Friday, September 12, 2014

11 W. 30 St. Inc. Brooch

A lovely brooch by 11 W. 30 St. Inc.!

There’s a great thrift shop not far from my apartment where I have had good luck finding colorful brooches. On a recent trip with my daughter our eyes both went straight to this blue beauty. It was just $14. Sold!

When I’m looking at a brooch I have two criteria to meet before making a purchase: 1. Do I love it? 2. Does it have all its stones? One of the many terrific things I learned from attending the exhibit Fashion Jewelry: The Collection of Barbara Berger—and learned from Barbara herself!—is that you have to make sure all the stones are intact before buying anything since she said it’s difficult, if not impossible, to replace missing stones.

Barbara also spoke of only buying pieces you love and it was definitely love at first sight when I spied this brooch in the case so I was happy to see that every stone was in place. My daughter loves blue more than any other color so I knew even if I hesitated to buy it, she was not going to let me leave this pin behind!

In sunlight. Gorgeous!

In addition to the color, I liked the victory wreath motif of the brooch, which seemed old school to me. Turns out I was right. Upon very close inspection involving a loupe, I found that the brooch was signed “11 W 30 ST INC.” Internet research turned up that this company was founded by William Dodds of Newark, NJ. He already had a successful plastics business but decided to start a costume jewelry-making enterprise with a partner and they called the company “Jewel Creations.” The manufacturing site was at—you guessed it—11 W. 30th Street. Whether this means it was in Newark, or, as I first thought, in Manhattan, I don’t know. The article says Mr. Dodds took over the entire business in the 1960s and after that all the pieces were signed “Dodds” or “Doddz.” Fascinating!

The back of the brooch.

The signature.

I believe these navette stones are called aurora borealis because of their iridescent rainbow hue. The same writer of the information above had a whole separate article just on aurora borealis stones and I learned that this technique of coating the rhinestones with a thin layer of metal to enhance their brilliance and give them a rainbow coloring was not perfected until 1955. Manfred Swarovski, working with Christian Dior, is the one who perfected the process, but not until after World War II when the company returned to making costume jewelry. During the war Swarovski was forced to make binoculars and optical products for the military. More interesting facts!

One way I may wear it. Cardigan, J. Crew, scarf, Hermès, sunglasses, L’Wren Scott.

I would love the brooch no matter what (for $14 how could I go wrong?), but knowing that it’s from the late 50s or early 60s makes me love it even more.

Have you had luck finding vintage costume jewelry at a thrift shop?


Dawn Lucy said...

Gorgeous! And I love that you found out so much about it! Makes me want to get out the magnifying glass and check all of grandma's old jewelry for markings I missed!
Dawn Lucy

Jill said...

Hi Dawn Lucy, girl get out the jeweler's loupe and start looking! You may have some valuable costume jewelry gems in your collection and not even know it! Let me know if you find any special signatures, I can help you research them. XO, Jill

Monica said...

It's a beautiful brooch and I love the look of the outfit you've put together to wear it with! The scarf complements it so perfectly. I have a little vintage pin in the shape of a plane that I found at a second-hand market; you've inspired me to try and investigate its history!

Jill said...

Hi Monica! Oh your plane pin sounds wonderful, you should definitely check out the back to see if it is signed. Even if it's not I just love vintage brooches, they are so lovely and fun--especially paired with an Hermes scarf, right? How ARE you, anyway? XO, Jill

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

This brooch is gorgeous! What a great find and I love it with that scarf! Very chic, indeed.
Have you entered my contest for the $1000 Gift card from Lafayette 148 New York?? A winner will be selected on Sunday, and I would love it if someone I know wins! Just go to the top of my sidebar to find the post! Have a great weekend, Jill.

rosie said...

I have a 2 inch circle rhinestone Marcel Boucher pin. No loose missing stones - everything in tact. The marking - BOUCHER & then the company logo indicates that this pin originated in the early 50's.

Some research on Marcel Boucher
tells me he was born in Paris & then worked as a jewelry designer for none other than Cartier. Went on to work for Mazel Bros. and finally opened his own
costume jewelry store in the USA in 1937. He wife took over the business in the late 50's upon his death & the company was sold.
The pin was purchased on a whim about 15 years ago on a trip to Seattle. I spotted a vintage store & this pin called to me.

This is a very dressy pin to be worn at nighttime. I could always dress up a black blazer with this pin, wear white or black silk pants & I was good to go.

