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Expert in vintage costume jewelry from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s & 1950s

Merry Whirl Duette & Gay Swirl earrings
Horizontal view of Coro's Merry Whirl Duette
Vertical view of Duette
Angled view of Duette
Merry Whirl dress clips
Gay Swirl earrings
Another view of Coro earrings
Duette back

Gold & Diamanté 'Merry Whirl' Duette & 'Gay Swirl' Earrings



SIZE: Brooch: 2 3/8" x 1 1/8"; clip: 1 1/4" x 1 1/8"; earring: 3/4" x 5/8"

CONDITION: Excellent (minor wear on backs of clips)

DATE: c.1948 (based on magazine ad and non-use of sterling, per Brunialti)

MARKS: "Coro Duette" (in script) and "PAT 1798867" on frame; "Coro" (in script) on earrings

REFERENCE: April 1948 ad in LIFE magazine

This ‘Merry Whirl’ Duette was sold to me as a set with these earrings. Although all pieces are gold-tone with diamanté and made by the same company, my research uncovered a different story. The screw-back earrings are, in fact, from their ‘Gay Swirl’ design. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t hesitate to wear these pieces together. The Duette, Coro’s double clip brooch, can be worn as a brooch (in the positions shown) or as separate dress clips. These jewels were advertised in the April 1948 issue of Life magazine, which is how I found out the design names. You can see the utility patent for the brooch mechanism here, shown below Coro’s name.

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Gold & Diamanté 'Merry Whirl' Duette & 'Gay Swirl' Earrings

$195.00 USD
Why Buy Vintage Costume Jewelry?

One reason is that it’s environmentally friendly. Resale fashion and vintage jewelry has become a preferred sustainable and affordable shopping choice by today’s discerning fashion and eco-conscious consumer.

Another major reason is the quality. Although vintage costume jewelry was made for all levels of the marketplace – from dime stores to high-end fashion boutiques and jewelry stores – you will find only the best pieces here. They were well-designed and carefully made to last. The manufacturers represented here used only the finest materials – glass stones and beads from Bohemia, Austria, and France, and faux pearls from France and Japan. Settings were primarily sterling silver, gold-filled, or base metals heavily plated with gold, silver, or rhodium. Stones were hand-set, and pieces were hand-finished.

The northeastern part of the U.S. was the center of the industry, with the largest companies located in Providence, Rhode Island by the end of World War II. During the Depression, the quality of costume pieces climbed to new levels when many jewelers and craftsmen had to switch to this segment of the industry. In addition, it attracted many skilled workers who fled the political situation in Europe for the U.S. For these reasons, designs and manufacturing techniques rivaled those employed in the making of fine jewelry.

A third reason to buy costume jewelry is its uniqueness. Having survived for so many decades in such wonderful condition and having been selected for their aesthetic quality, the pieces you’ll find here are unlikely to be found elsewhere.

True vs Fake - how to shop vintage costume jewelry with confidence

Barbara Schwartz, a noted costume jewelry historian, is the author of "True vs Fake" , an in-depth blog series providing examples of how vintage costume jewelry can be accurately attributed. She also shares tips on how to avoid being duped into buying misidentified vintage costume jewelry.