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Vintage Faux Jewelry Resurgence | Buy Online Including Eisenberg

Updated on August 28, 2015

Warning - this article is very addicting. You may end up obsessed and spend hours researching vintage jewelry - this is one of my addictions - love the variety, the exquisite craftsmanship, the various materials, the casual tones, the elegant tones, the glamour and glitter of rhinestone, the soft refined elegance of faux pearls, love the designer pieces, love the themed pieces.

I simply love vintage jewelry!

There is something romantic about fine vintage costume jewelry. If you hunt well, you can pick up great pieces that are kind to your checkbook and still make a great fashion statement. My favorite pieces are from the 1940s.

Journey with me as we review some of the top designers for costume jewelry from DeRosa, Eisenburg, Co Co Chanel to Weiss.  Visit the top sources for vintage jewelry.  And of course, watch some fun video on this fascinating and addicting habit.

Warmans' Vintage Jewelry Identification and Price Guide - photo courtesy of
Warmans' Vintage Jewelry Identification and Price Guide - photo courtesy of

Vintage Jewelry History

Vintage Costume Jewelry at the Lush Life Antiques

Designer or No Designer- Doesn't matter. Doesn't have to be Signed

There are a myriad of designers in the vintage faux market. I have included a great link which details how to determine the make with the mark on the vintage treasure. At the end of the day, the only thing that counts is your taste. If you love it - the back side is really of no consequence. The value you give it is what truly counts.

Find Your Favorite Fascination

Collect something personal to you. Vintage jewelry reminds me of my Mother and my Grandmother. It reminds me of times gone by or the good ole days. There are many different types of vintage jewelry from casual Bakelite, shell, metal to the high-level bling of rhinestones. Pick your pleasure and simply enjoy!

Seasonal Themes

One of my personal favorites is "Christmas tree pins" but this is because my Grandmother had a Christmas tree pin so that particular theme reminds me of her.

Other great seasonal themes that may enthall you are the various nature themes including seas life with shells and sea horses, etc...

Whatever you do - make it personal - that is the real fun of jewelry collecting. The signature/designer is not important - your jewelry just needs to reflect your taste, your personality.

Granny's Jewelry Box offers a wonderful selection of designers. This website is organized - pick your favorite designer - mine is DeRosa (my checkbook loves when I love something I cannot afford!) and you will be treated to some great eye candy.

Eisenberg Jewelry

Exquisite example of Eisenberg Jewelry with a classic bow pin done exuberently as is characteristic of Eisenberg
Exquisite example of Eisenberg Jewelry with a classic bow pin done exuberently as is characteristic of Eisenberg | Source

Eisenberg Jewelry

"The name Eisenberg is synonymous with all that glitters, the firm used only the best quality Austria crystals available. The glitter was for real and was expensive considering it was fake. A pin in the 1940s would cost then as much or more than the average worker made in one week. Quality was never the issue with making Eisenberg jewelry, the best plating and metals of the time went into the piece. It has become so popular that even the fake is being copied with the intent to deceive. Be sure of your dealer and educate yourself to look for the fake Eisenberg. The first jewelry made by the company was as accessories to the garments they made and it was not signed but was marked "Sterling" and came on the garment and in a blue velvet box inscribed Eisenberg & Sons Originals.

"Eisenberg Original" with "Eisenberg" in dot matrix semi print script and "Original" in Roman type print was first used in the mid 1930s, about 1934. Around the mid 1930s some of the jewelry was signed just Eisenberg and then "Eisenberg Original" ©, was continued to be used with out the dot matrix script print. Then just a script "E" in the early 1940s, about 1941 and was used either alone or with Eisenberg marks. "Eisenberg Ice" was used in the late 1940s, also the block style "E" smaller then the script E, was used in the mid to late 1940s and 1950s and again in the 1970s. "Eisenberg" in block lettering and old dot print, in the mid to late 1940s and very early 1950s. "Eisenberg Ice", "Eisenberg" "Eisenberg Ice" in script was used from 1970s on except for a period of about 10 years starting in 1975 when most all the jewelry made had no signature. Some of the jewelry they made in the 1960s and to 1990 carried no signature."


Learning About Vintage Jewelry

Great Source for History

A great source for the history of jewelry is Morning Glory Jewelry. They offer extensive photos, history along with patent numbers wherever pertinent.

