Object Timeline

1945

  • Work on this object began.

1955

  • Work on this object ended.

2016

  • We acquired this object.

2017

2019

  • You found it!

Necklace, ca. 1950

This is a Necklace. It is dated ca. 1950 and we acquired it in 2016. Its medium is electro-plated metal, rhinestones, semi-precious stones, glass beads. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Inspired by Chanel’s “vrais bijoux en toc” (real fake jewelry) of the 1920s, Miriam Haskell opened a costume jewelry shop in the McAlphin Hotel in New York City in 1924. Haskell made a name for herself as a jewelry designer by emphasizing quality craftsmanship and sophisticated design rather than the use of precious materials. Starting in 1926 when she hired Frank Hess as a designer, Haskell primarily handled the business matters. Hess designed the prototypes and Haskell determined which pieces went into production. With later outlets in Miami, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Harvey Nichols in London, Haskell's costume jewelry was worn and collected by some of Hollywood’s biggest names including Joan Crawford and Lucille Ball, who were both loyal clients.
The interwoven workmanship found in many pieces Haskell’s jewelry, in combination with the eclectic selection of imported materials—rhinestones, glass beads, faux pearls—make Haskell’s jewelry stand out as some of the most outstanding workmanship in American costume jewelry. This parure dating from ca. 1950 shows the company’s signature mix of materials. Thoughtfully playing with both scale and material, this necklace juxtaposes stamped metal with rhinestones, imitation stones and glass beads. Familiar with women’s fashion, Hess’ designs of the 1940s and 1950s were large in scale to complement women’s fashion, emphasizing the use of accessories.

This object was donated by Bartholomew Voorsanger. It is credited Gift of Bartholomew Voorsanger.

Its dimensions are

L x D: 35.5 × 2 cm (14 in. × 13/16 in.)

It has the following markings

Stamped MIRIAM/HASKELL in a circle on clasp

Cite this object as

Necklace, ca. 1950; electro-plated metal, rhinestones, semi-precious stones, glass beads; L x D: 35.5 × 2 cm (14 in. × 13/16 in.); Gift of Bartholomew Voorsanger; 2016-48-1

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108727279/ |title=Necklace, ca. 1950 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=17 February 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>