Eisenberg ice christmas tree brooch

Vintage Eisenberg Ice Rhinestone Christmas Tree – 2″ tall, textured gold tone finish. This is post mid-century and signed on the back. The stones are quite noticeable at 3mm across with a slightly smaller stone inside a star at the top of the tree. The stones are multi-colored little raised ornaments scattered around the tree. Very good condition. The stones are bright and clear and this virtually looks new. This came from a PA estate sale. See photos. (Lot. Loc. W.7.2118.G.5 – LD 10/4/18).

We carry mostly vintage jewelry across all themes in my stores and listings. We have our own store and are and have been known as stampshopgirl in Ebay and have been since I think 2003. At one point we had a gift shop/rubber stamping store and switched over to vintage jewelry about six years ago on a full time basis, which also including taking and completing gemology classes as well as jewelry appraisal studies. We carry limited other vintage items and am trying to change our presence to marias vintage and estate treasures. You may see both names until the migration is complete. You can find us on pinterest where all ebay items and other venues are categorized – mariasvinta0654.

WE DO NOT STORE FINE METALS AND GEMSTONES ON PREMISES. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT QUESTIONS MAY NOT BE ABLE TO BE ANSWERED IMMEDIATELY. THANK YOU.
Thank you for stopping by, mariasvintage.

Please note that most of my photos are taken at 10X magnification. This shows any blemishes much more magnified than they really are.
I keep great notes about each item and can answer most questions quickly, but I do not store fine jewelry on premises, so answers about specific measurements may take some time as I arrange to inspect the piece again.
In addition to this website, Maria’s Vintage, I am on eBay as stampshopgirl, on Etsy as stampshopgirl, and on StorEnvy as Maria’s. I have many vintage jewelry items and other vintage and new items – a very wide variety.
I will combine shipping, even if you buy items from one of my other stores. If you purchase one item and know you’ll be picking more, just email me and let me know and I will ship them at the same time and refund the shipping over the combined limit.
Given the number of different items I carry it is hard to know what combination of items can be purchased to pre-plan the shipping, so just email me and we will work it out to save you shipping charges whenever possible.

Costume Jewelry: Confusing Fakes and Copies

The costume jewelry market has seen an increasing number of pieces made from new molds taken from vintage originals. Dozens of familiar designs are being sold by operations in California, Florida and North Carolina, using production and assembly labor from different points overseas. Eisenberg, Trifari, Boucher, Hobe, Weiss, Coro and Coro Craft are only some of the popular old names being reproduced in a broad range of styles.

One warning sign of a new piece is size. Many of what at first appears to be some of the better copies, are much larger than originals. This is because the new pieces are made in new larger molds. A good way to check for proper size is to refer to a reference book.

Along with size, a “heavy handed” treatment may also be a clue to a new copy. This includes a thick vermeil (silver or bronze) gilt, monotone coloring with no soft shading and poor quality settings such as stones with irregular facets or made of plastic.

Beginners and pros looking for telltale signs of reproductions should look first to the back sides. Many long-time manufacturers whose costume lines began in the 1920s have a used a variety of marks on their work. Many of these companies changed the appearance of their marks every decade, or used a different mark to correspond with a different line of jewelry. Buyers should know what marks are appropriate for what years and lines.

The Trifari mark, for example, is widely forged. An authentic Trifari mark rarely appears alone on a piece. Look for it with either the C in circle copyright symbol ©, the patent-pending wording, or the crown atop the capital T. The word by itself should raise a red flag. A sterling design marked Trifari, bearing a matte or frosted gold reverse finish, is another give-away.

Eisenbergs are among the most highly copied of the scarce collectibles, and the unofficial copies are becoming harder to spot. Most are over-sized and slightly garish, with too-bright plating and often plastic instead of glass stones. Fakes are also distinguished by the raised oval signature plate on the reverse; even the few sterling designs have the “sterling” word on a raised plate. The old Eisenbergs had the full name or the script “E” embedded directly into the mold. Another still-reliable mark of the true Eisenberg is the company’s small manufacturing code, a single initial or number embedded in the mold, set apart from the signature.

