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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Researching Costume Jewelry
Emerald City Vintage Costume Jewelry
Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry
All About Jewels Dictionary
Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery
Clubs & Associations
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Miriam Haskell Costume Jewelry
Source: Google News
'Vintage Glam' offers 1950s jewelry trendJakarta Post, March 14th
She also said her latest collection was inspired by American costume jewelry designer Miriam Haskell, who was known for her glamourous and detailed designs. The launch of the latest collection also marks EWA's 11-year journey in the fashion accessories ...Read more
Hats off to Fashion in Field hopefulsNew Zealand Herald, March 2nd
I had been given a Miriam Haskell necklace with vintage gold and pearl earrings and a bracelet from Love and Object, and held a vintage beaded clutch from Rue de Seine. By the time I had suffered my first embarrassment of the day - walking from my ...Read more
Find Your ChicPalm Springs Life, February 28th
Take notes on the newest styles from El Paseo Jewelers, Frasca Jewelers, BB One, BG's Eclectic, Diane's Beachwear, BeBe, She She, and Eileen Fisher, then pick up your favorites the next day. Wednesday, March 19. The day and night belong to Michael...Read more
Kovels on Antiques and Collectibles March 2014 Newsletter AvailablePR Web (press release), February 27th
A Trifari “jelly belly” fish pin sold for $100 at a Chicago costume jewelry auction, where some of the best pieces by well-known designers and companies topped $1,000. Vintage necklaces, earrings and pins by Chanel, Miriam Haskell, and others are...Read more