ミリアム・ハスケル Miriam Haskell

Miriam Haskell

History

Miriam Haskell was born on July 1, 1899 in Indiana. She dropped out of university and started working to make a living.

In 1924, she opened a shop in New York selling high-end jewelry such as Coco Chanel at the McAlphin Hotel (103 Sixteenth St., NY).

In 1926, she hired Frank Hess, who was a window display designer at Macy's department store, as a designer and officially established the company.

Although Haskell rarely designed herself, she was precise in her design selections and had a keen eye for finding talented designers.

According to someone who worked for Haskell at the time, there were a few products designed by Miriam in the early days.

In the 1930s, Haskell brought in highly skilled artists from Europe to sell even more exquisite jewelry.

The company opened a Saks Fifth Avenue store in New York and a Harvey Nichols in London.
Designs from this period often include lariat-like designs, beaded necklaces with large center motifs (mostly nature motifs), fur clips, and fringed designs.

High design and quality gained popularity. Actress Joan Crawford was a fan of Miriam's jewelry and was photographed wearing her jewelry in many photos from the 1930s to the 60s.

Haskell releases seasonal main collections three times a year: spring, fall, and holiday season.
Miriam's signature piece of faux pearl jewelry is called BASICS, and is available in dozens of designs throughout the year.

Haskell, which used to use domestically produced pearls, began purchasing most of its pearls, mainly baroque-style pearls, from Japan after World War II.

The Japanese pearl manufacturing method is unique and is known as Oriental Blend, in which the pearls are coated seven times with cellulose, fish scales, and resin, and then carefully polished.
Mainly made by a Japanese manufacturer called NIKI PEARL.

When designer Frank Hess visited Japan in 1957 or 1958, he was fascinated by Niki's baroque pearls and signed an exclusive contract with them.
Most of the baroque pearls and pearls used in later works from 1958 are Niki pearls. This pearl was supplied by Niki for 20 years before closing the business. Of course, you can see works of baroque pearls from earlier periods as well, but these are pearls that were processed in the United States or Czech pearls. (Compared to Niki, there are a little more individual differences in shape).

These pearls, which were purchased in large quantities from Niki at the time, were still in stock at Haskell Company as of 2004. After Niki closed, the company has been purchasing pearls from several companies.

The Nakagowa Company in Japan makes pearls that are very similar to Niki, but the color is whiter or stronger than Niki.

The 1940s saw changes in the beads and materials used in jewelry.
Due to the war, it became difficult to purchase items from Europe, and due to metal regulations, natural materials (wood, feathers) and plastic were used.
After the war, the company resumed purchasing from Europe, and they also purchased materials and parts from Rhode Island in the United States.

From around this time, rhinestones began to be used as well.

Miriam stepped down from running the company in 1951 due to health reasons and was succeeded by her younger brother Joseph.

Hess remained a designer at Miriam's company until 1960.

Although the business owner and the main designer changed several times after this, Miriam Jewelry's methods were firmly inherited and continued to influence the fashion industry for a long time.

The company continued after Miriam's death in 1981 and continues to produce contemporary jewelry while maintaining its style.

 

 

 

Sign and date

Before the 1940s, jewelry tags made of paper atatched tothe jewelry but not signed. thise are referred to as "Unsigned Miriam Haskell" and it was challenging to differentiate them from other similar pieces.

In 1948, horseshoe-shaped tags were introduced. However, this design had a disadvantage as it was difficult to solder and could not be worn on necklaces or bracelets without filigree backs.
You can see an image of this tag at the bottom.

 

 

In 1951, the Miriam Haskell jewelry brand changed their sign to an oval shape that could also be used as a charm. You can find several floral motifs made from ceramics in the 1970s that are hand-signed.

 

 

 

The sliding clasp that we commonly see was patented in 1969 and it started to become widely used in 1975. Before this time, when making necklaces, a method known as back-stringing was used which did not require the use of end clasps. However, from the mid-1970s onwards, end clasps began to be used due to the time and cost involved in back-stringing. Here's an image of how it looks like: (image bottom)


 

 

Characteristics of jewelry and how to spot fakes

Miriam's jewelry is uniquely crafted using only wire clasps and soldering, avoiding the use of adhesives.
However, over the years, the beaded motif on some clasps has corroded, and owners have reinforced it with adhesive, which can compromise authenticity.
To distinguish between authentic and fake pieces, one can examine the hook-shaped necklace clasp, which is a crucial feature.
Haskell jewelry connects the filigree holes closest to each other, creating an almost invisible connection.
The clasps used by Miriam Jewelry are always 2.5mm x 13.6mm in size, with a square-off shape and are connected to the right side of the necklace using a jump ring.

Even among Haskell jewelry, which features intricate motifs made by layering multiple filigree pieces, there are fakes with signed that are easy to spot by plating color.

Miriam's filigree and parts were Plated using the Russian Gold Plate (RGP) method developed by James Brady in the United States.
The RGP process involves six to seven pre-plating steps, followed by immersion in a plating solution consisting of 24-karat gold and a proprietary material.
Since everything is done by hand, there may be slight variations in shade depending on the batch.

Early Haskell piece like fur clips typically do not have any signs, although some may come with one. If you are wondering whether they are fake, the answer is no. Most likely, they are authentic since Haskell offered a repair service for their jewelry.
When repairing the jewelry, Haskell often added a sign to it.

Some Haskell earrings may not have a sign but only a "Patpend" marking. These earrings have a design made specifically for Haskell.

 

 

It can be challenging to distinguish the authenticity of Haskell jewelry, but there are some guidelines that can help.

First, after the 1950s, there should be a sign.
Additionally, the designer carefully selects each part and bead of Haskell jewelry. Look for any parts that seem unusual, mismatched colors, or low-quality materials.
Most authentic Haskell pieces (mostly) do not use adhesives, and the wirework is delicate. However, recent restorations and pieces reinforced with adhesives by their owners due to wire corrosion may not be genuine.

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