pins used since Feb. 1944. Lampl costume jewelry is highly collectible. The company ceased operations in 1959.

LEA STEIN: Mid-1950s - 1981, and Late 1980s - Present

Lea Stein, a French trained artist and one of the great modern French jewelry designers started her own company producing her own costume jewelry in France in the mid-1950s. Her jewelry entails multi-layered celluloid pieces, they named the product rhodoid, consisting of cellulose acetate sheets with textures and colors, a process invented by her husband Fernand Steinberger. Often lace or metal layers were incorporated into the celluloid producing a unique texture look to the jewelry pieces. Her fantastic whimsical designs and uniqueness of her craft has never been duplicated by any other designer of jewelry. Lea’s most valuable jewelry designs occurred in the 1930s - 1960s with different styles of foxes, dogs, bunnies, birds, and ducks as well as disco-styled women, mod-styled children, flowers, cars. hats, purses, and lots of little thing stars, hearts and rainbows. Lea Stein’s important jewelry years were from 1969 to 1980 when at that time, she employed 50 workers and was mass producing jewelry. In 1980, she discontinued production due to high production costs and Asian competition and sold a big part of her remaining stock to an American dealer. In the late 1980s, Lea Stein again started in business creating and designing plastic jewelry. Ever since 1988, she has created new pieces for the collection to include Buba (owl), Bacchus, Gomina, Attila, the tortoise, Ric the dog, Ladybug in 1998, Porcupine in 2000, Penguin and a limited edition Christmas tree in 2001. These last creations are in the original dates produced. Mark: "Lea Stein Paris". Lea Stein is still in business today and the jewelry is made in France. (See Lea Stein Jewelry for additional information)

LEE SANDS JEWELRY: 1975 - Present

Lee Sands began his career for the fashion industry in 1975, in Hawaii, designing chic, versatile costume jewelry for today’s women that has created and popularized the fashion look throughout the world. Sands designs include colorful and wooden beads, shimmering inlays, and semi-precious stones with sterling silver as the base metal. His jewelry line started with authentic puka shells handcrafted into pieces of jewelry.

Sands designs and produces necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pendants, rings and watches made in the USA. He is known as a famous fashion designer of jewelry with sales all over the world. Both Sands’ jewelry lines and fashion accessory lines (high quality handbags, wallets, and watches) emphasize the beauty of nature by using materials such as shells, woods, semi-precious stones, cultured fresh water pearls, mother-of-pearl, abalone, ancient amber, elk skin, buffalo and inlays including lions, flowers, leaves with sterling silver accents. Sands is an extensive traveler to some of the most exotic locals and destinations around the world that is assisting his finds in creating fresh jewelry designs and popular styles with new natural materials found throughout his travels.

Lee Sands was introduced on QVC in 1988, and since 1990, has been selling his costume jewelry collections on the internet QVC.com and on the QVC TV Network. His colorful beads, shimmering inlays, semi-precious stones, cultural fresh water pearls, and color mother-of-pearl, and shells ,with sterling silver metal, adds classic and unique style to his many beautiful genuine gemstone designer pieces of jewelry.

LEDO/POLCINI: 1911 - 1980

Ralph Polcini, a goldsmith, emigrated to the U.S. from Italy and established the Leading Jewelry Manufacturing Co. in 1911 in Mamaroneck NY. The company changed its name to Ledo in 1949. In 1954, Ralph Polcini died leaving the business to his son Damon who, in the 1960s, changed the name to Polcini. The jewelry produced is hand-set, is of high quality and workmanship, usually of Art Deco designs using high quality rhinestones and gold plated metal and has the look of genuine jewelry in style, design and quality. Mark: " By Ledo" in script for costume jewelry earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pins, and brooches since July 1953, "Ledo RIST-LETTE with Ledo in script for costume jewelry earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pins and brooches since July 1949,and "Polcini with a copyright symbol". The company ceased operations in 1980.

