Top Vintage Jewelry Designers and Makers

Anyone can love vintage jewelry, but knowing where it came from is even more special. An item’s early past can make it even more special, whether it was a lucky find in an antique shop or has been passed down through the generations. Here is a full list of some of the most famous makers of old jewelry from history to help you learn more about your old jewelry. So I created a list of Top Vintage Jewelry Designers and Makers.

Identifying Vintage Jewelry Makers

The maker’s mark is the best way to find out who created or made a vintage piece of jewelry. A name or letters will most likely be engraved on the piece. Sometimes, you’ll only see a mark that says the name of the company that made the jewelry and not the creator. This might make it harder to guess the piece’s age or designer without doing more study.

Here’s my top 10 Jewelry Makers:


Chanel vintage engagement ring

The fashion jewelry trend began with Coco Chanel’s statement jewelry and accessories in the 1920s. These pieces were more artistic than expensive. Coco Chanel is a famous costume jewelry brand known for its beautiful brooches and, later, gold-plated and fake pearl pieces. Necklaces and other old Chanel items sell for several hundred dollars. To spot a Chanel item, look for the backward and forward “C” letters whose backs meet.

A 1980s Chanel brass cuff band was auctioned off for under $5,000. This Chanel piece was made by Maison Gripoix and was in great shape. It had a lot of red and green glass “chiclets” and diamonds that sparkled. It was easy to see that it was a Chanel item.


Boucheron vintage engagement ring

Boucheron showcased their clever, gorgeous, bold designs at international exhibits since 1858. The business designed fitted pink shagreen cases with geometric motifs for the 1925 Paris Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels. Siegelson’s bracelet has the last compartment.

This 1925 Paris Exposition bracelet is one of the most important jewelry pieces. According to Cleveland Museum of Art Curator of Decorative Art Stephen Harrison, Boucheron developed an outstanding bracelet of revolutionary Osmium studded with cabochon rubies, sapphires, and emeralds as bubbles floating in the water. This piece is innovative because of the geometric arrangement of stones surrounded by diamonds that seem to slip across the bracelet under the diamond edge of the panels. Colored jewels look striking against diagonal black enameled poles.

Paul Flato

Paul Flato vintage engagement ring

Paul Flato was Hollywood’s first celebrity jeweler. He built a Los Angeles store in 1937 after starting his business in 1928 in NYC. His figurative, often humorous style peaked in the 1930s when Adolph Kleaty, George Headley, and Fulco, Duke of Verdura made paintings for him. Flato fashioned feathers, hands holding flowers, and jewel-filled brooches with panache.

Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Vivien Leigh, Douglas Fairbanks, Laurence Olivier, and Orson Welles frequented his salons. His jewelry was worn by Katherine Hepburn in Holiday, Greta Garbo in Two-Faced Woman, and Rita Hayward in Blood and Sand.

Verdura turned a belt into a stunning aquamarine and ruby necklace. At a time when most jewelry was floral or geometric, this was impressive. The necklace looks like the belt is tied, so it can be worn centered or off to the side, as seen in Vogue in 1944.


Schiaparelli brooch

Elsa Schiaparelli did more than just make clothes. She also made costume jewelry. Her art was often Surrealist, and some of her best-known works were in the “Shocking Pink” range. Animals, big pieces, and themes from nature were also important. Pieces from after 1900 had her last name on them, while pieces from before 1900 did not. Schiaparelli stopped making jewelry in the 1950s, but it was still made until the 1970s when the company name and rights were sold. On eBay, most items sell for at least $40, and a lot of them sell for between $80 and $120. Sets cost more.


Boivin platinum ring

Jewelry and fashion royalty Jeanne Boivin took over Boivin after her husband died in 1917. She was a female director of the jewelry company and the sister of Paul Poiret, the 1910s and 1920s couturier who revolutionized fashion. Juliet Moutard and Suzanne Belperron collaborated with Jeanne. Some of the most important jewelry ever developed was sculptural and inspired by nature by these three women.

