Designer Profiles

Discover designers who are as cool today as they were in their day..

Jewellery has been made by many famous names. Some are jewellery designers, some are companies and some are famous fashion houses who commissioned their own range of jewellery.

MIRIAM HASKELL (1899-1981)  was a artistic business woman who began selling jewellery in a gift shop in the McAlpin Hotel, New York in 1924. She then moved to West 57th St where she produced costume jewelry designed by Frank Hess and then she moved to 392 Fifth Ave until the 1960′s. Miriam Haskell pieces have always been noted for the quality, meticulous detailing, asymmetry, surprises and irregularities. Each bead, each crystal, each pearl was picked by hand, then hand-wired to an intricate brass filigree backing, then backed to a second filigree, concealing how it was made. Some pieces could take up to 3 days to create. Beads were purchased mainly from France and Venice and crystals came from Bohemia. She created pieces for the glitterati of her day, Flo Ziegfeld, Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball and the Duchess of Windsor, to name but a few. With the advent of World War II, Haskell has to improvise with alternative materials, like plastics.  Early pieces were not signed and production was limited, then in the 40′s pieces started to be incised with ‘Miriam Haskell’ on the hook, in a crescent cartouche and an oval stamp on the clasp. The company was sold in 1990.

KRAMER  Kramer of New York was founded in 1943 by Louis Kramer on 5th Avenue. The company produced some of the Worlds leading costume jewellery, using sparkling Austrian crystals and high quality rhinestones. Although the company ceased operations in 1980, it is still a well respected name today. Kramer jewellery can be marked ‘Kramer of NY’, Kramer of NY city’, ‘Kramer’ on an oval plaque and just ‘Kramer’. Amourelle (designed by Frank Hess), Christian Dior by Kramer, ‘Diamond Look’ and ‘Golden Look’.

LISNER The Lisner mark was first used in 1935. They made some well designed and above average costume jewelry. ‘Lisner’ in a block was first used in 1935, ‘Lisner’ in a script was first used in 1938 and then in 1959 ‘Lisner’ in block type with a long ‘L’, although it is not possible to date items by these marks alone, as many molds, stamping dies and findings were kept and used again at later dates. Some Lisner jewelery is of a higher quality, using superior aurora borealis stones and colourful plastic lucite cabochons adorned with rhinestones. Since the 90′s Lisner jewelery has become highly collectable, currently the most coveted Lisner is the molded oak leaf pieces, produced in the 60′s.

NAPIER  Napier generally made silverware but switched to modern jewelery after WW1. It is notable for its simple, modern, geometric and floral designs, some metalwork resembles Mexican and Scandinavian designs. Chunky gilt charm bracelets and early sterling designs are highly collectable. In the 20/30′s Napier produced designs featuring Egyptian motifs, in the 50′s they produced fan jewelery. From 1922 until its sale in 1980 the trademark was ‘Napier’ within a rectangle, following the sale of the company it became ‘Napier’ in a script.