Earrings are the ultimate eye-catchers, and sparkly vintage costume jewelry earrings are the classic shiny objects. Some were designed with matching pins or necklaces; others were made to stand on their own as accents to an outfit. Either way, because of their small size, earrings are often one of the most affordable ways to begin a collection of vintage costume jewelry.
Miriam Haskell was one costume jeweler who excelled at earrings that augmented the looks of her famous necklaces, many of which had rich, luxurious floral designs. Her gilt, crystal, and pearl earrings are considered signature pieces. Eisenberg & Sons produced sterling silver earrings set with a type of quartz called citrine, which Eisenberg called “Topaz quartz.”
The hardware on vintage Juliana earrings helps collectors identify real pieces from fakes. Most Juliana earrings had clip backs; screw backs are rare, so choose those carefully. Juliana earrings were arranged in clusters, cascades, or clumps with dangling jewels swinging free. Some pieces suggested natural forms like leaves on a branch, flowers, and crystals, others resembled birds, snowflakes, or shooting stars.
Although Coro’s Corocraft and Vendome lines were famous for their Jelly Belly pins, many were sold with matching earrings—one pair had delicate blue-and-white Lucite petals atop verdant-green Lucite leaves.
Regardless of the manufacturer, most costume jewelry earrings conformed to a relatively small number of major configurations. There were the oval earrings, whose faux stones were surrounded by gilt metal or rings of set rhinestones. Cluster earrings grouped stones and faux pearls in tight knots, hoops gave designers circular armatures to decorate, and pendant earrings added movement to a woman’s outfit.
Crystal earrings were especially popular. Some of these danglers resembled miniature chandeliers, others were embellished with silver charms, like the kind found on bracelets. There were even Victorian-like cameo earrings surrounded by detailed brass filigree, as well as simple, round faux pearl earrings, which had a more graphic, modern look.