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

Dangling wood bead brooch by Miriam Haskell
Miriam Haskell brooch with wooden coffee-bean-shaped beads
Close-up view of flower formed by wood beads
View of back, showing braided silk cord
Close-up view of back, showing construction

Brown Wooden Bead Brooch by Miriam Haskell


MAKER: Miriam Haskell

SIZE: 4" x 3" (width is approximate); top flower is 1 3/4" in diameter

CONDITION: Excellent

DATE: 1940-1945

MARKS: None (Haskell used only paper hang tags until late-1940s)

REFERENCE: See #18 on "Haskell Clip & Pin Backs" page on Gordon website

This wood bead brooch is typical of the type of whimsical pieces designed by Frank Hess for Miriam Haskell during World War II. At the top, the coffee-bean-shaped beads form flower petals that surround small round beads with gilt-metal caps. They are all hand-sewn onto a pierced, flat metal foundation. From there, a riot of beads dangle from gilt-metal links attached to three braided-silk cords. This brooch, which closes with a roll-over safety clasp, is in remarkable condition and fun to wear!

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Brown Wooden Bead Brooch by Miriam Haskell

$225.00 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.