Sunday, August 16, 2009

Glamorous Glitz: Eisenberg Jewelry

Jonas Eisenberg immigrated to the United States in 1880 from his native Austria. Settling in Chicago, he founded his fashion company in 1914. Eisenberg & Sons designed, made and sold high quality ready-to-wear clothing. Around 1930, to enhance the sale of dresses, they introduced jewelry accents. The jewelry was sold with the garment, but was also sold individually in a blue velvet box marked Eisenberg & Sons Originals.

The jewelry was so popular that Eisenberg stopped selling clothing in 1958 and concentrated just on the jewelry. The spectacular costume jewelry was probably the best produced during its heyday. These large, ostentatious jewels have become the definitive statement of crystal rhinestone jewelry. Eisenberg employed only the finest workmanship and materials available. They used Swarovski Austrian crystals and rhinestones, the best plating and metalworking techniques available, and other high quality materials that made their jewelry expensive even when originally marketed. This attention to detail has been recognized in the collectible market, as Eisenberg pieces are highly sought after by vintage costume jewelry collectors.

Much of the early Eisenberg pieces were not marked, as they were considered a part of the garment or packaged in an Eisenberg box. Those that were marked, bore the logo EISENBERG ORIGINAL, the same as on the dresses. In WWII the base metals used for making jewelry were reserved for military use, so items made in the mid-1940s were marked Sterling. A number of marks have followed, with EISENBERG ICE being introduced in 1945. A script form of Eisenberg Ice was used from 1970 onward. For a fairly extensive listing of the Eisenberg marks, see Researching Costume Jewelry.

Eisenberg is still making jewelry today, although under different ownership. The new Eisenberg Ice production continues many of the same high quality standards set by Jonas Eisenberg and his sons many years ago.

Eisenberg jewelry comes in many colors and styles. For this gallery I have kept to the clear crystal variety. Most of these are available in our shop, some are listed online. Click on the photo to see more information about the ones that are available online.

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