Jewelry History

JEWELS BY BOGOFF June 22, 2015 20:52

Henry Bogoff was born in Poland in 1908 in a rural area not far from Warsaw.  Slim his entire life, he liked to tell the story of how, as a youth, his older brothers fitted him with a vest with multiple pockets to smuggle vodka. 

 Like many Eastern European Jews, he emigrated to the US to escape persecution and advance economically, arriving at Ellis Island at the age of 16 with only a few dollars to his name.  He spent the next years in New York City where he married a recent Russian emigrant, Yvette Glazerman. In the late 1920's Henry and Yvette moved to Chicago where they started Spear Novelty Company which manufactured belt trimmings, buttons, and other fashion accessories made with rhinestones. Spear Novelty was very successful, and their experience naturally lead them to the costume jewelry business. Jewels by Bogoff was founded in 1940 and eventually became one of the country's leading designers and manufacturers of costume jewelry. Henry was responsible for the designs and styling. In addition to original creations, Henry's exceptional memory enabled him to visit upscale jewelers, particularly in New York City, and then return to Chicago and translate their diamond and precious stone designs into his own rhinestone creations. Model makers translated the design from paper into a hand-made prototype. These were duplicated and used to make a vulcanized rubber production mold. Molten white metal was centrifugally cast in these molds, and the raw castings were then polished by hand. Earring and pin backs were soldered on, bracelets and necklaces were assembled using foot powered swedging machines, and the assembled pieces were then plated with either rhodium or gold. Finally, each rhinestone was glued into place by hand. Jewels by Bogoff had a reputation for very high quality, and every piece was guaranteed for life. Yvette was one of the first women to head a major sales organization. With the end of World War II and the country's almost insatiable demand for luxury consumer goods, Jewels by Bogoff prospered.In addition to the factory showroom at 31 South Franklin Street in Chicago, the firm had showrooms in Los Angeles and on Fifth Avenue in New York. By the early 50's there were more than 200 employees working hard to keep up with orders from major retailers including Sears, J.C. Penney, Saks Fifth Avenue, Carsons, Hudsons, and Zales. Jewels by Bogoff was a regular advertiser in the leading fashion magazines of the time including Harper's and Vogue, and for many years was reportedly the country's third largest costume jewelry manufacturer after Trifari and Coro. The Bogoffs resided in Highland Park on the North Shore of Lake Michigan. Yvette continued to work full time in the business until the birth of their third child. Yvette was an active member of the community and they were both very supportive of philanthropic and service organizations, particularly those having to do with the State of Israel and the plight of Jews after the war. Henry was very handsome and quite charming, and he always loved to tell a good story. He was an avid fisherman and during summers he spent as much time as he could spare away from the business at his rustic fishing lodge in Wisconsin. He also loved gardening, and time spent in his vegetable patch was a welcome relief from daily business pressures . Jewels by Bogoff prospered until Henry's untimely death in 1958. Yvette tried to keep the business going, first in Chicago and then in New York, but changing consumer tastes and the loss of Henry's participation lead to the closing of the business in the early 60's.Thanks to Stephen Bogoff, son of Henry Bogoff, for sharing the story of his parents and Jewels by Bogoff.

Monet Jewelry History May 24, 2015 19:42

 The Monocraft business is said to have commenced in approximately 1927 by brothers Michael and Joseph Chernow, first based in Brooklyn, New York USA. Monograms were a huge trend in the 1920s and 30s and Monocraft honed in on this by launching "Initials by Monocraft" that targeted car owners looking to personalize their vehicles with decals which quickly developed into metal initials. They made as many alphabetical letter combinations as possible and developed a patented metal crest for cars with interchangeable letters.

The Great Depression of the 1929 forced the business to take a new direction due to the car dealerships and owners not being able to afford initializing their vehicles. Their new target was handbag department stores, where handbags were personalized at the time of purchase. This business was a huge success and the Monocraft products were greatly sought after due to their superior quality and craftsmanship.

In 1937 Monet jewellery was launched and Monocraft continued as the parent company. The brothers were determined to produce finely crafted pieces with top quality materials that were affordable for all woman. The results, some of the most beautifully designed and constructed pieces you will find in the market to date and the quality is second to none with the Monet pieces of the 1930s - 1970s standing the test of time.

Monet jewellery was so popular in the 1960s and 70s that they were not able to meet the demand of consumers and the business was able to be selective with who carried their lines, choosing the more upscale department stores.

After the passing of Joseph Chernow in 1966, Michael searched for a new business partner and in 1968 signed with General Mills. Many new products and fashion lines were created and the business expanded considerably; by 1979 they were international. Various new lines were released in the early 1980s that were seen as "fashion forward" and they also acquired the Yves St. Laurent license for costume jewellery which saw some stunning creations hit the high end stores from August 1982.

By 1985 the Monet company had seen many changes and the once family orientated business, was no more. The original Chernow family members were gone as were many of the original team members and the General Mills corporate management style had taken over. The business continued to develop with sales growing from approximately $8 million in the early 1960s to approximately $110 million by the early 1980s. However, other divisions within the business were not performing so well and the decision was made by General Mills to focus on what they knew best, food.

