Vintage Miriam Haskell Costume Jewelry

Miriam Haskell established her Miriam Haskell Company in New York City in 1926. From the get-go, her handcrafted floral-themed costume jewelry was a hit with the stylish women of Manhattan, who adored her intricate necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and pins. Haskell loved gilt findings and filigree, faux pearls, Austrian crystal beads, blown glass beads from the island of Murano, and, above all, rose montées

Unlike many of her contemporaries, Haskell was not a designer herself, but she was an excellent talent scout. Frank Hess was her first find. Where Macy’s saw only a hired hand to create its window displays, Haskell saw her young company’s first chief designer, a position Hess held from 1926 until 1960, when Robert F. Clark took over.

Perhaps because Haskell was not a designer, she almost never signed her pieces. Indeed, until 1950, when her brother Joseph took over the company due to Haskell’s health, about the only signed Haskells around were those sold at one New England shop that had agreed to carry the Haskell pieces on the condition that they were signed. Those pieces, which one Haskell family member estimates account for less than one percent of her pre-1950s output, came with a horseshoe-shaped plaque with Haskell’s name on it. Needless to say, they are very rare.

Some of the stars who loved Haskell jewelry included Lucille Ball, who wore Haskell pieces on her TV show. Joan Crawford was another loyal customer. She collected Haskells from the late 1930s through the 1960s. In 1978, a year after the actress’s death, her collection of vintage Haskell costume jewelry was auctioned off to great fanfare, partly because of Crawford’s reputation, of course, but also due to the quality of the pieces themselves.

Like a lot of collectibles, the value of a vintage piece of Miriam Haskell costume jewelry depends a great deal on its condition. Because her pieces are so intricate, it is difficult to replace a missing rhinestone or faux pearl. Look for metal that has not corroded and avoid pieces that have been chipped due to careless handling or wear.

Vintage necklaces are among her most sought work. Some have only a single strand of faux pearls. Others have multiple strands in matching or different sizes and hues — from traditional white to smoldering dark brown. Even the clasps are opportunities for embellishment, with pearls, rose montées, and filigree decorating their ends.

Bracelets are another favorite. Vintage Haskell bracelets often feature beaded flowers and leaves mounted on gilt or silvered hinged bangles. Other bangles are open at the back and many Haskell bracelets dispense with an armature altogether to remain loose and alluring...

Vintage Haskell earrings, either on their own or as matching pieces for a necklace, continue in the floral vein. The gilt, crystal, and pearl combos are considered the classics of this form. Finally, Haskell pins are perhaps the freest of all Haskell jewelry types. Besides the floral themes, Haskell pins incorporate a number of animal and shell designs.

Key terms for Vintage Haskell Costume Jewelry:

Rose montée: A precut crystal (the rose) mounted in a silver setting (the montée) that has either a tab with a hole in it or a channel in its back so that the mounted stone can be sewn to a garment or attached to a piece of jewelry. Comes in wide range of colors.

Finding: The functional part of a piece of jewelry such as the clasp on a necklace.

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Recent News: Miriam Haskell Costume Jewelry

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The 2015 Delaware Show
Maine Antique Digest, February 1st

There were several Philadelphia side chairs; Sullivan sold two that were in the Haskell sales in 1944-45 and pictured in the Girl Scouts exhibition catalog in 1929. ... maker), a portrait by a British artist of John Penn, William Penn's eldest son...Read more

Good Hunting: Natural Beauties
Garden & Gun Magazine, January 20th

HERS: The kaleidoscopic colors of nature come to life with this Miriam Haskell for Patch NYC winter-coat-ready beaded beetle brooch ($460; HIS: Like a pocket square, a lapel pin sets off a sharp jacket. These delicate fern designs...Read more

Lorraine's party pick & mix: Baked chicken pops with crispy breadcrumbs ...
Daily Mail, December 12th

Vin Diesel shares poster of eighth film in Fast & Furious franchise... and first made in full since death of Paul Walker A moving moment; Harry Potter actress and The Real Marigold Hotel star Miriam Margolyes: 'Aching' to go back to India because...Read more

Number of US children suffering ADHD jumps 43% in a decade
Daily Mail, December 9th

More than one in ten children and teenagers in the US suffer attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new study. That reflects a 43 per cent increase in ADHD diagnoses in schoolchildren – with spikes in diagnoses among girls...Read more

It is hard to lose weight because humans are designed to STORE fat
Daily Mail, December 8th

We are designed to seek food – our drive to do so is essential to our survival and we have a complex system to control this. Recent research shows that following weight loss, levels of circulating hormones which affect our appetite tend to promote over...Read more

Miriam Haskell's Charles James-inspired Jewelry Capsule Collection
Fashion Times, May 2nd

Charles James has inspired Miriam Haskell, the New York City-based costume jewelry brand, to create an 11-piece capsule collection where the pieces are sure to catch anyone's eye with their striking jet black look or the more delicate look of pure white...Read more

Miriam Haskell Releases Charles James-Inspired Met Ball Jewelry
Hollywood Reporter, April 30th

The 11-piece collection, priced between $350 to $4,400, features pieces such as earrings with hand-wired Swarovski pearls and crystals ($350) and an oxidized silver-plated brass necklace with hand-wired starburst motifs of Swarovski faceted crystal...Read more

Costume jeweller to the stars: Miriam Haskell, December 23rd

First and foremost, she could spot latent talent: the bold appointment of Frank Hess, a window dresser at Macy's, as chief designer of the Miriam Haskell Company, founded in 1926, was her first stroke of genius. ... Opening her first costume jewellery...Read more