CoCo Chanel

Various designs of CoCo Chanel jewelry
Various designs of CoCo Chanel jewelry | Source

The Coco Chanel Legacy

What was wonderful about Coco Chanel? From a fashion standpoint, the real question is what wasn't wonderful. From perfume to jewelry to purses to clothing, everything she did was distinctive. Yes, she is credited appropriately with the purse on a string or the should strap purse we know today. Yes, she has the extensive pearl necklaces and the belts. Her designs were large and very glitzy. Yet most of her designs were not fine jewelry, they were fashion - it was all about the style.

What I love most about her, is her exuberance for fashion, like Yogi Bera the famous baseball player who loved baseball and his many quotes live forever in history, Chanel has dozens upon dozens of quotes that showcase not just her talent but her love of fashion.

Coco Chanel Jewelry

Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel (19 August 1883 – 10 January 1971)[1] was a pioneering French fashion designer whose modernist philosophy, menswear-inspired fashions, and pursuit of expensive simplicity made her an important figure in 20th-century fashion. She was the founder of the famous fashion brand Chanel. Her extraordinary influence on fashion was such that she was the only person in the field to be named on TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people of the 20th century.[2]

CoCo Chanel Matrese Bracelets

CoCo Chanel Matrese Bracelets
CoCo Chanel Matrese Bracelets | Source

DeRosa Jewelry

rare signed DeRosa pin with pearls
rare signed DeRosa pin with pearls

DeRosa Jewelry

"DeRosa jewelry is known for its complex dimensional design, high quality components, translucent enameling and wonderful coloring. Ralph DeRosa jewelry designs tend to be florals, figurals, retro motifs, and designs inspired by the precious jewelry of the era. DeRosa jewelry is not easy to find, but is certainly worth the search. This New York City firm made jewelry from the mid-1930s until the 1970s, but like many jewelry makers, their 1940s jewelry is the best.

Hand painted illustrations from the De Rosa Jewelry Company were the first step in the design process. These miniature art works are from a collection of over 500 similar illustrations. Several are dated in the 1940s, and many have hand written notes about how each piece would be produced. They seem to have been done by several different artists, as the painting styles and designs vary. Where possible, finished jewelry pieces made from these or similar designs are also shown. Many jewelry designers never worked on paper first, but for those who did, these illustrations are illuminating as to the thought processes and design sense that went into the jewelry itself.

My thanks to the many jewelry lovers who have shared their De Rosa jewelry, both signed and unsigned examples. I have tried to match the actual jewelry with the closest illustrations and advertisements I currently own, and would be glad to received more De Rosa information to share on this page. I cannot confirm that all the unsigned pieces are indeed de Rosa, but comparisons to the illustrations are certainly interesting and has helped me identify several unsigned pieces."


beautiful DeRosa pin/brooch with bouquet of violets in pastel pinks and purple
beautiful DeRosa pin/brooch with bouquet of violets in pastel pinks and purple | Source

Ralph DeRosa

DeRosa founded in NY is best known for unsigned pieces of jewelry. Pieces signed by DeRosa are said to be very rare and extremely collectible. Their designs are often marked by a flow or an energy of natural flowers and branches with extensive use of pastel colors.

Weiss Jewelry

"The Weiss Jewelry Company was founded in New York in 1942 by a former Coro employee, Albert Weiss. The company flourished during the 1950s - 1960s period, offering high quality costume jewelry with Austrian rhinestones of exceptional quality and clarity. Vintage Weiss jewelry has somewhat traditional designs, including floral and figural jewelry. Weiss jewelry's beautiful rhinestone studded figural jewelry, such as Weiss butterflies and insects, is avidly sought by collectors. Also desirable is Weiss "black diamond" jewelry replicating the German smoky quartz, set in typical Weiss designs. Weiss jewelry, highly underrated and underpriced, is comparable to Eisenberg and Bogoff jewelry. Without a doubt, the Weiss jewelry company manufactured some of the most beautiful and appealing rhinestone jewelry of the post WWII era. Tags may also be marked A.W. Co. with the large central letter W in shape of a crown. After Albert's retirement, his son Michael took over the company. The firm ceased operations in the early 1970s. ( 1 ), p. 156

Below are two fabulous vintage Weiss Black Diamond parures. The Black Diamond series was created by Albert Weiss in the 1950s. The ad that ran in Vogue reads "Especially created for the smart new smokey-toned fashions. Distinctive grey Austrian rhinestones accented with tiny shimmering crystals designed by the pace-setter of fine jewelry, Albert Weiss". Fine jewelry designers have revived this combination in genuine black and white diamonds."