LEO GLASS CO.: 1928 - 1957

The Leo Glass Company NYC was founded in 1928 by Leo Glass after having worked in costume jewelry design for the Lisner Company for 10 years. Family members also designed some of the jewelry. In the beginning, the company imported as well as manufactured its costume jewelry until 1941 bringing to the public jewelry of the highest quality, highly priced, using sterling silver metal with the best stones found throughout the country. In 1946, the company started producing costume jewelry including necklaces, bracelets, earrings, brooches, clips, lockets, rings and chatelaines of clear rhinestones reducing creativity and design quality to medium and low standards. Mark: "Courtly Jewels" on a crown type tag. Designers for the company included Leo Glass, Ann Glass, Beatrice Glass and in 1941, David Mir. Mark: Leo Glass" in script and "Leo Glass Sterling". In 1957, the Leo Glass Company went bankrupt and all good were auctioned off on August 27, 1957.

LES BERNARD:1963 - 1996,

The Les Bernard Company was founded by Bernard Shapiro in 1963. His father Harold Shapiro, had been partners with Jack Gilbert and George Grant in the Vogue Jewelry Company from the 1930s that was started as the Park Importing Company NYC. Harold Shapiro ended his association with Vogue in 1962 with the other partners continuing to make Vogue jewelry until the mid- 1970s. Bernard Shapiro’s partner, Lester Joy designed the layouts for the company’s jewelry and that is how the Les Bernard name came into being. The company is said to be a pioneer in jewelry design that featured rhinestones with genuine marcasites along with the use of gold-tone, silver-tone and sterling silver metals. The use of faux pearls and faux turquoise, Lucite beads, color and clear glass beads helped to establish the elaborate high quality construction of the jewelry pieces produced with styles ranging from Art Deco to Egyptian. Mark: "LES BERNARD INC." and "LES BERNARD STERLING". The company is known for their fine designs, meticulous details and substantial jewelry. The Les Barnard Company ceased operations in 1996.

LISNER: Early 1900s - Late 1985

The D. Lisner & Company was founded in New York City in the early 1900s. The Lisner Company manufactured a broad range of jewelry from high quality, in the 1950s, using more expensive and superior aurora borealis stones and rhinestone, to medium priced and the lower priced range similar to Coro jewelry. Their Richelieu line of jewelry contained more expensive materials such as aurora borealis and Lucite cabochons along with Austrian rhinestones. And these pieces today, are some of the best Lisner produced and most popular with collectors. Mark: "LISNER" in block was the mark first used in 1935, "Lisner" in script first used in 1938, and "Lisner in script letters with a long L in a circle" used in and after 1959. The marks alone does not date jewelry pieces of Lisner’s 55 plus years of production due to the fact that the molds, findings and stamping dies were kept and used again at later dates. The Lisner jewelry designs contained colored rhinestones including aurora borealis, molded plastic and Lucite stones, some showing Art Deco influence. In 1978, the company changed its name to Lisner-Richelieu Corporation. The Lisner Company ceased operations in late 1985.
 

LITTLE NEMO: 1913 - 1978

The Brier Manufacturing Company of Providence, RI was founded in 1911 by Benjamin Brier, Charles Brier and Samuel Magid. It was the second largest costume jewelry company in the world with Coro being first employing about 200 more employees. The Brier Company’s trademark: “Little Nemo” specialized in imitation diamond jewelry using stones imported from around the world that were cut, polished, and in some cases, set by machinery and possessed a gold filled base metal.

In 1928, the company moved from a rented quarters to a new factory on Richmond St. where they remained for half a century. About 1930 or so, Burleigh B. Greenberg became Exec.Vice President for the Brier Manufacturing Co. His detailed position in the company was to oversee all the operations, marketing, design/trends, and production along with handling the company’s legal and finance concerns. Greenberg did the hiring of department heads and all the designers as well as selling to the large accounts and setting up business relationships with suppliers in Europe and Japan up until 1962 when he formed his own company producing his costume jewelry under the “MAMSELLE” Trademark. Burleigh Greenberg is credited with bringing plastics into the jewelry business from Germany and the jewelry industry to Japan and Korea after WWII. He was also a friend of the late Daniel Swarovski and the first importer of Swarovski stones at a time when they were still in Czechoslovakia. (Information obtained from William Greenberg, son of Burleigh B. Greenberg in June 2009).

