Saturday, September 20, 2014

Miriam Haskell

Miriam Haskell Gold Gilt Brooch/

Miriam Haskell (July 1, 1899 – July 14, 1981) was an American designer of costume jewelry. With creative partner Frank Hess, she designed affordable pieces from 1920 through the 1960s. Her vintage items are eagerly collected and her namesake company continues.
Born in a small town across in Indiansto a Russian Jewish immigrant parents , 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 old McAlpin Hotel, and a second outlet within the year at West 57th Street. Frank Hess joined her business the same year. Despite some controversy concerning the extent to which the jewelry designs are Haskell's or Hess's , the two worked together until Miriam left the company; Hess continued to design for many years afterwards. In the 1930s, the company relocated to 392 Fifth Avenue; their affordable art glassstrass (diamond imitation,rhinestone), and gold-plate parures 
( set of jewels intended to be worn together)  were popular throughout the Great Depression, and the company went on to open boutiques at Saks Fifth Avenue and Burdine's, as well as stores in Miami and London. The Saks shop also offered pieces by Chanel.

Miriam Haskell, in the Thirties, courtesy of Malcolm H. Dubin, Cincinnati.
On courtesy of:

Miriam Haskell jewelry was worn for publicity shots, films, and personal use by movie stars Joan 
crawford and Lucille Ball, as well as by Gloria Vanderbilt and the Duchess of Windsor. Crawford owned a set of almost every Haskell ever produced, from the 1920s through the 1960s.
Her vintage pieces can command high prices from collectors. However, her jewellery was seldom signed before 1950, it was her brother Joseph Haskell who introduced the first regularly signed Miriam Haskell jewellery. For a very short time during the 1940s, a shop in New England did request all pieces they received be signed by Miriam - this signature being a horseshoe-shaped plaque with Miriam Haskell embossed on it. Pieces with this signature are rare.
The horror of World War Two affected her health and emotional stability; in her fifties, she became ill, despite an adherence to health food. In 1950, she lost control of her company to her brothers. Living in an apartment on Central Park South with her widowed mother through the next decades, she became increasingly erratic in her behavior. In 1977, she moved to Cincinnati, under the care of her nephew Malcolm Dubin, and died in 1981. It was a sad ending for an exceptional life, but, as Pamfiloff writes, "Obviously, the legacy of her dream has filtered on down through the decades. It was a man’s world. Designers were men. The owners of companies were men. The staff was men. The salesmen were men. It was all men. And then you had Coco Chanel, who just jumped right out there, and a couple of other women who carved out their own niche in the world. Haskell did that, too".

MIRIAM HASKELL Milk Glass Pendant Necklace

MIRIAM HASKELL EARRINGS -Signed-Round Button Style

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