One of and most would say the best-known American Jeweler was Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) son of Charles Tiffany. And just as Charles Tiffany had a penchant for knowing the needs of antique jewelry of his generation, so also did his son sense the needs of vintage jewelry for his contemporaries. And unsurprisingly as each new generation very often wants a change to stamp their own 'personality' on their times; there was a change in the styles and designs of Vintage Jewelry, between the Father and sons' generations.
The Associated Artists Company
Louis Tiffany had studied both at home and abroad and had traveled extensively in both Europe and North Africa. At thirty-one Louis instead of continuing in the family business opened his own firm, 'Associated Artists'; with the idea of elevating designs in vintage jewelry to the level of a piece of artwork. Louis Tiffany's firm did not just make vintage jewelry and cater to a wealthy, international clientele; he also considered the aesthetic needs of the ordinary American people and was heard to say he preferred the everyday American to: 'the king, the noble, the millionaire.'
This was both an astute as well as a philosophical, decision. The American middle classes were more affluent than ever before and had a desire for beautiful pieces of wearable vintage jewelry pieces, including brooches and custom rings. Louis offered the American public a wide range of very special vintage jewelry pieces, also introducing a new medium in the pieces, making plique-à-jour, stained glass enamel, very popular. In the late 1890's he established two Vintage Jewelry workshops, which he staffed with vintage jewelers, who were repousse workers, enamelers and etchers all under the supervision of his head enamelist, Julia Munson; and for two years Louis devoted himself to the creation of enameled vintage jewelry.
Tiffany & Co’s Artistic Jewelry Dept
His Vintage Jewelry designs were so successful and popular Tiffany & Co. devoted the sixth floor of its flagship store on Fifth Avenue to Louis Estate Jewelry designs, calling it the 'Artistic Jewelry Department', and in 1905 the appointed Louis Comfort Tiffany its director. Here at Beverley R Jewelry in downtown Chicago we have a large selection of Vintage & Estate Jewelry, rings and bracelets from the eras of both Charles and Louis Comfort Tiffany, including signed pieces, by many of the well-known and famous antique jewelry makers and designers. Our store features professional staff who have expert knowledge of all Vintage Jewelry Periods, which they can use to guide you when purchasing that special vintage jewelry piece for both the special occasions, and the everyday wear, which sets the wearer out from the crowd.
Marcus & Co. Jewelers
Another fine vintage jewelry designer from this period was Marcus & Co.; Herman Marcus was a former associate of Charles Tiffany. Herman had a European background, and was aware that in Europe, antique jewelry Victorian and Etruscan styles were becoming less popular, and in its place had come an unexpected enthusiasm for Art Nouveau Jewelry, with its floral patterns and looks inspired by nature. Marcus & Co, sent some of their jewelers to Paris to study plique-à-jour enameling under Renee Lalique.
In the latter part of the nineteenth century, American vintage jewelers also became aware of the Aesthetic Movement in England, and they adopted some of their vintage jewelry motifs. A strange mixture of influences converged on vintage jewelry in this period, and consequently at the dawn of the twentieth century, designs for American estate and vintage jewelry became dominated by flowers, flies, bugs, bees, butterflies, lizards, sunbursts, and spiders. Along with mystical creatures like fairies. Applying these pieces of vintage jewelry with painted enamels, became a popular form of American decoration. The enamel was painted over a white base, with coloring gradually, building up over several of layers.
Jewelry in the 1900’s
By 1910 American Vintage Jewelry, was being covered by most American fashion magazines. Vogue became an arbiter of fashion in the United States. Vogue's publisher and owner Conde Nast, directed his publication toward women of wealth and distinction, and began to entice manufacturers of luxury items to advertise in its pages. Fine vintage jewelers, who had never considered this form of publicity, were soon advertising as well as featuring their vintage jewelry in Vogue, knowing they would reach their clientele.
The financial panic of 1907 also hit American Vintage Jewelers hard, and this was a contributing factor for smaller pieces of estate jewelry, utilizing semi-precious stones.
In American fashion, the concept of vintage jewelry costuming soon evolved into more than just matching the color of a stone or enamel with a garment; it became the act of accessorizing an outfit with rings, brooches, necklaces, hair ornaments and earrings. The art of wearing vintage jewelry properly was demonstrated in a series of fully illustrated articles in The Jewelers' Circular and Horological Review, in 1915. The series was entitled "First Principles in the Wearing of Jewelry: The Opening of An Educational Campaign That Will Help the Public and Benefit the Jeweler". This series was followed in 1916 by one entitled "The Latest Gowns and their Appropriate Adornment: How to Choose the Jewels to Accompany the Fall Wardrobe". Different articles continued through 1917, and they contributed to the vogue for the discerning vintage Jewelry wearer.
Find Exceptional Vintage Jewelry in Chicago
At Beverley R Jewelry in downtown Chicago, we have many different pieces of unique and exceptional quality jewelry to accessorize any outfit, from the more formal ballgown, to the lighter cocktail dress, or for the more everyday wear, requiring more casual pieces of Jewelry. At Beverley R Jewelry, we have all the different pieces of antique and vintage jewelry, to help you have a unique look and to stand out from the crowd in whatever style of outfit you are attired in.