In addition to forged marks, there are also copies of designs never marked originally now turning up with desirable company names added. What was once pretty but anonymous is now an “undiscovered” design by some famous maker. Coro and Coro Craft marks, for example, are showing up on designs never credited to that company. The Boucher name is also appearing on designs originally made by Trifari and Coro. Some lines of Trifari and Coro Craft pieces, noted for cabochon stones or carved “fruit salad” glass flowers and leaves, are victims of look a likes with only a few telling differences, one being the use of molded plastic instead of glass.

Another problem area is new “jelly belly” or “clear belly” figural pins. These pieces get their name from a clear piece of Lucite which usually represents the figure’s belly or central design element. Some of the scarce Trifari and Coro Craft originals command four-figure prices. Copies of vintage designs are showing up with a variety of company marks. Be on guard if considering any jelly belly signed Boucher or Hobe’ , because these companies didn’t manufacture a line of Lucite pieces.

New jelly belly’s can also be over-sized with bright plating and a generally cruder or more whimsical look than originals, even the ones done in sterling. There are also “hybrid” jelly belly’s made from brooches which simply had a big center stone removed and were refitted with a piece of Lucite. Original ca. 1940s jelly belly’s carry extremely fine detailing on both front and back sides, often with the Lucite fastened to the metal work by a set-screw (Fig. 10).

Keep in mind that it takes more than one questionable feature to bring a verdict of fake. There are just enough legitimate exceptions around to leave room for doubts. Jewelry produced in different eras by a single manufacturer, for example, may appear quite different. One line of good Trifari figurals from the 60s is distinguished by a “frosty” gold or silver finish both front and back, and carries a small rectangular nameplate. Not the same quality as 1940s pieces, but still real Trifari and very collectible.

The newer Eisenbergs (Eisenberg Ice) don’t carry a number or initial code like earlier pieces, but they are genuine modern Eisenberg. And some of the earliest Eisenbergs did use a small nameplate logo, cut to fit the design when stamping wasn’t practical.

Another consideration to be aware of is that many commercially successful designs were copied by competitors at the time of their introduction in the 30s, 40s and 50s. In other words, you could encounter an old copy as well as a deliberately faked copy made in years past. Cheap knockoffs made 60-30 years ago or yesterday generally are just not the same high quality as the originals they try to imitate.

There’s room in the costume jewelry market for old and new, but the new shouldn’t get too comfortable alongside the rare and grand vintage pieces. It’s not a question of what’s better, more a decision about truth in selling.

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Fig. 1 New pin with faked Coro Craft mark. Gold tone color, faux stones and enameled details. Edges of fins are not continuous. Fake is not marked sterling.

Fig. 2 Original pin copied by the fake shown in Fig. 1. Sterling silver. Note how edges of original fins form continuous unbroken curves. Edges of fins in fake are broken.

Fig. 3 (New) Forged Coro Craft mark on faked pin in Fig. 1.

Fig. 4 (Old) Mark on original fish pin includes “Sterling” along with Coro Craft.

Fig. 5 (Old) Size is often a clue to a recent copy. The fake lyre bird on the left is in base metal with plastic center stone. The smaller original on the right is sterling with glass center stone. Both original and copy are marked Trifari.

Fig. 6 (New) Forged Trifari mark on new lyre bird in Fig. 6.

Fig. 7 (Old) Trifari and sterling marks on original lyre bird in Fig. 7. Original also has patent number (not shown) which is not on copy.

Fig. 8 (New) New jelly belly duck of enameled base metal marked “Boucher”; actual size about 2 ½”.

Fig. 9 (Old) Original duck is sterling silver (no enameling) marked Trifari; actual size about 2″.

Fig. 10 (Old) Back of original Trifari duck in Fig. 9. Note Trifari patent number (at arrow) and the set-screw used to fasten Lucite.

