Book Review – Collecting Costume Jewelry 202
Author Julia C. Carroll’s “Collecting Costume Jewelry 202″ follows her comprehensive first volume, Collecting Costume Jewelry 101
This identification review collections
and value guide covers the basics of dating jewelry from 1935-1980. It’s full of hundreds of photographs and drawings, plus patent information and designer profiles.
Six methods for dating costume jewelry are explored in detail, with illustrations and examples, to help collectors answer the question, “How old is this piece?”
- Dating jewelry from the maker’s dates of operation and the maker’s signature
Knowing when a manufacturer or designer produced their jewelry places the piece within a specific date range. A manufacturer and marks chart in an appendix at the back of the book provides dates of operation for most collectible costume jewelry.
The copyright symbol, ©, was used after 1955, when Trifari won a lawsuit against a company that had pirated one of Trifari’s designs. After 1955 most manufacturers ceased their prior practice of patenting designs and instead began copyrighting them.
Jewelry makers sometimes changed the design of their signature, or used a completely new signature. For example, “KTF” is an early Trifari signature from 1935 to 1938, when it was discontinued – but in 1954 “KTF” was used again, this time with a crown over the “T”. Variations in the signatures can be valuable tools for dating costume jewelry.
Sometimes makers added the year of manufacture or inventory numbers to their pieces. During World War II some makers used sterling silver since other metals were needed for the war effort. Pieces made between 1943 and 1948 are signed with the maker’s mark and “sterling”.
- Dating jewelry using patent information
Utility patents were issued for the mechanics and practical aspects of jewelry. Design patents were used to protect the designer’s creation of the piece of jewelry. Both contain detailed illustrations, and each type of patent is numbered and dated. The extensive appendix to the book has a Designers Chart that lists well-known jewelry makers and the designers who created jewelry for them. If you can find a patent number or date on your piece of jewelry, you may be able to date it using the chart.
- Dating jewelry by reviewing vintage advertisements
Vintage advertisements are a wonderful way to date vintage costume jewelry, and it’s fun to read through them. This book contains over 160 advertisements for dozens of makers, spanning the years 1943-1982. These beautifully illustrated ads not only show of the jewelry, but also show how it was worn. Vintage ads can be found in books, old magazines and catalogs, and can also be purchased individually on line. If you’re lucky enough to find your jewelry in a vintage advertisement, you’ll know for sure when it was made, or at least when it was sold. You can also look for pieces that are similar to or coordinate with yours.
- Dating jewelry by the style or design of the piece