25 March, 2010

The joy of vintage costume jewellery - Coro and Weiss

I have always been a collector of vintage dresses, but it is only lately that I have started collecting and wearing vintage earrings and brooches. I am not sure why, probably because they are relatively difficult to find in Australia (compared to the US). But the joy of etsy is that literally thousands of these vintage beauties are available to us now (and I think I have bought most of them!). I was also a little scared of wearing clip-ons after some bad experiences wearing my mother's clip-ons when I was a teenager, but they seem to be OK now (the trick is not to put them on too tightly).

Some of my vintage jewellery collection.
Notice the teal and blue Coro set in the bottom row, centre box. Divine detail.
That was bought from Callie at Camberwell Markets. Notice the Lisner clip-ons, bottom row, right hand side, purchased on ebay USA. I have not had a chance to wear these yet though - need to buy a nice green dress to go with them obviously. What good luck!

I like to store my brooches and earrings in the boxes they came in, stashed away safely in the drawers of my art deco dresser (away from the destructive little fat hands of my little 2 year old Mr Moppet). Most of them have tissue paper or 'packing fluff' (not sure of the proper name for that!) to add to the protection.

The large silver flower set (top left) is a beauty, but needs an appropriate outfit. The cameo with the silver edging (top right) was from that cheapo costume chain store found in every mall across Australia called Kleins - does a great job of filling in whilst I save up for the real thing - fake it till you make it girls! The divine blue brooch (bottom centre) with white figurine is Wedgewood and at $80 is probably my most expensive purchase. I probably paid too much, but it is very beautiful I must say. I also have to mention that the darling little pearl clasps (bottom right) are from an op shop in my little home town of Boggabri, NSW (pop 1,100 - so cute!). I would seriously consider moving back there just to get my hands on real true blue rural vintage treasures!

I have purchased most of my earrings and brooches from etsy, with a few from Ebay USA and some really beautiful ones from Callie, a seller at Camberwell Markets (I have mentioned her in earlier posts, so search for her name on my blog if you are interested - she has some lovely Coro pieces in particular, really good quality items). 
I had never heard of the great vintage jewellery names of 'Coro' or 'Weiss' before, but if you are not familiar with them, I would really recommend purchasing some of their pieces. Callie from Camberwell Markets actually recommended a great book to me, which I would thoroughly recommend to you for increasing your knowledge of this actually quite huge area of vintage. Its part of the 'DK' book range and is called 'Costume Jewellery' by Judith Miller.


I was able to borrow it from my local library, but you could perhaps find a second hand copy on Amazon or ebay. It has an 'A-Z' of the top designers, as well as a section on unsigned pieces. The pictures are sublime - warning, you will want to buy simply truckloads of these pieces after reading this book!

Hope you find a lovely 1950's Coro brooch to make your day soon!


  1. Thank you for sharing your fabulous collection and for your great storage tips. In addition to the Millers reference on Costume Jewellery, I would highly recommend 'American Costume Jewellery: Art and History, 1935-1950'. There are two volumes, but the first covers designers A-M, and it has a fabulous section on Coro - including design patents for some of the most mouthwatering costume jewellery ever produced.

    I will do a Vintage Surburbia inspired cabinet for my stall at the Camberwell market, including some more fabulous Coro pieces. I particularly love their Jelly Belly creations from the mid 40s.

    I have also put some of the premium pieces on my newly launched online store:


  2. Oh my, that sounds lovely. And thanks for another good book recommendation! I am saving up for an overseas trip in April (being fiscally responsible really hurts) but I will have to come by in May when I return (and do some serious examinations online!). Hope you are well, Maria

  3. Wow, what a great collection of jewellery! I love those clustery 50s earrings, although I agree that clip-ons are murder on the earlobes. Screw-on ones seem to be a bit better, although I'm always a bit worried they will fall off. I'm planning to go to the Camberwell Market this Sunday, so I'll look out for Callie's stall.

  4. I believe that costume jeweleries are important, and can change the whole look! They are great, and they can "explode" many looks, as you so successfully do.

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