Fig. 11 Fake Eisenberg, actual size 2 ¾” X 2¾” with plastic stones. Forged mark shown in (Fig. 12).

Fig. 12 The applied nameplate is often the sign of a copy. Original Eisenbergs are usually marked in the mold.

Fig. 13 (New) New dragon 4″ pin marked Boucher sells for about $75. For the nearly identical vintage dragon by Trifari see pg 69, 20th Century Jewelry, C. Pullee, © 1990 Mallard Press.

Fig. 14 (New) New 1 ½” X 2 ½” jelly belly crab marked Boucher which did not make Lucite pieces. Cost new about $60. The Trifari original can sell for $500.

Fig. 16 (New) New 3 ½” X 4″ sterling dragonfly marked Hobe’. Some of the new pieces marked sterling have been tested and showed no trace of silver.

Fig. 17 (New) The Hobe name has been applied to (Figs. 15 & 16) on plates after the pieces have left the mold. This particular Hobe mark is from the 1960s, NOT the 1940s as the seller hoped.

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Fig. 18 (New) New 2″ jelly belly parrot marked Boucher. This same kidney shaped plastic piece is used in other new jelly belly copies. For the original, marked Coro Craft, see pg 31, Fun Jewelry, N. Schiffer, © 1991 Schiffer.

Fig. 19 (New) New 2 ¾” sterling basket with plastic leaves–originals were glass. Faked Coro mark is in block letters.

Rhinestone Dynasty: Karl Eisenberg Talks About His Family’s Costume Jewelry

You know Eisenberg costume jewelry—just close your eyes, and picture a “vintage brooch.” In the 1930s and ’40s, Eisenberg established the iconic look of this classic piece: Large diamond-like Swarovski crystals set in regal, Baroque and Rococo settings. It was eye-catching jewelry that was at once ostentatious and refined.

A rhinestone bow brooch, circa 1940s.

Eisenberg & Sons started out as a high-end clothing line in 1914, and it wasn’t long before founder Jonas Eisenberg came up with the brilliant idea of incorporating Swarovski crystals into his company’s dresses. Then, in the ’30s, his sons launched Eisenberg Ice, a line of rhinestone costume jewelry. Today, the clothes are long gone but the jewelry line is thriving, especially its hugely popular colored-gem Christmas tree pins. But it’s those diamante pins and earrings from the ’30s and ’40s, particularly the ribbon brooches, that drive collectors wild—so much so that fakes were manufactured in the ’80s and ’90s and sold as originals.

In the 1960s, Karl Eisenberg, president of Eisenberg Ice, took over the company from his father, Sam, who took it over from his father, Jonas. Recently, Karl kindly spoke to Collectors Weekly about his company’s storied history. Here, then, are the nine things you should know about Eisenberg, according to Eisenberg.

1. The Eisenberg jewelry line was born out of a need to thwart thieves.

“It was probably in the early ’20s when the Swarovski crystals were first put on the clothing, around the time before the Depression years. If you watch ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ you’ll see how people at that time would dress up—they wore a lot of rhinestones. When we put them on the dresses, we knew we had something. We had pins made; they were outsourced and then would be put on our clothes.

“Our biggest competitor was Albert Weiss. He used to knock us off all the time.”

“At that time, in the North Room of the Carson Pirie Scott department store, which was THE room in Chicago, people were coming in to try on our clothes. They’d leave the dress and steal the pin.

My grandfather called up the chairman of Carson’s, who told him, ‘You know what, if they like it that much, why don’t you develop a costume jewelry line?’ So we did, and my father got the brilliant idea of calling it Eisenberg Ice.

We used the Eisenberg Originals mark in the early years, and then in ’35 we copyrighted Eisenberg Ice. The oldest pieces are the ones that say Eisenberg Originals on them.”

2. Yes, the name was inspired by gangsters.

“My father, Sam Eisenberg, really started the jewelry business, between ’30 and ’35. It was my father who thought up the name Eisenberg Ice. You know where the name came from? During the time of Al Capone and the mob, during the ’20s, diamonds were called ‘ice.’ That was why, starting in 1935, we put that moniker on the costume jewelry, and it worked. When we did that, the jewelry took off. The name really became something. It amazes me that even today there are people that collect it.”

