Miriam Haskell: “Colored glass necklaces, one for each outfit, are considered a necessity this year."
This promotional slogan is from a Miriam Haskell Jewelry print advertisement from the 1920s. Miriam Haskell was a forward thinking American jewelry designer, renowned for her innovative approach to advertising and marketing jewelry. She was perhaps one of the most enigmatic American designers of costume jewelry of the XX century. Miriam and her creative partner Frank Hess, who had been designing Macy’s windows displays before Miriam came along and offered him the life-changing opportunity, designed affordable jewelry pieces for over three decades. Miriam Haskell vintage jewelry items are eagerly sought after by collectors and fashionistas alike.
Jewelry Pieces That Are Iconic Yet Affordable
Miriam Haskell jewelry pieces were loved and worn by the biggest movies stars and influencers, as we now call them, of that time. The list of Miriam Haskell jewelry fans is endless, from Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball, to Gloria Vanderbilt and the Duchess of Windsor. Interestingly, Joan Crawford owned a set of almost every Haskell jewelry design ever produced during the entire duration of the four decades. Yet Mirriam Haskell costume jewelry was offered with a very affordable price tag, thus making them a staple for women from all walks of life.
Miriam Haskell vintage costume jewelry pieces were always handcrafted and mostly floral-themed. Her jewelry was an instant hit with the stylish, fashion-forward women of Manhattan. Miriam Haskell’s intricate necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and pins were seen in any and almost every possible social scenarios, from secretaries and librarians at work--because Haskell’s jewelry was that affordable--to socialites and royal family members hosting high society gatherings.
Miriam Haskell Jewelry Designs Showcases The Prettiest Of Materials and Gems
Haskell loved gilt findings and intricate filigree. She admitted on many occasions to be a huge fan of faux pearls, just like legendary CoCo Chanel. Haskell’s jewelry also gave a special spotlight to Austrian crystal beads, blown glass beads from the island of Murano, and rose montées. Rose montée is a precut crystal (the rose) mounted for the most part in a silver setting (the montée) that has either a tab with a hole in it or a channel on its back so that the mounted stone can be sewn to a garment or attached to a piece of jewelry.
These pretty pink, baby blue and other colors were highlighted further by real watercolors used on Miriam Haskell jewelry advertising. Larry Austin created a large percentage of Miriam Haskell’s jewelry ads for Vogue and other women’s magazines. He drew models wearing the jewelry from the newest collection and the models were dressed in colors that would support the colors of gems, glass beads, etc used in the jewelry set.
Any antique and vintage jewelry price certainly varies greatly depending on the jewelry condition. But it’s even more so for Haskell costume jewelry, because her jewelry pieces are so intricate, it is difficult to replace a missing rhinestone or a faux pearl and it's also not easy to find a jewelry repair shop who will take on the task of fixing such intricacies.
A Rare Case Of Not Having A Signature being a Sign Of The Jewelry Being Authentic
Because Miriam never considered herself a designer in a full sense of the word and because most of jewelry for the Miriam Haskell brand was conceived by Hess, Miriam seldom signed her jewelry. After World War II ended, Miriam found herself among the many people who were trying to find a way to restore their lives. Unfortunately, Miriam’s emotional and mental state had gradually deteriorated to the point where she couldn’t manage her jewelry label anymore. In the 1950’s, after her brother Joseph Haskell took over the business, he introduced the idea of having all Miriam Haskell jewelry be signed as such.
Today, antique jewelry dealers offer both not signed as well as signed Miriam Haskell vintage pieces. The signed jewelry pieces have a tell-tale horseshoe-shaped plaque with the words Miriam Haskell embossed on it. By some estimates the signed Miriam Haskell jewelry only account for less than one percent of her entire pre-1950s output.