Livin' La VIda Vintage means celebrating vintage style in fashion, design and life.

Vintage Jewelry by Kramer

Vintage Jewelry by Kramer

on Nov 9, 2014

Vintage Jewelry by Kramer

It’s the start of week two in Madge’s quest to write a blog post every day in November for National Blog Posting Month.  Check out the official site on BlogHer, and then come back often to see how Madge is doing.

 

Vintage Jewelry by Kramer

 

When someone mentions vintage costume jewelry, probably what comes to mind for many of us are the fabulous rhinestone laden pieces of the 1950s.  One of the foremost names in this classic jewelry style was Kramer.

 

Jewelry by Kramer

Fabulous Kramer ad from 1951 featuring The Diamond Look

 

Louis Kramer founded Kramer Jewelry Creations, Inc. in 1943.  His two brothers Harry and Morris arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and ran the business aspects of the company allowing Louis to concentrate on jewelry design   At a time when many costume jewelry manufacturers were located in Providence, Rhode Island, Kramer made their home in New York City.   While they designed all of their pieces, frequently the actual manufacture was jobbed out to other companies such as Delizza & Elster.

 

Jewelry by Kramer

Kramer New York brooch with bronze rhinestones

 

The company was best known for their parures (sets) and demi parures of high-quality rhinestones, usually Austrian.  Other materials such as art glass were sometimes incorporated into the designs.  They also designed jewelry for other companies, most notably Dior in the 1950s and 60s and Geoffrey Beene in the 1970s.

 

Jewelry by Kramer

Stunning demi parure bracelet & earrings set from HipCricket

 

Jewelry by Kramer

Austria brooch with rhinestones & porphyr art glass

 

In addition to their classic pieces, another style associated with Kramer were their fabulous floral brooches in rhinestones and/or enamel.

 

Jewelry by Kramer

Milk Glass Floral Brooch & Earrings set

 

In the construction of the their jewelry, the rhinestones were usually prong-set.  The backs of earlier pieces were either plated with gold or rhodium which is a shiny silver-colored metal.   Later pieces in the 60s and 70s had textured backs rather than smooth.

 

Jewelry by Kramer

This 70s gold metal piece may be worn either as a brooch or a pendant. Unusual fabric embroidered center.

 

There are several general rules for dating costume jewelry that can be applied to Kramer and many other companies.  Prior to 1955 jewelry makers were not able to use copyright law to protect their designs.  So any piece marked with a © is later than 1955. Sometimes jewelry companies placed design patents on their pieces prior to that date as copy protection.  These numbers are searchable online and show the date the patent was granted which will give you the earliest date a piece might be made. Design patent numbers start with a D.  Sometimes the patent number is for a mechanism, such as an earring back, rather than the design.  These are called utility patents and these numbers are also searchable.  Bear in mind, however, when searching a utility patent, companies usually used mechanisms for longer periods of time.   Metal was rationed during WWII so costume jewelry companies used sterling silver instead and those pieces are marked as such during that time period.

 

Jewelry by Kramer

Brooch Design Patent from 1949

 

When dating Kramer Jewelry it is helpful to know the marks used by the company.  These marks include Kramer, Kramer of NY, and Kramer of New York.  Rarer marks include Kramer Austria, Kramer Sterling, the Diamond Look and the Golden Look.  Kramer also made a second jewelry line in the 1960s called Amourelle, designed by Frank Hess who came to the company from Miriam Haskell. The Amourelle pieces are very reminiscent of Haskell pieces of the same vintage.

 

Dior pieces are usually marked Christian Dior by Kramer.  You may also see Dior by Kramer or Kramer for Dior.  The Beene pieces are marked in an oval with Kramer© in the middle of Geoffrey Beene.

 

Jewelry by Kramer

Kramer for Dior Ruby Red Rhinestone Bracelet from VintageinBloom

 

Unfortunately many of the companies pieces in the 1950s and 60s were unmarked and were only identified with a paper hangtag, now long gone.

 

Some of the company’s marks that are helpful in dating their pieces:

Kramer and Kramer Patent Pending  – prior to 1955.

The Diamond look late 40s – 1950s.

The Golden Look – 1950s

Dior marks 1950s – 60s

Amourelle – 1960s

Geoffrey Beene – 1970s

IllusionJewels.com is a fabulous online shop for vintage jewelry and she also runs a jewelry marks reference guide.  Here are some examples of Kramer marks from her site.

 

Like many other American costume jewelry companies, Kramer found it increasingly hard to compete with cheaper imports and the company closed at some point in 1979 or 1980.   If you are interested in collecting costume jewelry Kramer is a good place to start as it fairly easy to find and is of such high quality.   There is so much variety in Kramer jewelry you are sure to find something to your individual taste.  If you find one of the rarer marks such as Geoffrey Beene sure to snatch it up before Madge does.

 

Vintage Kramer Jewelry available at MadgesHatbox.

 

See you tomorrow,

 

Love and Hats

    4 Comments

  1. Great post on one of my favorite costume jewelry companies! Sharing to the Reference Link Guide:)

    Pam WhimsicalVintage

    November 10, 2014

  2. Love your posts! I look forward to each one-they have been enjoyable and very informative! I am definitely saving them 🙂

    Valerie Birch

    November 10, 2014

  3. Fantastic article/blog and very well researched too! Informative and clearly a topic of great affection for you! Beautiful jewels illustrating the piece as well! May I say thank you? Thank you!
    Andrea
    HipCricket on Etsy

    Andrea Nelis

    November 12, 2014

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