3. Eisenberg Ice was a big hit in Hollywood.

A matched set of dress clips, such as this one from about 1940, is difficult to find.

“In 1949, I remember I went out to Los Angeles for the Rose Bowl game, the one where Northwestern beat California. A designer took me to a major studio. They had a whole collection of Eisenberg that they used in the movies. You saw a lot of Eisenberg Ice in the movies.

“In fact, when I was out there not too long ago, when Northwestern played the Rose Bowl against Southern Cal, it was the same thing. The studio had a store room of costumes and props, and large collections of Eisenberg Ice and Eisenberg Originals.

“Lana Turner had the largest collection of Eisenberg. Carol Channing, too. When she did ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’ while playing the Empire Room of the Palmer House in Chicago, she would always come in and see me. We shared the same birthday, January 31. She would give away rhinestone bracelets to the audience—they were Eisenberg Ice pieces.”

4. Karl Eisenberg was more concerned with impostors than competitors.

Aqua glass nuggets resembling turquoise dominate this circa-1940 gold-tone dress clip.

“I knew everybody. We were good friends with Trifari; they were never really competitors. Most of the stores that had Trifari had Eisenberg. Same story with Monet. At Christmastime, they would make a few little pins and they put tiny, dressy stones in their gold merchandise. But I would never say that they were really a competitor. No customer ever went in and said ‘I think I’ll get Trifari instead of Eisenberg,’ or ‘Eisenberg instead of Trifari.’

“Few copied our merchandise because of the size of the stones. It’s difficult to copy Eisenberg because it has a certain look. Even today, I can walk into a place in Indiana, Kentucky, New York, or anywhere and I can recognize a piece as Eisenberg. My wife says, ‘How do you know that?’ I just know the look. And I’ll pick it up and sure enough it’ll have Eisenberg Ice or Eisenberg Originals on it.

“We faced competition from Ciner and Kramer, but they had different looks. Our biggest competitor was Albert Weiss. He used to knock us off all the time. And when I complained to my father when I first went into the business in the ’50s, he said, ‘Listen, son, don’t worry about that. That’s the greatest compliment in the world. If you’re not doing well, nobody’s going to try to copy you.’ So we just let it lie. Weiss did very well. His boys took over the business, then they went out of business. They were a level below us as far as price was concerned, but they made nice jewelry.”

5. During Eisenberg’s heyday, the company only had one designer.

This Eisenberg fur clip, circa 1940, features graduated round clear rhinestones set in silver tone.

“Ruth Kamke designed most of our merchandise from the time she was 16 until the early ’70s. Then we used a design staff from the ’70s on, and now there are about seven or eight people that help in the designing of Eisenberg. But in those days, it was always one person, that’s why it always had that same look. We had a very identifiable look. There were people who were copying Trifari and Monet. But as far as Eisenberg was concerned, you just looked at the piece and you know where it was coming from.

“Well, Kamke designed the jewelry, but it had to be approved by somebody else. We had another woman, Florence Silverman, who had a lot to do with the production. She would look at the jewelry, and if she went, ‘Okay,’ they’d bring it to my father, and then to me. Anything that I approved got into the line after I went into the business in 1951.

“For instance, there was a man who used to have a well-known jewelry store in the Trump Tower. He had Kamke’s gold and rhinestone ballerina on display. She also designed a woman with a little broom. Those two pieces have sold for over $2,000. The ballerina was probably the most valuable piece because it was unlike anything we had done before. It was beautiful. It had gold and colored stones in it, just fabulous. Some of the things that were not standard-looking Eisenberg pieces are highly valued because there’s such a scarcity.”

6. World War II forced the company to use more-expensive sterling silver.

“In the beginning, we used base metal, and we plated it with rhodium, which almost never tarnished. During the war years between 1940 and 1945, because so much lead was being used for bullets by the government, those pieces were done in sterling silver. Now, those are the most valuable pieces for collectors, the sterling pieces from the ’40s, because we never did that again.