Yet, another great post. I love vintage jewelry - actually vintage anything.
thanks Jill,


Denton said...

There's a little confusion on Swarovski. Swarovski Optik, which makes highly respected binoculars, spotting scopes, and the like, to this day, is a division of Swarovski AG, who makes jewelry, crystal, and all that stuff. They have other businesses as well. The chemical coating of glass is applicable to many areas from jewelry to camera lenses so no doubt technology was shared between the different divisions. Even now Germany, Austria and that part of Europe excels in lens and glass coating, as in Leitz, Zeiss, and of course Swarovski.

theduchessofh said...

Great looking brooch Jill. I have a number of brooches. I found some at church rummage sales. My piano teacher (back in the 60's) gave me brooches as Christmas gifts; except for the year she gave me a poodle figurine that changed colour based on weather. I never appreciated them (I thought it was an old lady thing) until years later; but I still have them.

Monica said...

Hi Jill! :) Well, I've found an engraving on my pin - "1/10 GF". I've looked it up, and all it means is 10k gold filled. So not terribly enlightening, unfortunately! I've been well, thanks very much for asking. Currently in holiday-planning-mode so a little distracted from blogging! I do love keeping up-to-date with yours though, it really is so interesting and charming.

Jill said...

Hi Pam, I will definitely enter the giveaway. How exciting! XO, Jill

Jill said...

Hi Rosie! Oh you are a lucky lady, the Boucher brooch sounds fabulous, thank you for sharing his background with us! I would love to see that brooch, I bet it's gorgeous. I never think of myself as a big wearer of brooches yet I find them utterly irresistible when I am at a thrift shop. I am going to go look up Boucher in my vintage costume jewelry book, I wonder if he's in there. XO, Jill

Jill said...

Hi Denton! I am no expert on either vintage costume jewelry or Swarovski. I'm not sure if the writer of the articles I found on both William Dodds and Swarovski is an expert either, I just found both of the articles interesting. Thank you for the clarification, what you write makes sense--that Swarovski would have different divisions devoted to separate aspects of lens-making, crystals, etc. I could see a version where the government wanted them to focus on the making of binoculars, etc., during WWII, and not so much on jewelry, but without reading a historically accurate book on the subject I of course do not know for sure. XO, Jill

Jill said...

Hello Duchess! How wonderful that your piano teacher gave you so many brooches. And that you kept them! It sounds like you have a great collection, will you post them on your blog sometime? Maybe just a few of your favorites? I would love to see a post like that. XO, Jill

Jill said...

Hi again Monica! Thank you for sharing that info with me, I just learned something new, I didn't know what 1/10 GF meant.

Holiday planning mode, you lucky gal! Are you going to do a post on what to pack? I always find those kinds of posts helpful and enlightening. Make sure to take a Chanel polish with you for some extra glam, right?

And thank you for the compliment on my blog, I really appreciate it so much. XO, Jill

PinkCheetahVintage said...

So pretty!! I like brooches on bags on stuff. Or a bunch of them on a blazer!

Linda said...

A lucky find of a beautiful brooch!! And great price to boot!!

Jill said...

Hi Becky, at some point I will have enough brooches to put a bunch of them on a blazer! Ha. XO, Jill

Jill said...

Mother is that you? It's a great brooch for a great price. Next time you come to Brooklyn we can go to this thrift shop. They always have little treasures! XO, Jill

Jill said...

Getting back to any confusion regarding Swarovski, the writer of the articles I mentioned above must be correct on some level because I found this quote from "Fabulous Fakes: A Passion for Vintage Costume Jewelry" by Carole Tanenbaum:

"Christian Dior, in collaboration with Swarovski, created the aurora borealis stone. A polychrome metallic coating gave this gem a beguiling iridescent quality, echoing the style of the eighteenth-century French court of which Dior was so fond."

I believe the writer of the articles I linked must also be correct that this creation of the aurora borealis stone, the perfecting of the technique anyway, took place after WWII. It would make sense that Swarovski was focused on different priorities during the war.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I love this post ! Love the brooch, love the story, love the scarf ! I discovered thrift and consignment stores very recently but I've never regretted buying anything from them.

Jill said...

Hello Fresh Start, AKA Silver Bunny! If you end up with any thrift store finds that you love, I hope you will share them with us! XO, Jill

Su Ho said...

So beautiful, hee hee girlfriend recently prepared a birthday, intends to buy copies of jewelry to give her a surprise, she is more like Swarovski Bangles, but I do not know that the style looks better, you to the point