LEARNING ABOUT DECO JEWELRY by Stan Shelley

Posted on Monday, July 2nd, 2018 at 9:32 am by Shelley's

Most of what we learn about estate jewelry comes from reading or seminars.  But this time we are looking at a jewelry industry magazine from 1937.  The magazine is Jewelers’ Circular-Keystone which has been a leading trade magazine for decades – it is now known as JCK.

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By looking at this magazine we can learn a lot about latter 1930s jewelry. Here are some observations:

• There are a lot of watch ads. Watches at this time were a big part of a jewelry store’s business.  The magazine I am looking at is a May issue, so graduation is an important theme and watches were a traditional gift. Look at these ads for example of a Deco watches.

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• Jewelry clasps are very helpful in dating a piece.  Look at the ad below.  Knowing that this bracelet clasp was big news in the latter 30s helps us circa date bracelets.

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• Today pocket watch collectors love Simmons watch chains because they were so well made.  The Simmons Company was started in 1873 and some collectors mistakenly think all Simmons chains are from the nineteenth century.  Not so.  An ad in this magazine reminds us that the company made chains well into the twentieth century.

• A Mikimoto ad reminds us that what we call cultured pearls used to be called cultivated pearls.

• This ad shows us that diamond jewelry from the late Deco period usually had a compact design with not too much “air” or space in the piece.

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• This Oscar Heyman ad shows that this company, famous among collectors of signed jewelry, has always been a bit ahead of the crowd in their designs.

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• Silverware and china are also prominent among ads.  These made great gifts for June weddings

Those of us who study estate jewelry are always looking for little nuggets of information to add to our files of learning. An old jewelry magazine is just such a nugget.  At Shelley's Jewelry we have decades of experience with estate jewelry, but we are always trying to broaden our knowledge.



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