Pronged figural clips marked “Eisenberg Original” were made from 1935 to 1945.

“Those were all stamped with the Eisenberg mark. They’d also have a little marking on the clip that said ‘sterling.’ Sometimes the people that try to copy our merchandise forget to put it on them, and I know it’s a fake.

“During the wartime, we also had 10-karat gold-plated pieces made in Mexico. Some had turquoise; others had jade. They were beautiful pieces. It was very difficult during the war years to get anything to work with, but you could sell anything you made because those were boom times.

“We didn’t branch out into other things until the ’70s when you couldn’t sell as many big stones. We did enamels, we did beads, and we made smaller-looking pieces. We made the whisper chain, a very thin chain that had stones hanging on it. They were beautiful, 15-, 24-inch chains. We did a huge, huge business in those whisper chains—everything wasn’t big pins. We got into Christmas pins big time in the ’70s. The Christmas business remains big.”

7. Eisenberg came up with the idea of pieces inspired by works of art.

“In the ’70s, we did an Artist Series on famous painters like Braque, Picasso, Monet, and Calder. There were necklaces and earrings, and they were very carefully done. They went through the oven many times. They were absolutely magnificent pieces, and they were on 23-karat gold-plate chains. Jim Thompson, the only three-term governor Illinois ever had, is one of the biggest collector of these enamel pieces.”

8. Families pass Eisenberg pieces down, from generation to generation.

“I remember once years ago—this must’ve been 25, 30 years ago—I was in Lord & Taylor and I saw a young girl with her mother talking. I heard her mother say to her, ‘If you’re getting rhinestone, you’ve got to get Eisenberg Ice,’ which made me feel good. We always used very good plating so that jewelry didn’t tarnish, and the stones were normally dentelle stones, which refracted a lot of light. If you had a piece like that, you kept it.

“And what they did was pass it down from generation to generation. I think that’s still going on. We made a group of pins not too long ago. They were big, gorgeous pins that were made the same way we used to make them. You’ll probably see those on the Internet somewhere. They sold for $150-$250 each.”

9. Eisenberg pieces can be dated by their mark—most of the time.

Magazine ads in the 1950s hyped the elegance of Eisenberg Ice.

“We always stamped our merchandise. The mark was ‘Eisenberg Originals’ from 1935 to about 1945. Then from around ’42 to ’45, we used the letter E in block letters. From 1945 to 1950, ‘Eisenberg Ice’ was capitalized in block letters, and it’s been in script from 1970 until now. But pieces marked ‘Eisenberg Originals’, if you can find them, are probably the ones that are most valuable.

“Anything that anybody’s collecting has the name stamped on it. They’re marked or they aren’t ours, except in a couple of instances. Sometimes I’ve seen things that I know were Eisenberg, but they were pieces that didn’t make it through the line, so they weren’t stamped. For some reason or other, though, those pieces got out. They were our pieces, but it’s just impossible to prove.

“A piece has no collector’s value unless it’s got our name stamped on it, or on a little tab that’s attached to a piece like a bracelet or necklace. The pins are by far are the most valuable items on the market, but if it’s not stamped, it’s not ours. There have been people that we know are counterfeiting our merchandise, so you have to be very careful, especially in California.

“People will call me and say, ‘My grandmother had this,’ and I say, ‘Well, where did it come from? What’s the provenance?’ And they tell me that they lived in Indianapolis, Indiana, or in Birmingham, Alabama, or Seattle, Washington. I can tell by the towns. Even little towns in Illinois, I knew they were telling me the truth because these were towns where we sold. Most of those small stores in America are not in business anymore, due to the consolidation of large chains.”