The Depression of the 1930s stimulated the Providence jewelry industry, as precious jewelry craftsmen applied their skills to the design of cheaper, mass-produced jewelry, which raised the production of standards of costume jewelry and took on the appearance of expensive jewelry. Some of their jewelry included Art Deco designs that had convex oval shapes that were produced in the 1930s having geometric texture openwork in gilded brass, bronze tone, gold tone, silver tone or pop metal bases that were embedded with clear and colored rhinestones and colorful glass stones.

The “Little Nemo” jewelry of the 1940s and 1950s was of high quality with jewelry designs including patriotic military pins (saber, branch of service hat and gloves), U.S. flags, and U.S. eagles paste set with clear and colored rhinestones and molded colored glass stones of red, white and blue in the enameled base metal.

The “Little Nemo” Company of Brier’s enjoyed success as a syndicate plant manufacturing costume jewelry designed into necklaces, brooches, pins, bracelets, dress and fur clips, charm bracelets and charms, tiaras, hairclips of gold plated, silver plated, bronze tone, gilded brass and pot metal bases with hand faceted clear and colorful rhinestones, and colored glass stones to catch light and glitter. Mark of Brier Manufacturing Co. that manufactured Little Nemo jewelry: “LN”, LN25”, “LN50”, “LITTLE NEMO” inside the shape of a ring, “NEMO GOLD SEAL QUALITY LN/25”, “L/N”, “LN” inside a flattened diamond shape, “VENUS” in 1958, and “NEMO” in block letters 1955. The Brier Manufacturing Co. and designs of “Little Nemo” jewelry ceased operations in 1978.
 

LIZ CLAIBORNE: 1976 - Present

Elizabeth Claiborne Ortenberg, an American business executive and fashion designer, founded Liz Clairborne, Inc. with partners Art Ortenberg, Leonard Boxer, and Jerome Chazen in 1978 where they designed and produced moderately priced sportswear for women. Later, the company designed women’s and men’s apparel, accessories and fragrances and marketed name brands of clothing (Clairborne, Crazy Horse, Curve, Bora Bora, Elizabeth etc.) and jewelry. Jewelry companies purchased by Liz Claiborne were Marvella purchased in 2000, Monet purchased in 2000, and Trifari purchased in July 2000). Her own Liz Claiborne designer is still in production today. A total of 26 named brands of clothing and accessories are marketed today by the company. Her jewelry designs used glass and plastic colored beads, simulated multicolored stones and pearls with gold plated, silver plated and brass base metals. Liz retired in 1989 in the role of President, Chairman of the Board, and Chief Executive of the Company but the company is still in production. The product lines are being sold at leading department stores and boutiques.

LUCIEN PICCARD: 1944 - Present

A. Blumsteing Inc. founded in 1944 produced Lucien Piccard costume jewelry including cuff links, buckles, pins, earrings, rings, pendants, pendants with lockets, bracelets, clasps, and watches. Some of the jewelry designs including watches included 14K gold and filigree metal with real diamonds, sapphires, citrine, and garnets with pieces selling for up into the thousands of dollars range. Pendants of masked faces and ordinary gold plated or silver plated metal chains were also produced. Prices of jewelry pieces made through the years range from low to very high. Mark: "LUCIEN PICCARD", "Lucien Piccard Original" starting in 1947, and a paper tag: "Lucien Piccard" with the back reading "For generations, recognized as a leader in fashion setting design". The company had a limited production policy that they indicated was to guarantee quality and elegance. The company was purchased by Castlecliff in 1980 and is still in operations today.

 

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