Saturday, April 9, 2011

Inspiration: Miriam Haskell Vintage Jewelry

It's a conversation that I have frequently with my friends who create: who or what do you get inspired by? I believe that most designs, whether in clothing, furniture or jewelry, are derived by designs that have already been created. The inspiration can come by way of a certain technique, color or style and you make it your own.  It's no coincidence that the world of fashion frequently pays an homage to a previous era. The current trend for this spring? It's all about the seventies!

One of my many inspirations come from costume jewelry designer Miriam Haskell. Her company designed stunning pieces of jewelry beginning in the 1920's. With $500 in her pocket, she opened her first boutique in NYC in 1926, with partner Frank Hess joining that year. Together they designed gorgeous pieces and put costume jewelry on the map as a viable option for women to have luxurious, stunning and affordable jewelry.

Miriam Haskell's name still lives on with new designers, and their pieces are works of art. They frequently use the cagework technique, which involves beading with wire onto pieces of filigree base. They then collage these pieces together, creating totally unique and beautiful arrangements. These are not pre-made brooches they stick onto necklaces - every piece is handmade and unique. While I incorporate this technique into my own necklaces, I am humbled by the years of experience and history of Miriam Haskell.

Here are some of her gorgeous pieces:
1940's brooch, early Frank Hess design (via Collectors Weekly)

Statement flower necklace, from the new La Boheme collection:

Flower silver cuff, from the new La Boheme collection:

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