Over a lifetime of carrying, promoting, and amassing jewellery, I’ll admit to being a fan of something with an animal motif. A few of my private favorites embrace African animals and monkey pins. I’m not alone in my affinity for these items since nearly each tradition from historic Egypt to the Vikings of Scandinavia wore jewellery that includes animals—usually to indicate social standing or prowess. As time handed, carrying animal jewellery turned extra of a trend assertion, whether or not in high quality or costume jewellery variations. Like me, many celebrities, dignitaries, and noteworthy collectors have additionally proven a keenness for animal jewellery.
One of many prolific makers of costume jewellery that includes animal motifs was Ciner. The corporate produced items in sterling silver within the Thirties and ‘40s however actually upped its sport within the Sixties when many various firms had been making jewellery depicting fauna from across the globe. The enterprise continued to create its common animal kinds for many years after that, together with when Pat Ciner Hill, the granddaughter of the agency’s founder Emanuel Ciner, took the corporate’s reins. From 1979 and all through the costume jewellery increase of the Eighties, animal designs had been best-sellers for the agency.
Pat Ciner Hill passed away in early 2023, and the enterprise subsequently closed, leaving a legacy of wonderful adornment for collectors to take pleasure in. Amongst these items had been bee pins given to each attendee on the Costume Jewellery Collectors Int’l (CJCI) conference in 2017 to commemorate Ciner’s one hundred and twenty fifth anniversary. My CJCI companion Melinda Lewis joined me in honoring Ciner with our CJCI Achievement Award in the course of the occasion. That little bee, a present I’ll cherish for a few years to come back, is stashed away in my assortment with just a few different Ciner keepers.
Inspiration for the Ciner Menagerie
Ciner’s array of animal jewellery, it’s clear that many items had been impressed by high quality jewellery. Quite a lot of them echo the work of notables like Jean Schlumberger, who designed for Tiffany & Co. and David Webb’s “Kingdom Assortment.” The corporate took these limited-edition seems to be and made comparable kinds, bringing some exceptional designs to the lots. Not a brand new concept, however one which Ciner had been doing very nicely because the Thirties when the enterprise moved from high quality jewellery to the costume jewellery business.
Ciner, actually, has been recognized to revive its kinds made a long time prior in new colours. When Elizabeth Taylor’s jewellery assortment was bought at public sale in 2011, dozens of Ciner items had been amongst these heaps. Sure, Taylor was fabulously photographed carrying Ciner jewellery and loved them alongside her breathtaking high quality jewellery assortment. One noteworthy merchandise was a grey enameled dolphin bangle made for her by Ciner within the Sixties. After the unique was bought, Ciner reportedly reintroduced the design in different colours, a lot to the delight of collectors.
One other noteworthy assortment that includes animals was referred to as “The Magic Backyard of Mr. Lee.” It was launched in 2018 and shortly turned a favourite amongst followers of costume jewellery. These items, produced as a part of a collaboration with designers Don Carney and John Ross of PATCH NYC, had been impressed by a fictional story during which Mr. Lee’s backyard yields big, magical blooms that rework animals feeding on them into colorful creatures. I couldn’t resist buying a few brooches from the gathering, together with a turquoise blue enameled tiger head with a black rose and enameled insect perched on a bejeweled bow. A number of different collaborations within the 2010s melded new colorations and gildings with traditional Ciner animal designs, together with a unicorn produced in partnership with Sweet Store Classic.
The Type and Operate of Ciner’s Animal Jewellery
Collectors usually consider brooches when Ciner animal motifs come to thoughts, and for good purpose. Repeatedly, Ciner produced intricately solid and meticulously adorned pins that includes the whole lot from African animals and birds to sea life and numerous bugs. A number of totally different Ciner animal brooches are featured within the e book Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box by the late Madeleine Albright, who served as Secretary of State in the course of the Clinton administration. As a dignitary representing america, she usually wore her jewellery to make an announcement or ship a message, and Ciner’s expressive animals are excellent for that goal.
Past the numerous brooches, Ciner additionally made bracelets with animal heads serving as a part of the clasp within the model of David Webb’s designs. Liz Taylor’s dolphin bracelet falls into this class, however an important many extra of those bracelets had been bought in the course of the Eighties, that includes zebras, horses, leopards, and several other different animals. Many unmarked items in comparable kinds had been additionally made, however normally, Ciner’s are of higher high quality when it comes to enameling, plating, and different gildings. Sellers representing the unmarked items as Ciner accomplish that in error.
Necklaces with animal motifs had been made regularly within the Eighties, too. These had been often beaded designs, both strands of glass beads in various lengths or twisted torsades, with an animal head or two “kissing” animal heads serving because the clasp. These vary from massive cats and zebras to frogs, and so they’re all enjoyable to gather and to put on.
I can actually see extra of Ciner’s menagerie in my amassing future. You should definitely try the WorthPoint® Price Guide to see many items you may aspire so as to add to your individual assortment of statement-making jewellery.
Pamela Siegel is a contract author and writer who has been educating collectors for greater than twenty years. Along with three books on subjects regarding antiques and collectibles, she regularly shares her experience by means of on-line writing and articles for print-based publications. Pamela can be the co-founder of Costume Jewellery Collectors Int’l (CJCI) and the proprietor of Stylish Antiques by Pamela.
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