Thursday, October 27, 2011

Glamorous Glitz: Weiss Fashion Jewelry

The Weiss Company, started by Albert Weiss on 5th Avenue in New York City, sold jewelry from about 1942 to 1971. He had learned a lot about the costume jewelry business as a designer for Coro in the 1930s. Weiss offered high quality costume jewelry at several price points and all of it is quite collectible today. 
1954 Weiss ad in Vogue magazine (Courtesy
1959 Weiss Ad (Courtesy
Weiss Crystal Demi-parure (Earrings $45; Necklace Sold)
The focus of Weiss' designs were the stones, the glitz not the metal work. Some of Weiss’ 1950s and 1960s clear rhinestone pieces share a look with Eisenberg pieces of the same era. Weiss used high quality brilliant rhinestones and Austrian crystals, which is why so many of their pieces look as good today as the day they were fashioned. Weiss is known for using smoky rhinestones, which they called black diamonds, Japanned or blackened metal findings and was one of the first to use Swarovski’s polychromatic aurora borealis crystals in the late-1950s.

Albert Weiss designed or approved virtually all of their jewelry, but manufactured only a part of it. Some items were made for Weiss by Hollycraft, including the trademark Christmas trees. Desirable pieces sought after by collectors are the beautiful rhinestone-studded figural jewelry that includes the Weiss butterflies and insects.
Weiss Highly Collectible Christmas Tree Pins (Private Collection)
The company's first pieces were signed “Weiss” in block letters or script, either on an applied plate or stamped directly into the metal. They were also signed “Albert Weiss” or "A.W. Co.", a signature that appeared sometime in 1951.
Typical Weiss Jewelry Marks
Weiss Classic Butterfly Brooch ($95); Hard-to-find Weiss Flower Brooch ($165)
Weiss Brooches from the 1950s & 1960s ($69 to $95 each)
Weiss Lucite Clamp Bracelet with Crystal Rhinestones (Sold)
We have a very nice selection of Weiss jewelry available in Vintages, both in the shop and online. Here is a selection of the items that we have at the time of this post.
Weiss Crystal Brooch & Earring Set 1950s ($125 for the set)

Weiss Crystal, Rhinestone & Lucite Brooch & Earring Set ($125 for the set)

Weiss Yellow Crystal Domed Brooch c1950 ($95)

Weiss Brooch with Green Crystals and Black Baroque Pearls 1950s ($95)

Weiss Black Diamond Crystal Brooch & Earring Set ($95)

Be aware that fake Weiss pieces entered the market from Mexico in the late-1980s and are difficult to distinguish from the genuine pieces. One clue is that many of the fake Weiss pieces have a textured back, while with few exceptions Weiss pieces have a smooth, shiny rhodium-plated back. A new line of Weiss jewelry is being offered today by a group that has bought the rights to the name and trademarks called the Albert Weiss Collection.

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