Vintage Weiss Jewelry

wikicollecting

wikicollecting

2015-06-26 10:34:29

Vintage Weiss Jewelry is costume jewellery created by Weiss, a New York-based company which specialised in costume jewellery and ceased trading in 1971.

History and Description

Weiss was founded in 1942 by Albert Weiss, formerly of Coro Jewelers. They produced a wide range of costume jewelry, targeted at both the higher and lower ends of the market. They also incorporated a wide range of designs embracing many of the popular art styles of the time, most noticeably Art Deco. Weiss jewelry favours Austrian crystal and used gold and silver metal as alloys.

As well as producing their own costume jewelry they also subcontracted to the Hollywood Jewellery Co, purchasing pieces from there and applying the Weiss name to them.

Guide for collectors

Much of Weiss' jewelry is unmarked but items that are marked can be dated accordingly. The earliest pieces bore the 'WEISS' signature (block capitals) which was then followed by 'Weiss' (in script). Later pieces, from the late 1940s onwards are often marked 'Albert Weiss' or A W Co. In the latter the W is portrayed with a crown symbol.

Weiss incorporated many styles and designs that were subsequently copied by other jewelers. It is therefore important to know that you are buying genuine Weiss. Fake Weiss brooches and pins, for example are prevalent on sites such as eBay. Fakes can often be recognised by their high gloss finishes and textured backs, designed to look antique.

Amongst the more desirable collector pieces are the 'black diamond' series which featured a unique smoky-coloured rhinestone. Other popular pieces include those made with inverted rhinestones and series using a Christmas tree design.

Value

Weiss had very high production figures in their heyday; meaning many of its pieces are both affordable and easy-to-find. It is also a popular choice with collectors due to many of the earlier pieces being undervalued – recognition of this has meant an increase in the prices Weiss jewelry now fetches at auction.

Typically small items such as earrings, brooches and pins can be found for anywhere between $25-$50 with some of the smaller pins and clip earrings selling for as little as $10.1 Jewelry sets can reach much higher prices and a necklace and earrings set featuring the much-desired 'Black diamonds' typically sells for much more.

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