Vintage 1950s Miriam Haskell necklace is a sophisticated Frank Hess designed multi-strand choker of gold faceted glass beads.
Miriam Haskell Necklace Details
- 10 strand necklace with faceted glass beads in pale gold.
- Oval beads in ribbed brass.
- Smaller spacers between the brass beads and on the each end of the glass beads
- Elaborate beaded extender and hook.
- Haskell was known for their elaborate clasps and this one does not disappoint.
- A signed collector’s piece.
Who Was Miriam Haskell
Miriam Haskell was one of the most important American costume companies of the 20th Century. Haskell, along with Coco Chanel was one of the rare women at the top of the jewelry industry. Haskell was born in 1899 to Russian immigrant parents, in Tell City, Indiana. After high school, she studied for three years at Chicago University.
Moving to New York City in 1924 with $500 in her pocket, she opened a jewelry boutique in 1926 in the McAlpin Hotel, now an apartment building, in Herald Square; plus, a second outlet within the year at West 57th Street. In the 1930s, the company moved to 392 Fifth Avenue. The principal designer was Frank Hess who created the company’s signature look of intricate, beaded necklaces and earrings. All handmade including elaborate tapestry beading.
Miriam Haskell was highly popular with Hollywood stars such as Lucille Ball as well as other celebrities including Gloria Vanderbilt, and the Duchess of Windsor. Joan Crawford is said to have owned a set of almost every Haskell ever produced, from the 1920s through the 1960s.
Haskell became ill and lost control of her company in 1950 to her brothers. In increasingly ill health, Miriam Haskell died in 1981. Frank Hess retired in 1960. The company has gone through several owners and still produces jewelry today. Designers after Hess include Peter Raines, Larry Vrba and, Millie Petronzio.
Vintage Miriam Haskell jewelry is highly desired by collectors. In addition, watercolor prints originally used for advertising, showing models wearing large Haskell pieces are also very collectible. Unfortunately, Haskell Jewelry was unsigned until the 1950s. As a result, many unsigned beaded items are misidentified as Haskell.
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