Juliana costume jewelry was produced by DeLizza & Elster, which was founded in 1947 to manufacture everything from buttons and buckles to pins and pendants for such venerable costume jewelers as Hattie Carnegie, Hobe, Kenneth J. Lane, and Weiss.
In 1967, chief designer Frank DeLizza and business partner Harold Elster decided to create a brand of their own by placing paper tags with the Juliana trademark on some of their pieces. The brand lasted barely two years, but it became synonymous with DeLizza & Elster.
Vintage Juliana pieces (which include unlabeled pieces created before 1967 as well as those with Gloria and Tara hang tags) typically feature vibrantly colored rhinestones such as aurora borealis, clear crystals, faux hematite, and fake opals. Striking colors such as purple and teal or green and pink are routinely combined. In other Juliana pieces, large speckled (or "Easter egg") cabochons are set within rings of smaller, colored stones.
Unlike much of the vintage costume jewelry from this period, Juliana pieces are almost all stone, with very little metal showing. Cluster settings for brooches are popular. In addition to such basic stone cuts as pears, baguettes, ovals, and rounds, some of the more fancy vintage Juliana pieces have stones cut into the shapes of keystones, arrows, anchors, and hearts.
Brooch designs range from flat to domed to tiered, while earrings are arranged in clusters, cascades, or clumps with dangling jewels swinging free. Some pieces suggest natural forms like leaves on a branch, flowers, and crystals. Some pieces resemble birds; others looks like snowflakes or shooting stars. Milk glass is occasionally used as a cool accent or centerpiece, as are so-called watermelon rhinestones, which catch light and return a rainbow of colors to the beholder’s eye.
The hardware on vintage Juliana helps collectors identify real piece from fakes. Earrings are mostly clip-backed; screw backs are rare. Necklaces tend to be clasped with J-hooks, which allow the wearer to adjust the length. Light necklaces have single hooks, heavier ones use double hooks, and some hooks are even adorned with rhinestones in closed-back settings.
Juliana's vintage bracelets usually have fold-over clasps, some with ridges or stripes, some with arrow patterns, and some with rhinestones. Box-and-tongue clasps are used on flat-backed bracelets, clamper bracelets are hinged, and bracelets of all types frequently have safety chains...
Key terms for Vintage Juliana Costume Jewelry:
Cabochon: A stone that has been shaped and polished instead of faceted. It usually has a flat back and a shape that is round or oval.
Milk glass: An opaque glass, first made in Venice in the 16th century, that gets its rich white color from fluorite and tin dioxide.