(Photos of the matched dress clips, the aqua nuggets, and the rhinestone fur clip are courtesy Morning Glory Antiques & Jewelry; rhinestone bow and pronged figural are courtesy Eisenberg Ice; vintage ad courtesy Karl Eisenberg)

Identifying Costume Jewelry by Designer

Part 1

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Identifying Costume Jewelry is hard enough for the seasoned jewelry investor so if you’re a new kid on the Antique Costume Jewelry block, this resource on Costume Jewelry might just pique your interest.

Costume Jewelry Designers Part 1 are listed in alphabetical order and the subject is divided into Two Parts.

Identifying Costume Jewelry Part 2 continues to circle the sciences of the finest costume jewelry designers of the time and the unique methods of construction and materials, employed in the designer’s “signatures”.

The information will be of benefit in the identification of authentic Designer Costume Jewelry in general.

As you advance, you’ll develop a certain kind of “expertise” in identifying costume jewelry, according to the particular designer’s preferences, what I call, their individual “signatures” which is a different thing altogether to their jewelry marks.

When attempting to identify costume jewelry, preferably under 10x loupe magnification the first golden rule:

Inspect the jewelry all over for any signs of damage, missing stones, flat or discolored stones and chipped enamel. Check to see if the piece is signed or not signed. Costume jewelry is not always signed.

Many unsigned pieces are extravagant, beautiful, rare and valuable. Elsa Schiaparelli did not sign her work before 1930. Miriam Haskell, Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli set trends for the rest of the fashion world to follow.

Eisenberg:

Eisenberg started as a clothing company that made pins that were everything to an evening dress. As the pins proved so popular they were then sold separately.

  • Fine materials include swarovski rhinestones.
  • Large pieces are made to bold designs
  • Early 1940s figural pins are very collectible.
  • Rhodium plated metal with prong and bezel settings were popular.
  • 1930-45 pieces are marked “Eisenberg Original” and after 1945 “Eisenberg Ice.”

Hobe: 1887-present

The company was founded in New York by the son of a Parisian goldsmith.

  • Materials included vermeil (gold plated silver), platinum, pastes and semi-precious stones.
  • Exotic designs and reproductions of historic pieces owned by European royalty.

Marcel Boucher: 1937-72

Marcel Boucher learned fine jewelry skills from working for Cartier and his pieces are so well made they are often mistaken for the real thing.

French by birth, Marcel Boucher became one of the finest US costume jewelry designers and makers.

  • Innovative designs use exquisite metalwork, rhinestones in cuts and colors that resemble precious gemstones and colorful enameling.
  • The colors of enamels are expertly shaded.
  • Costume jewelry by Boucher may be marked “MB”, “Marboux”, “Marcel Boucher” or just “Boucher.”
  • Many pieces are competitively priced, even undervalued and as such, represent an excellent investment.

Joseff of Hollywood: 1905-48

Eugene Joseff designed jewelry for Hollywood film studios and sold copies to star-struck fans.

  • The majority of pieces feature “Russian gold” a semi-matter copper-gold finish that minimized flare under the studio lights.
  • Most pieces are signed but beware of bright examples.
  • When you’re identifying costume jewelry, by Eugene Joseff, have in mind that the value plummets if polished.
  • If the signature is in block letters it indicates the piece was made in the 1930s or 40s.

Christian Dior: 1905-57

Christian Dior’s “New Look” transformed fashion after World War II. Jewelry was an integral part of his collections.

  • Early pieces were made in small numbers for particular outfits or clients.
  • Later pieces made under license in greater numbers with unusual pastes and stones.
  • Most pieces are signed and dated.
  • Quality of stones and settings are always striking.

Maison Gripoix: 1870-present

For three generations, The Gripoix family has made poured glass jewelry under its own name and for fashion houses, Chanel- Costume Jewelry and Dior since the mid-1920s.

  • The company’s skill with the poured glass technique means it can create both subtle and vibrant colours with varying degrees of translucency and opacity.
  • When identifying costume jewelry by Chanel from the early 1990s onward pieces will be marked Histoire de Verre.