In November 1985 Monet became part of the Crystal Brands Apparel Group along with two apparel lines that were not profitable. In order to increase profits the head of the company purchased two costume jewellery lines from Hallmark, they were Trifari and Marvella and the three companies went on to become one of the largest costume jewellery makers in the world. However, due to the acquisition of many other apparel lines over time, the Crystal Brands Group debt grew larger and larger with the jewellery lines unable to carry them over the line and in 1994 Crystal Brands filed for bankruptcy.


The company was renamed the Monet Group in 1994 once acquired by the CBJG Acquisition Group and existing management tried relaunching the brand, and even signed fashion designer Christian Lacroix in 1995 for a 5 year licensing agreement. In 1996 Cynthia Rowley was signed on to design pieces inspired by vintage Monet from the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Unsuccessful in their attempt to recapture the success of the past, the business once again went into bankruptcy in 1996; it was later bought out by Liz Claiborne in 2000, who said that whilst they had been in bankruptcy for the last 4 years, the company was still making a profit.

The business continued to produce the Monet "best sellers" and later signed a new fashion director, Tiffany Bausch, who set out to re-brand and create more pieces inspired from the late 1950s to late 70s where the brand was at its peak. Whilst the brand was still successful, Liz Claiborne sold the U.S. rights to the Monet brand (as well as its name sake brand) to JCPenney in August 2012.

You can follow the link Monet video to see a presentation of the brand by the current owner of the Monet Trade Mark.


Monet Jewelry is a line of vintage costume accessories, such as necklaces, brooches and earrings. These pieces, used to give an outfit a classic, formal look, are made primarily of precious metals like silver and gold, and handcrafted for originality. Although Monet Jewelry is commonly worn for special occasions, some of its more toned-down pieces can be worn with everyday clothing

Read more :
Monet Jewelry is a line of vintage costume accessories, such as necklaces, brooches and earrings. These pieces, used to give an outfit a classic, formal look, are made primarily of precious metals like silver and gold, and handcrafted for originality. Although Monet Jewelry is commonly worn for special occasions, some of its more toned-down pieces can be worn with everyday clothing.

Read more :

The history of Trifari jewellery May 03, 2015 18:23

The Trifari Company was founded by Gustavo Trifari, an Italian immigrant who arrived at Ellis Island from Napoli in 1904 at the age of 20. In 1910 he founded "Trifari and Trifari" with his uncle. Gustavo's uncle left the company a few years later, and Gustavo continued the company under the name of "Trifari." It's no wonder that Italian collectors love to buy Trifari Vintage Jewelry, as Gustavo is one of their own.

Leo Krussman joined Trifari in 1917, and Carl Fishel joined as head of sales in 1925. The company name was then changed to "Trifari, Krussman and Fishel" and the logo "KTF" (with an enlarged "T" at the center). Trifari Vintage Jewelry pieces from this era are extremely rare.

In 1930 Trifari hired Alfred Philippe as head designer, and that is when the company began to really take off. Philippe's background designing very high end fine jewelry for firms like Cartier and Van Cleef and Arples brought a wonderful sense of luxury and style to the company. The Trifari Vintage Jewelry Designs he created have the style and glamor of fine jewelry and were very popular.

Gustavo Trifari came from a family of fine jewelers and in America in 1918 he and Leo Kraussman went into partnership. This partnership was successful but the business really started its climb to fame when they were joined by a third partner, Carl Fishel, in 1925. At this stage the business became incorporated.

As with all successful businesses the success depended on more than one factor, it was the team that provided all the aspects which were needed from the traditional knowledge of Trifari to the selling skills of Fishel. In 1930 the mix was enriched even more when Alfred Philippe joined them as a designer and quickly rose to the position of head designer. 
They were fortunate or discriminating enough to have many other very special designers work for them over the lifetime of the firm, but even this wasn’t enough to enable the firm to continue during the 1970s when many established costume jewellery firms were forced to close. Trifari didn’t close but the name was sold to Hallmark in 1975, and they moved through the hands of two other firms before being bought by the Liz Claibourne group in 2000. New Trifari jewellery is still on sale today but vintage enthusiasts find the quality disappointing.

One of the special things about Trifari is that since 1937 when they settled on the use of the Trifari name as their trademark they marked every single piece they made. They are the only major firm who did so as far as we know. 
They used this fact as one of their marketing strategies and were very active in protecting their designs from copying. It was a case of theirs against such copying which was instrumental in the jewellery trade changing from the use of patents to provide protection to relying on the law of copyright instead.
This happened in 1955 and after that date their pieces bore the copyright symbol.

Prior to 1937 they used the mark kTf, standing for Kraussman TRIFARI and Fishel. (It was the habit at that time to use the ‘senior’ partner’s name in the middle.) During this period not all of their pieces were marked so you can find unmarked kTf. 
But remember ALL Trifari trademark pieces were originally marked, so the only unmarked pieces of Trifari you will find now are pieces which have been changed, for example a bracelet clasp has been replaced. At one time the necklaces were mainly marked by the addition of a metal tag in the form of a stylized T, some owners didn’t like these tags and had them removed.
More information about Trifari marks, necklace tags and the dates at which they were used can be found on Dotty String field’s Illusion Jewels reference site RCJ