Miriam Haskell was a 20th century American costume jewelry designer whose work complimented high fashion of the day. She opened her first jewelry store in New York City in 1926 and produced jewelry through the 1960s. Haskell's creative director, Frank Hess, is usually credited as her main designer. There is some evidence that they worked in tandem, but whatever the creative breakdown, Hess was the man behind the woman. And together they created costume jewelry for celebrities and high society women.
One of her most loyal celebrity customers was Joan Crawford and it is thought that Crawford owned nearly every Haskell design.
From the internet. Captioned Joan Crawford Wearing Miriam Haskell Brooch
Crawford Wearing a Haskell Pearl Necklace, 1955
Miriam Haskell jewelry has a number of signature elements including:
- Gilt filigree findings
- Imitation pearls
- Austrian crystals
- Art glass
- Dyed wooden components
- Intricate handwork
These signature elements help the collector identify Haskell pieces as many pieces are not signed or hallmarked. As a general rule, pieces from the 1920 and 30s were not signed; some pieces from the 1940s were hallmarked and, from the 1950s forward, most were hallmarked.
Today Miriam Haskell pieces are very popular among collectors and can be found in the secondary market. Prices range from medium to high and of course are affected by condition and rarity.
Locket and Pendant Necklace
Imitation Pearls Necklace
STARTING A COLLECTION
If you're starting a collection, look for pieces that are free of corrosion on the metal. "Greenies" can be extremely difficult to clean. Also, look for pieces that have all the stones in place. Because many pieces were made with specialty stones, missing stones can be difficult to replace.
As Miriam Haskell aged and her health deteriorated, she lost the control of her business to her family. Many of her samples and archived materials were sold to help defray the costs of her care. She died in 1981 and is buried in Louisville, Kentucky.
- Miriam Haskell Jewelry by Cathy Gordon and Sheila Pamfiloff
- Costume Jewelry: The Jewels of Miriam Haskell by Deanna Farnetti Cera
To see what Miriam Haskell pieces are available for sale in my shop, just click here.
To see more examples of Haskell's work, visit my Pinterest page by clicking here.
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