Kenneth Jay Lane: 1930-present

Bright, bold, elegant and affordable designs. Lane began making jewelry in 1963. Pieces made up to the late 1970s are most collectable. Kenneth Jay Lane’s “cinderella” philosophy -“Wearing costume jewelry is like wearing glass-slippers. You can feel like you’re going to the ball, even if you’re not.”

  • Distinctive combinations of materials and re-interpretations of traditional styles.
  • Clever re-workings of many traditional styles, including Greco-Roman, Egyptian, Medieval and Renaissance, through to Art Deco and Asian.
  • Stones usually show exceptional depth of color.
  • Signature before 1970 is “K.J.L.”, after 1970 “Kenneth Jay Lane” or “Kenneth Lane.”

Elsa Schiaparelli: 1890-1973

Elsa Schiaparelli founded a fashion house in Paris in the early 1920s and drove costume jewelry to the cutting edge of fashion.

  • When identifying costume jewelry by Schiaparelli look for costume jewelry which is quirky, surrealist-inspired, highly stylized designs.
  • Many of Elsa’s design were inspired by the milky way, planets and celestial lights. Her uncle was the famous Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli who discovered the canals of Mars.
  • From the 1950s she was based in New York and made abstract or floral jewelry designs using colorful stones and glass.
  • Her signature color was “shocking pink” at a time when Coco Channels’ little black dress was still de rigueur.
  • Early pieces are usually unsigned;later pieces are signed.
  • Many fakes have been produced.

Weiss: 1942-72

This highly successful company is renowned for its exquisite floral, foliate, fruit or figural designs using Australian crystal rhinestones.

There is a lot of fake Weiss costume jewelry on the market.

Find out more about the Weiss deception HERE.

  • Settings may be antiqued gold tone.
  • Convincing reproductions of german smoky quartz crystals known as “black diamonds”. Stones set in gold and silver alloys may be enameled or in 1960s japanned (dull black).
  • Undervalued for years, prices are going up!

Mazer Brothers: 1927-81

Joseph and Louis Mazer, from late 1927 in New York City, made affordable, simulations of expensive jewelry. In 1946, Joseph set up his own company, marking his work “Jomaz.”

  • When identifying costume jewelry by Mazer, have in mind that early pieces were designed by Marcel Boucher before he established his own company in 1934.
  • Popular designs included, floral, foliate, ribbon-and-bow-motif accented with fine “Sea-Maze” faux pearls or the best Austrian rhinestones.
  • Stones are in sophisticated cuts and settings.
  • Pieces remain relatively affordable, according to Judith Miller, Collector’s Guides, Costume Jewelry, 2003.

Miriam Haskell: 1899-1981

Need a Miriam Haskell Jewelry Appraisal? Click HERE

Miriam Haskell helped to make costume jewelry as prestigious and even more fashionable (according to some people) than fine antique jewelry. Celebrities as well as ordinary people from all walks of life have sought Miriam Haskell costume jewelry to treasure and wear.

  • When identifying costume jewelry by Haskell, components will include fake pearls and roses montees (flat-backed rhinestones in clusters).
  • Pearls are attached to a gilt metal chain.
  • Innovative and complex hand-wired pieces created by a team of designers.
  • Missing rhinestones and damaged pearls will substanially detract from the value of fine costume jewelry by Miriam Haskell.

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Jonas Eisenberg was born in Austria and immigrated to the USA in 1885. He settled in Chicago and founded Eisenberg in 1914. The original Eisenberg company was not developed with jewelry in mind. At first, Jonas only sold ladies ready to wear fashions. His first jewelry designs were meant to be worn with these fashions and were intended to be promotional products to advertise his designs of clothing rather than items for sale. These early Eisenberg pieces were not signed.

However, in retail, things change, and Jonas soon discovered that his customers loved the jewelry and were removing the pieces from the clothing to purchase on their own! Retailers started suggesting that the company design jewelry as well as clothing. Eisenberg heeded these suggestions and his two sons, Sam and Harold Eisenberg, began a line of Eisenberg jewelry which was marketed separately from the clothing. The jewelry company did very well and by 1958, the clothing part of the company was discontinued so that the company could concentrate on the jewelry alone.