Jeanne said her favorite Boivin brooch was the starfish brooch. After winning the Oscar for “It Happened One Night,” 1930s Hollywood star Claudette Colbert bought this treasure. Period photos show her wearing the brooch.

Vogue photographed Millicent Rogers wearing a later version. Vogue published four Boivin starfish photos between 1937 and 1945, an unprecedented number for a fashion magazine.


Cartier rings

Cartier has made the most beautiful jewelry, frequently defining a period or style, mastering every substance and stone. The Cartier family dynasty produced everything from inexpensive silver tableware to beautiful jeweled pieces for maharajas and European aristocracy over a century.

Cartier employed top artisans and designers and provided a large library of art books and Persian miniatures for inspiration. An elite client bought this bracelet. The craftsmanship and design are stunning. Black lacquer modernizes, while the three-leaf motif recalls exotic decorative forms. The magnificent pearls and green emeralds stand out against the black-and-white tone. Only Cartier could have made this item, and as you hold it, you can see it is carefully considered and stunning.

Alfred Philippe

Alfred Philippe golden ring

Trifari made many pieces look like beautiful jewelry. Trifari crown pins and Jelly Belly animal brooches by Alfred Philippe are collectible today. Some items are sterling silver, others Trifanium. Philippe for Trifari pieces are collectible, says expert Judith Miller.

Liz Claiborne produces Trifari now. Its little crown mark became the name with the copyright or trademark emblem. Rare and well-preserved these pieces and collections sell for $600 to $2,000 or more at LiveAuctioneers and $50 to several hundred dollars on eBay.

A glittering fan-shaped jewelry “Fruit Salad” fur clip sold for $5,000 at auction. It had rhodium plating and fake moonstones from the 1930s. This approximately three-inch sculpture was in perfect shape almost a century after its creation.

Gérard Sandoz

Gérard Sandoz necklace

Gérard Sandoz only made his beautiful jewelry for a short time, from 1920 to 1931, when Art Deco was at its peak. He was a charming and restless person who liked going to parties at Maxim’s. Eventually, he quit his family’s jewelry business to make a living as an actor.

He only played around with geometric shapes in different materials, colors, and finishes, which he then put together to make a complicated layered shape. It’s the only thing like it.

Sandoz himself said, “You can make very pretty jewelry out of gold and terrible things out of rivers of diamonds.”

Jean Després

Jean Després gold rectangular ring

Born into a family of jewelers and forever changed by his time as an airplane designer during World War II, Després changed the way jewelry was made with his carefully crafted machine-inspired pieces, which he called “bijoux-moteurs.”

This band by Després is a famous example of Art Moderne design because it combines strong simplicity with a design that looks like it was made by a machine. The shape looks like the teeth of a big gear, and the band gets thinner as it goes around the wrist. This small change to the design shows that this big cuff is meant to be worn, and it looks great on the wrist, as seen in a shot from the time.

Jean Dunand

 rings and bracelets

Jean Dunand, a leading Art Deco designer, made lacquer furniture, ornamental objects, and jewelry. He was contracted to lacquer entire luxury rooms aboard ocean liners like the Normandie.

Dunand often included examples of his work in his portraits, decorative arts, and jewelry. The iconic and stunning image of his mentor Madame Agnes, which recently sold, shows her wearing a single giraffe necklace. Dunand’s Giraffe is a symbol of the 1920s shift from luxury materials to modern design.

Dunand’s muse, Josephine Baker, wore a similar model in a famous shot.

Final Thoughts

When looking for the best designers and makers of vintage jewelry, it’s important to value the skill, historical importance, and unique style of each piece. Designers like Georges and Jacques Lenfant, who are finally getting the credit they deserve for their detailed work, are the perfect example of how to make vintage jewelry. When it comes to identifying and valuing old costume jewelry, knowing about hallmarks and makers’ marks is very important. For collectors, tools like alphabetized lists and hallmark guides are very helpful.

Also, websites like the Antique Jewelry University have a lot of information about famous designers and their marks, which can help you appreciate old jewelry. Looking at old jewelry gives you a look into different times and lets collectors own items that represent the art and society of those times.

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