When I first started collecting vintage costume jewelry, I was drawn to what I considered objects of art by Henry Schreiner. Based in New York City, he designed magnificent costume jewelry from the 1950s through the ’70s. His jewels catered to the stars and such couture houses as Dior and Balenciaga. These “gems” were produced in small runs and are coveted today by collectors and fashionistas the world over.
What interests me about Schreiner Jewelry is its unusual construction, settings, and color combos. This brooch, for example, is two inches high. It consists of Schreiner’s signature inverted stone setting, in which the facets of crystals are shown rather than the flat surface. This enables light to catch these amazing stones. The hook-and-eye construction gives each layer structural integrity. And the color combination is daring, very “outside the box!” Schreiner also used the prong settings as part of the overall design, creating “fleur-de-lis” as well as large “tooth” prongs to hold the stones in place. The construction is an integral part of what makes Schreiner jewelry so special.
There were few designers during that period who were as creative in both their design and construction. Schreiner was truly unique, a master of masterpieces!