A Journey Into The Wonderful And Rich World of Coppola e Toppo Jewelry

In a fashion world dominated by the French couturiers, Coppola e Toppo jewelry was like a breath of fresh air, bringing something special to the market. Creations under this trademark still arouse passions and are coveted by jewelry lovers.

The story of Coppola e Toppo unfolds at the same time as the growth and affirmation of Italian fashion.

Coppola e Toppo jewelry is some of the most revered and insanely collectible pieces to have ever emerged from the Costume Jewelry Golden era.

Coppola e Toppo Jewelry’s Fantastic Journey

Bruno Coppola and Lyda Toppo, a brother and sister who were also jewelry designers, started their business in Milan, Italy, in the late 1940s. Beads were Coppola e Toppo’s specialty, and they were successful in elevating this jewelry genre to couture status.

 

Initially, Coppola e Toppo jewelry was made under the name of their favorite dog Mickey. However, the quick and loud success of the company made them use Coppola e Toppo marking.

At the beginning of her career, Lyda Toppo realized her products by combining, in an unusual way, traditional Italian materials from different parts of the peninsula, such as pearls made of Venetian glass and coral from Torre del Greco.

Having made their entrance into this world of elegance and extravagance, parisian fashion houses Christian Dior and Balenciaga started using Coppola e Toppo jewelry in fashion shows and retail sales.

After the renowned Elsa Schiaparelli tapped them to create a line using coral-colored beads, Valentino and Gucci followed suit with their own commissions of Coppola e Toppo jewelry in Italy.

coppola-e-toppo-purple-pink-glass-pearl-necklace

Since the early 1950s, Lyda Coppola has been creating jewels for Emilio Pucci and for most of the Italian fashion designers: Roberto Capucci, Germana Marucelli, Carosa, Biki, Sorelle Fontana, Pino Lancetti, Patrick de Barentzen, Federico Forquet, Enzo, Ken Scott, Valentino, Krizia.

The accessories created by Lyda Toppo – bijoux above all, but also bags, scarves, belts, foulards – are precisely what gave the final touch to many of the outfits created by the stylists who influenced French Haute Couture of the late 1940s and by the Italian “boutique” fashion designers of the fifties, sixties, and seventies.

The company’s designers began using crystals, Murano glass, and plastic beads in ornaments. Also, Coppola e Toppo used gilded metal, silver, and faux pearls.

 

As their business grew, they were able to add more lines to their collections with the Coppola e Toppo jewelry signature.

Coppola e Toppo thrived through the 1950s and 1960s as Milan became more prominent on the world fashion map.

In 1972 the business became part of a larger Italian company. However, by 1986, Coppola e Toppo jewelry was no longer being produced.

Why is Coppola e Toppo Jewelry Different

What makes Coppola e Toppo jewelry so special is from the moment you lay your eyes on them they demand attention.

This of course was the company’s intent: to make big, bold, statement couture pieces and they most certainly succeeded in their mission.  

Many pieces of Coppola e Toppo jewelry have a unique look about them that most avid collectors learn to recognize. They specialized in colorful jewelry with multiple strands of high-quality beads, often with attractive ombre color graduations.

It is often surprising to find plastic beads mixed with glass in this type of jewelry, but the practice was necessary to keep the weight down with more elaborate designs.

The most elaborate necklaces are also the most alluring to many collectors and are also quite costly to acquire in most instances.

The clip mechanisms on Coppola e Toppo earrings have a unique paddle shape with a star cutout. More conventional designs range from simple button clusters to those shaped like paisleys or commas.

Elaborate styles with long strands of dangling beads are favorites among collectors of Coppola e Toppo jewelry.

Most pieces of Coppola e Toppo are stamped with the full name. Made in Italy is written in block letters while the Coppola e Toppo wording is written in script on each piece.

 coppola-e-toppo-blue-crystal-multi-strand-beads-bracelet

On smaller items, such as irregularly-shaped earrings, the last part of Toppo may be cut off in the stamping. A few designs of Coppola e Toppo jewelry, such as wrap-style bracelets, are not marked.

In addition to the usual necklaces, earrings, brooches, and bracelets that one would expect from a Coppola e Toppo jewelry collection, the two Italians also designed and produced accessories like beaded purses with one famously carried by Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis.  

Belts were common and nothing was out of the realm of possibility with umbrellas, cigarette cases, bikinis, tops, headphones, and bolero jackets all receiving the beaded treatment.

Materials Used in Coppola e Toppo Jewelry

- Small Venetian glass beads - usually deployed between larger beads (3mm in size).

- Spherical Venetian glass beads

- Italian coral

- Bohemian crystal faceted beads

- Bohemian glass faceted beads, sometimes referred to as half-crystal because of their lower lead content. These were less expensive than the full crystal beads and were available in dozens of colors. They were often chemically treated to change the luster or iridescence. 

- Plastic beads – introduced to reduce the weight of pieces as they grew larger in the 1960s.

- Brass – used on clasps and as the backbone for more rigid pieces

How to Identify Genuine Vintage Coppola e Toppo Jewelry

Rigid designs

Fully rigid designs were common to the pieces that Lyda designed in the early 1950s. Flat brass plates were used as the rigid backbone for bracelets and necklaces onto which the beads were woven.

Rigid sections were present in many designs of Coppola e Toppo jewelry throughout the years, especially as central panels on necklaces. Multiple beaded strands would also often be connected onto rigid plates to stop the strands from tangling.

Coral beadings

The bright orange coral that was beaded onto the designs is particularly striking and was used on many of the Coppola e Toppo jewelry produced for Schiaparelli.

Fastenings and findings

Many necklaces had heart-shaped ends, beautifully beaded, to which the clasps would connect. Earring clips, mainly brass, featured a star-shaped cut-out.

Beading techniques

The beads are the standout element of all Coppola e Toppo jewelry. Various techniques were employed.  

Weft beading – an embroidery technique where four beads form a square shape, with multiple squares joined together to form a fabric of beads.

Conterie beads – the small glass beads that were often woven around larger beads to fill empty spaces.

Coppola e Toppo Jewelry - Relaunch

Years after the famed Italian fashion Jewelry company ceased operations in 1986 after the death of founder and designer, Lyda Toppo, jewelry lovers and collectors received wonderful news in 2020: the relaunch of the Coppola e Toppo jewelry.

The relaunched brand was backed by Italian businessman Pietro Paolo Longhitano and involved the head designer Rosella Jardini. 

They were aiming to maintain the techniques employed by Lyda for Coppola e Toppo jewelry and hope to use the company’s back catalogue to inspire the new pieces.

While costume Jewelry aficionados will be looking forward to the arrival of the new designs, the Coppola e Toppo jewelry vintage pieces are highly sought after on the collector’s market with some items fetching thousands at auction. 

Lyda Toppo once said it was, “grotesque to imagine that a piece of jewelry made fifty years before could be associated with a modern dress”. 

The new team will therefore surely strive for a certain level of originality with the reimagined Coppola e Toppo jewelry pieces.

Today, the bijoux and accessories by Coppola e Toppo are some of the most popular collectibles among collectors of vintage jewelry.

Read Our Interesting Facts Articles 

View our Collection of Antique & Vintage Jewelry 

 

Shop now