|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.|
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?