Sunday, July 4, 2010

Made in America


I have been trying to promote the American business, and, even though the 21st century is global, it is nice to be aware of American products. I have been selling a good bit of vintage/retro jewelry lately, and I am learning about it. Recently I got a stash...and this pile had a number of "silver" necklaces.
I noticed that they were tagged Monet......so I looked up Monet. The line was manufactured in Providence, Rhode Island in the 1920s. The company was organized by Michael and Jay Chernow who initially called it Monocraft because they created handbags with gold-plated appliqu├ęs and monograms. The metalwork used on their handbags distinguished them from other companies because they used intricate designs on their products. In 1929 the Monocraft Products Company, under the name Monet, began creating costume jewelry, necklaces, bracelets, pins, earrings, and ornamental clips, but they did not market their jewelry pieces as Monet until 1937. At the time, Monet was the only company making earring clips for both pierced and non-pierced ears and barrel clasps for pierced earrings. This technology, as well as their use of gold and silver plating and sterling silver, set them apart from other jewelry makers of the time. Their jewelry used open metalwork and straight edges. Those designs were not common in the 1930s and 1940s. Before 1955, Monet Jewelry was characterized by their use of precious metals and their unique designs. However, in 1955, it became easier for people who wanted genuine, vintage jewelry from this manufacturer to differentiate them from imitators of their designs. In that year, genuine jewelry carried the Monet Trademark. Marks include:
Uneven script: Monet
Capital M (remaining word in small letters)
Monet that crosses over the “t”
All caps MONOCRAFT
Monet Sterling

Monet managed to maintain their unique designs, but several companies have had the right to the trademark designs. From 1969 to 1989, General Mills acquired Monocraft Products Company, the company that held rights to Monet the longest. From 1989 to 1994, the jewelry was sold through Crystal Brands Jewelry Group, and from 1994 to 2000, Chase Capital Partners, Lattice Holding. Presently, Liz Claiborne, Inc. produces Monet Jewelry, a right they've held since 2000, but it is not made in the US so one has to be concerned about the metals being used.

So, the vintage is a good buy because vintage Monet jewelry is durable and long lasting, and you can still find old pieces in like-new condition. Most collectors of vintage Monet jewelry can pick up good quality pieces inexpensively. Earrings can be purchased with their original tags for as low as seven dollars. The goal of Monet was to create elegant yet affordable women's jewelry, and, to add that special touch to their line, Monet was the first costume design house to stamp their trade name into every piece of jewelry, so you can easily track down Monet.

3 comments:

Patricia said...

Susan, what a great history - again!! My Mom had lots of Monet and I haven't any idea where it all ended up. Too many moves later I guess it has new homes.
Hugs,
Pat
Patricia Rose-A Potpourri of Fabric, Fragrance and Findings
www.patriciarose-apotpourri.com
www.patriciarose-apotpourriof.blogspot.com

Brenda @Just a Bed of Roses said...

Neat jewelry lesson...I'm always buying the monet, glad to know its story, like all the stories I learn here each week.

picked up a new batch myself at an estate yesterday...love playing with it. and the customers are so attracted to it. why not!

laura said...

You really brought back some memories. I remember buying some Monet pieces for my grandmother in the 70's when I was a teenager.I was always so pleased with my choices for her.