Black Diamond Series by Weiss

black diamond pin and earrings vintage jewelry set by Weiss
black diamond pin and earrings vintage jewelry set by Weiss | Source
beautiful pin and earring jewelry set by Weiss - best known for the black diamond series
beautiful pin and earring jewelry set by Weiss - best known for the black diamond series | Source

Albert Weiss

Weiss Jewelry became the jeweler of Hollywood. Known for extensive use of faux crystals. The production was prolific and very affordable. Like DeRosa, most pieces were not marked. More than likely you have seen their famous series called black diamond, a faux diamond in a smokey tone.

Researching the Jewelry Designer's Marks

Researching the jewelry designer's marks is a fascinating detective job - especially if you have this website with great photos of the typical markings. See Illusion Jewelry for more information.

Vintage Sources

These vintage sources are listed simply in alphabetical order.  All are terrific and I highly recommend visiting each website. 

As I stated at my opening, this is addicting, it is not a 10 minute fling. 

Take some time and simply enjoy.  The views and dreams are completely free!

Annie Sherman

"I love vintage costume jewelry and designing jewelry! It is in my blood. I must admit, I'm addicted to it. So, you can imagine how much I enjoy my jewelry business. It is my baby that I will always love, care and nurture.... As Elizabeth Taylor once said: "Beautiful jewelry is to be loved and not possessed, for we are all temporary custodians of beauty ..."
I live in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii."

Antiquing On Line

"Welcome to Antiquing On Line: Antique Jewelry & Vintage Jewelry! My first encounter with colorful quality costume jewelry was as a child when my Dad spoiled me with wonderful barrettes and necklaces, and later to elegant rings. That was some 50+ years ago and I'm still drawn to beautiful things ... classy, flashy, elegant."

Collector Index - CJTCI

"Costume Jewelry The Collectors Index known as CJTCI deals in a large assortment of vintage jewelry and antique collectible rhinestone jewelry. ...The names of Barclay, Coro, Trifari, Eisenberg, Napier, Hobe, Weiss, Kramer, Whiting Davis, Sarah Coventry and Lisner are just a few of the many designers jewelry items listed. Jewelry items decorated with high quality leaded glass paste sets to the colorful rhinestones that the American women fell in love with and treasured during the 1930s and 1940s."

Illusion Jewels

"Fashion Jewelry - Costume Jewelry - Vintage Jewelry at Illusion Jewels ashion jewelry is the perfect accessory and a wonderful way to express your personality. From vintage jewelry of the 1800's, Niello Siam Sterling and Mexican Sterling silver jewelry, to rhinestone necklaces and BoHo jewelry, you're sure to find costume jewelry you must have at Illusion Jewels. The talents of so many gifted people who dedicated themselves to the art of jewelry design are represented in fashion jewelry. Our large inventory of costume jewelry and extensive jewelry history features are a tribute to their dedication. Our collection includes vintage bracelets, brooches, earrings and necklaces, as well as Renaissance style jewelry created by Dorothea. Pieces range from the well known and readily available to rarer items, with affordable jewelry for every budget." NOTE: This is the site for the research of designer's marks.

Michelles Vintage Jewelry

"My name is Michelle and this is our sixth year online. Michelle's Vintage Jewelry is based in Minnesota. I have been an antique picker for the past 12 years, selling in several local shops. I love the look and feel of vintage jewelry and vintage accessories and wear my jewels with my jeans, or when I dress for an occasion... Here I am, wearing my mother's Van Dell roses necklace and earrings set."

Morning Glory Antiques

"Welcome to the beauty, history and art that is vintage jewelry. We buy and sell vintage costume, designer, bakelite and Victorian jewelry, purses and accessories."

Vintage Jewelry - The Collecting is Fun - The Hunt is Fun Too!

The great thing about vintage jewelry is not just the collecting but it is also the hunt!  Finding the right piece that suits your personality or special outfit, finding a piece that reminds you of a special friend/relative, or collecting a themed collection. 

The joy of vintage jewelry is in the adventure!  Happy Hunting!


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