Since the word “originals” was not unique to Eisenberg, the company couldn’t trademark the term Eisenberg originals. In 1935, they came up with the wording “Eisenberg Ice” and it was marketed this way until 1942, when it was officially trademarked with this name. To indicate the value of the pieces at the time of manufacture, when a woman’s weekly salary was $30-$40, an original Eisenberg sold for $50 – $100! As is the case now, Eisenberg jewelry pieces were very high end.

The following years showed great success for the company and Jonas’ grandson Karl took over as president in 1969. Artists such as Calder, Miro and Picasso designed some of their enamel lines. This enamel jewelry was marked “Eisenberg” (or “E”) starting in the 1970s. These intricate designs required many firings and are very collectible today. All of the rhinestones were hand set up to the 1970s, when they went to prong set and/or glued in. The glue used was a space-age adhesive once used to adhere a propeller to an engine, so you can imagine that the rhinestones will stay put!

The Eisenberg company is still in production today, manufacturing very high quality jewelry. A very large part of the current production is devoted to intricate Christmas tree pins, much to the delight of Christmas jewelry collectors. The company is now called Eisenberg Classics.

The company used many marks and didn’t always retire one when a new one was introduced, so dating Eisenberg jewelry from the design marks can prove difficult. Some of the design marks include Ice by Eisenberg on paper tags or specially marked jewelry boxes, Esienberg original in script, E with a copyright symbol in block letters, E in script lettering, Eisenberg originals Sterling for their sterling silver pieces and Eisenberg in block letters on a cartouche.

The value of Eisenberg jewelry continues to remain fairly high, and they are some of the most sought after designs of vintage jewelry. Try to find pieces in the best condition you can, and look for original boxes and hang tags to add additional value. They will become jewelry pieces that will be likely to be passed down from one generation to another and should rise in value over time.

Carol Speake
Ruby Lane Shop: Finishing Touch Vintage Jewelry
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Eisenberg Jewelry, one of the most popular and respected lines of American costume jewelry, was begun by chance. When Jonas Eisenberg emigrated from Austria to the United States, he went into business making women’s ready-to-wear fashion. His company produced jewelry to adorn the displays of his clothing in department stores. Soon enough he learned that the jewelry was more popular than the garments. His son Sam saw this as an opportunity and began a jewelry line separate from his father’s clothing line. By 1958, the clothing enterprise was halted and family efforts were all transferred to the jewelry business.

The first pieces of jewelry were not hallmarked. A period of identifying pieces as Eisenberg Originals followed and in 1935, the Eisenberg Ice hallmark was introduced.

Eisenberg used high quality components in its jewelry. The stones, mostly imported from Austria and Czechoslovakia, were often large and colorful. But Eisenberg produced many designs using clear stones to mimic diamonds.

Karl Eisenberg, the next generation, took over the company in 1969 and in the 1970s he oversaw production of one of the most popular lines of jewelry in Eisenberg’s history. The Artist Series was designed by many of the leading artists of the period including Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso.

ARTIST SERIES

Over the decades Eisenberg produced a great many designs. The work is of very good quality and much of it is available today on the secondary market.

FIGURALS

This sterling silver heart set was made in Mexico during the years of WW II when silver production was curtailed in the U.S. due to the war effort.

PATRIOTIC

CHRISTMAS

Eisenberg Christmas tree pins are especially collectible. Their designs are popular, well-made and varied.

HALLMARKS

Eisenberg jewelry stands up to time. Vintage pieces can be found in near perfect condition. Stones were firmly set into position and most pieces I’ve found still have all the original stones.

Eisenberg is a favorite among collectors and pieces can be found in all price ranges. The popularity of Eisenberg has led to counterfeiting so buyer beware. Look at the construction and the hallmark. Shoddy workmanship and / or a misspelled or compacted hallmark are two easy-to-identify clues when determining authentic from fake.

I hope you’ll visit my shop to see what Eisenberg pieces are available for sale.

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