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The Story Behind the Jewelry: Simple Gold Bar & Simulated Pearl Drop Earrings

Updated: Aug 14, 2021

These simple and elegant gold bar and simulated pearl drop earrings are my small tribute to an innovative American businesswoman who forever changed the costume jewelry industry. Read below for the story behind the jewelry.

Pictured above: Sunny Pearl Drop Earrings (made from vintage Miriam Haskell pearls and gold plated stainless steel bar post settings)

Today I will be delving into the interesting story behind the materials I used to make the Sunny Pearl Drop Earrings (pictured above). These earrings are truly special to me, not only due to their high-quality materials, but also due to the fact that they were inspired by a talented businesswoman who forever changed the costume jewelry industry.

Wearing these beautiful earrings is like wearing a little piece of history... that is, jewelry history! They feature vintage faux pearl glass beads that were made by the namesake company of Miriam Haskell, a famous American costume jewelry designer who opened her first boutique in the McAlpin Hotel in New York City in 1926. It is still debated as to how many pieces she may have designed herself, but most believe that the majority of her pieces were the vision of the other designers she hired (to which she gave the credit). Some of these designers included Frank Hess, Robert Clark, Peter Raines, and Lawrence Vrba. One thing that is clear, however, is that she was an exceptional businesswoman. Over a fairly short period, Haskell was able to expand the company from a single boutique catering mostly to the women of Manhattan to offering her jewelry pieces in a large number of higher-end department stores at various locations throughout the U.S.

Haskell's jewelry was so beloved that even movie stars and celebrities like Lucille Ball, Joan Crawford, and Gloria Vanderbilt began wearing and collecting it. Hollywood stars were soon traveling to New York for private jewelry showings so they could purchase pieces, and the jewelry tended to reflect the high-fashion tastes of her famous clients. In fact, it was reported that Lucille Ball even wore a piece of Haskell jewelry on her TV show.

The Miriam Haskell company continued to expand for the subsequent decades. Haskell retired from her company at some point in the 1950s and died in 1981. To the best of my knowledge, her company still exists today, although the brand focused on lower-cost mass produced pieces in the more recent decades (with a line under the name "M Haskell." Vintage jewelry collectors are wary of the later pieces because most consider them to be much lower quality than the vintage pieces (and thus, offered at a much lower price point). The older Haskell jewelry commands a high price among today's collectors and is highly prized for its superior level of craftsmanship.

Most vintage collectors would likely say that faux pearls are what comes to mind first when they think of Miriam Haskell's jewelry. The Haskell company used high-quality coated glass pearls, including seed pearl beads and baroque style pearls that were first imported from what was known as Bohemia (in the 1930s) and then Japan (after WWII).Unfortunately, I do not know the exact age of the glass pearl beads used in the pictured earrings, but they are vintage coated glass pearl Haskell beads that feature the signature luster that is so unique to her brand. These beads are difficult to find, and I purchased them from a vintage/antique jewelry collector who sells loose vintage beads and other jewelry findings for artisans. No in tact jewelry pieces were destroyed in the making of them, and the beads were most likely removed from pieces of old broken jewelry.

Where to Purchase:

You can purchase these earrings HERE in my Etsy shop! Due to the rare nature of these vintage pearls, they are available only in limited quantities.


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