As a collector and seller of vintage costume jewelry, I'm always on the lookout for great looking pieces that aren't ridiculously expensive. Some of the high-end jewelry designers/manufacturers are Alice Caviness, Vendome, Givenchy, Juliana, Eisenberg, Kramer, Miriam Haskell, Bogoff and Weiss (there are more, of course) and individual pieces are getting more and more expensive. Well, sellers are ASKING higher prices, which doesn't actually mean they're getting them. Sometimes you can stumble upon a piece of Juliana or Kramer when buying a large lot of costume jewelry, but then you're stuck with a bunch of stuff you don't need and can't sell. So, unless you're willing (and able) to fork over several hundred dollars for what is called a "high-end lot", which will reduce your price-per-item costs, you're pretty well stuck in the mid-ranges.
Many of you older-ISH gals (and guys) may remember your mothers/grandmothers/aunties hosting or attending Sarah Coventry home jewelry parties, and I'm sure many vintage costume jewelry collectors have several pieces. Much of it is pedestrian, but it was fairly inexpensive and you got the added dividend of squealing over jewelry while eating tea sandwiches and little pastries with your female family and friends.
What a lot of collectors don't know is that Charles H. Stuart, the founder of the Sarah Coventry line, also had another company selling jewelry at home parties known as the Emmons Jewelry Company. He named the Sarah Coventry line after his daughter, and named the Emmons line after his wife, Caroline (Emmons) Stuart.
The Emmons Jewelry Company, located in New York City, started in 1949 and did business until 1981. Early representatives were all men, but by the 1950's women were mainly showing the lines with the home party plan.
There are some fantastic Sarah Coventry pieces, of course, but the Emmons line was very well made and good looking (meaning, to me, more rhinestones!). In general, the Emmons line was more expensive than the Coventry line, but certainly still affordable back in the day. Since Emmons pieces are harder to find than Coventry, occasionally they command higher prices in today's market, but they are generally still within range for me. Since I'm pretty good at replacing stones (you get a lot of practice when you collect vintage jewelry), I'm now starting to buy pieces that I know are missing stones since once the seller admits it, the price adjusts accordingly. It may take me awhile to find the right stones, of course, so I have several "works in progress". Finding sets, like the ones above and below, at a good price is my goal, and I think I'm doing fairly well. Emmons was very good about marking their jewelry--the early mark in 1949 was EmJ, and the later mark was simply Emmons. Emmons was big on using pearls (both faux and real) in their designs and the line was also known for the interesting texturing on the jewelry. For me, though, it's all about the bling--and the set below just really takes my breath away!
All of the sets shown here are from my collection--I'm going to enjoy them for a little while longer and then they will go to my NEW DISPLAY CASES at Art & Antiques On 4th in Slidell, Louisiana! Of course I'll continue with my booth at the Barze' Place Antique Mall in my town--that's where I sell my glass and pottery, but I felt some of the costume jewelry would show (and sell) better at a smaller venue. I'll also be showcasing my lovelies at the Slidell Historical Antiques Association Olde Town Street Fair October 29th & 30th.
Cuz the more I sell, the more new stuff I can buy!!!!!