Elsa Schiaparelli jewelry designs are some of the most sought after and collectible costume jewelry pieces of the 20th century. Schiaparelli used high quality materials, fun color combinations, and wasn't afraid to be whimsical. Her jewelry was cutting-edge, avant-garde design in its day, and is a standard for creativity today.
Schiaparelli was born in Italy in 1890 and moved to Paris in the 1920s where she opened her first boutique. During World War II, she relocated to New York City and would eventually go back to Paris and then return once again to New York. During one period, she promoted her jewelry as "Designed in Paris, Created in America."
During the height of her popularity, she and Coco Chanel were primary forces in fashion and jewelry design and they were rivals. The two had boutiques in close proximity and both designers were popular with celebrities and fashion forward women around the world.
Schiaparelli coined the term "shocking pink" and created colorful clothing in a time when women mostly wore subdued colors. This was in sharp contrast to Chanel who at around the same time created "the little black dress." Their jewelry was also contrasting. Chanel pieces were understated with a dramatic, simple elegance while Schiaparelli created boisterous pieces in colors and shapes not previously seen.
Schiaparelli jewelry was made, for a period during the late 1940s, by the DeRosa Company. The Lisner Company also made some of her pieces and Lisner was the American distributor of her French-made designs.
SETS and PARURES
Schiaparelli jewelry can be found in the secondary marketplace. But buyers should be careful. Many pieces are not hallmarked, so it can be difficult to identify. In addition, because of its popularity, fakes and counterfeits are abundant. Hallmarked pieces read "Schiaparelli" and are clearly stamped and easy-to-read. Fakes are often hard to read; the letters scrunched together or the name curiously misspelled.
- Schiaparelli invented culottes - the controversial divided pants skirt
- She was the first designer to use brightly colored zippers
- She was the first to create and use figural buttons which resembled small brooches
- Her uncle was Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli who discovered the Canals of Mars
- Her name is pronounced SKAParelli, not SHAParelli
For an extra treat, here's the link to the September 21,1952 episode of What's My Line with Elsa Schiaparelli as the mystery guest. The Schiaparelli segment starts at the 15:50 mark.
Thank You to BillyBoy for use of some of his photos. For more info, check out his website:
Share this post