Monet Jewelry is a line of vintage costume accessories, such as necklaces, brooches and earrings. These pieces, used to give an outfit a classic, formal look, are made primarily of precious metals like silver and gold, and handcrafted for originality. Although Monet Jewelry is commonly worn for special occasions, some of its more toned-down pieces can be worn with everyday clothing.
A Company Is Born: Monograms
Authentic Monet Jewelry was made by Monocraft Products Company, a Providence, Rhode Island, company founded in 1927. At first, this company created handbags with gold-plated appliques and monograms. The metalwork used on their handbags distinguished them from other companies because they used intricate designs on their products.
1930s: A Niche in Jewelry Market
In 1929, the Monocraft Products Co., under the name Monet, began creating costume jewelry, necklaces, bracelets, brooches, earrings and ornamental clips. However, it did not market its jewelry pieces as Monet until 1937. They represented technological advances in jewelry making, especially in earrings: At the time, Monet was the only company making earring clips for both pierced and non-pierced ears and barrel clasps for pierced earrings. This technology, as well as the company’s use of gold and silver plating and sterling silver, set the company apart from other jewelry makers of the time.
Wartime: Design and Quality
Genuine Monet Jewelry of the 1930s and 1940s was designed using straight edges and open metalwork. The straight edges appear smoother than other jewelry makers of that time. The open metalwork designs of the gold and silver plated jewelry differentiated the company from other designers at the time, as well.
The Monet Trademark
Before 1955, Monet Jewelry was characterized by its use of precious metals and unique designs. In 1955, genuine jewelry first carried the Monet Trademark. Over the years, the brand was identified with costume jewelry, although “Collectors Weekly” says vintage items are prized by collectors because of quality and triple plating. Many new items advertised today are called “gold tone” or “silver tone.”
Modern Times: The Brand Evolves
The history of Monet Jewelry, which began in 1927, has managed to maintain its unique designs and change with the times. Yet various companies have had the rights to create these trademark designs. From 1969 to 1989, General Mills acquired Monocraft Products Co., the company that held rights to Monet the longest. From 1989 to 1994, the jewelry was sold through Crystal Brands Jewelry Group, and from 1994 to 2000, Chase Capital Partners, Lattice Holding. Liz Claiborne Inc. held rights to Monet Jewelry from 2000 to 2011, when it sold them to J.C. Penney.
References and ResourcesCollectors Weekly: Monet Costume Jewelry
J.C. Penney Company News: http://www.collectorsweekly.com/costume-jewelry/monet
Collectors Weekly: Modern Metallics: Monet Costume Jewelry