Designer You Should Know: Miriam Haskell

August 20, 2009 Categories: jewelry education, vintage jewelry by No comments yet

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Miriam Haskell (1899-1981) was born in Albany, IN, at the height of the Art Nouveau Period. She opened her first boutique in 1926 in New York’s McAlpin Hotel.

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Each piece was (and is) created by hand. At a time when few people could afford “the real deal” – think depression era – Haskell’s work provided an affordable and fabulous option. (Which brings up an interesting point: notice how popular costume jewelry is recently? Yup – same deal. We can have the appearance of glamour, without having to spend the money!)

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As a friend of Coco Chanel’s, she created pieces for Chanel’s couture collections. Her list of celebrity clientele was immense, and included Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball and the Duchess of Windsor.

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As far as collectible jewelry goes, Haskell is at the top of the list. But if you’re looking to collect some Haskell, it gets a little tricky. Some are easily identifiable, with the MH stamp:

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But, since Haskell didn’t start signing her jewelry until the late 1940s, identifying a piece as a true Haskell can be tricky. Jewelers can usually tell a Haskell piece by its “vintage art work and advertisements, and by (its) wonderful detail, handwork and design” (via).

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After changing hands a couple of times, Miriam Haskell’s company is now run by Frank Fialkoff. The company produces: the luxury Haskell Line – every piece is still handmade in NYC – and, M. Haskell, which “provides up to the minute trend- right merchandise to the department stores and mid-tier customers” (via).

The Haskell company also “designs and distributes an extensive private label program for major retailers such as Macy’s, JC Penney, Target and Kohl’s” (via), and licenses lines such as Betsey Johnson, J Lo by Jennifer Lopez, O Oscar by Oscar de la Renta, and Kenneth Cole jewelry.

And now onto the yummy stuff!

Vintage Haskell:

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Oh dear jeebus! Look at this lady’s Haskell collection from “Antiques Roadshow” – it was worth $20k!

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**DRROOOLL**

Contemporary Haskell:

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If you’re looking to invest in some jewelry, but don’t want to spend an inordinate amount of cash, I’d recommend looking into Haskell. It’s gorgeous, and you know it will stand the test of time!

So I hope you liked the first article in this series, “Designers You Should Know.” Just like an english major needs to know about Shakespeare and Eliot, there are some amazing jewelry designers that deserve lots of attention! Are there any specific ones you think deserve some attention? Thanks for your input!

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