As soon as upon a time, about fifteen years in the past, I had an aversion to buying Chanel costume jewellery. With so many fakes and fantasies to fret about, I used to be afraid I’d make a brilliant pricey mistake. Within the early 2000s, I grew to become associates with somebody who collected Chanel. Ultimately, I purchased my first piece from her. As destiny would have it, she went by way of a significant transfer a number of years later, and I ended up promoting fairly a number of of her items on consignment. After studying a lot from researching these items earlier than placing them in the marketplace, I can now confidently purchase Chanel designs from the Seventies by way of the 2000s. Early Chanel is one other story.
Sure, I’ve dealt with a few classic Chanel designs from the ’60s right here and there, however not one of the actually previous, elusive designs relationship from the mid-Twenties by way of the Nineteen Thirties. The Chanel style home remained closed throughout World Conflict II, however even items from the Fifties and ’60s are scarce. They’re additionally unmarked, aside from a number of Sixties designs, so pegging them as Chanel will be troublesome. That doesn’t imply I haven’t continued to check them. Having the ability to acknowledge particulars that others overlook is what makes superior costume jewellery amassing so compelling. Researching the historical past and studying in regards to the types, supplies, and development will hopefully allow me to identify a diamond within the tough.
The Making of Chanel’s Early Jewellery
You could have heard of Duke Fulco di Verdura and his contributions to Chanel’s legacy within the type of Maltese cross bracelets, which have impressed numerous copies over the numerous many years since they had been made. One other parurier (jewellery manufacturing home) widespread with collectors of French style jewellery, Louis Rousselet, additionally made strands of fake pearls for Chanel early on. However as famous in Costume Jewellery for Haute Couture by Florence Müller, two of the collaborations that basically had an influence on Chanel’s costume jewellery had been with the Home of Gripoix and Robert Goossens.
A few of the earlier Chanel designs had been really artwork deco geometrics, however the home is healthier recognized for collaborating with Gripoix to create items with a extra delicate look. Some had been copies of Coco Chanel’s private jewellery, however many had been distinctive designs. Goossens labored with Chanel after the style home reopened in 1954 and is thought for making “clumsy” jewellery with an unique look Chanel sought somewhat than a mass-produced really feel. He even studied vintage jewellery on the Louvre to garner inspiration.
Muller notes that the Chanel boutique in Paris was described in a 1967 version of Elle as an institution the place “all the things that shines just isn’t gold, however higher: an alloy of luxurious and refinement.” In my estimation, that encapsulates what Coco Chanel meant for her costume jewellery from its inception, and the designers she employed took the best to coronary heart. Even after she died in 1971, Goossens continued with the style home, making a press release with costume jewellery that was paramount to the model.
Attributes to Look For in Older Chanel Items
From the each early years onward, Chanel jewellery featured glass made by the Home of Gripoix. Suzanne Gripoix was on the helm of the agency again then, and she or he oversaw the creation of wonderful pâte de verre (poured glass) by hand. Collectors search for these parts, which frequently have the looks of stained glass, in a number of the most coveted items of early Chanel. They make up delicate, flowery items of bijou and types that incorporate layer upon layer of intricate glasswork. Later designs additionally embody handmade glass cabochons and disc shapes, every a bit totally different in dimension and form since they had been produced by hand (somewhat than uniformly molded as with most costume jewellery).
Some unmarked items designed by Goossens within the ’50s and ’60s have distinctive Byzantine revival or Celtic styling, or perhaps a mash-up of these with Etruscan or Egyptian influences. His first order from Chanel was for jewellery made with tremendous pure pearls combined with imitation stones. He, actually, made tremendous jewellery items for Coco Chanel utilizing gem stones and treasured metals after which recreated them as costume jewellery. She actually instructed him, as Muller mentions, “We should make museum jewels in such a method that they are going to be in museums at some point, too, and so that individuals will say: These are the jewels of the rue Cambon digs!”
So, when looking for out early, unmarked Chanel items, searching for handmade Gripoix glass elements is likely one of the most necessary facets. Due to the distinctiveness of the glass, no two are precisely alike, and the development even appears a bit messy from the again generally because of the hand pouring of the fabric. Even dangling beads and simulated pearls in these designs every have distinctive attributes. Concurrently, the types created by Goossens usually have an ancient look about them, whether or not made fully of non-precious steel or embellished with colourful glass stones. Some items mix pure supplies comparable to rock crystal or semi-precious gem stones with metals like bronze.
While you’re perusing resources studying about these costume jewellery masterpieces, be aware of all of the distinctions that make them stand aside from different French couture jewellery produced in the course of the twentieth century. We could by no means discover one among these uncommon treasures, however we will nonetheless benefit from the thrill of the chase.
Pamela Siegel is a contract author and writer who has been educating collectors for greater than 20 years. Along with three books on matters regarding antiques and collectibles, she continuously shares her experience by way 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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