by Dr. Lori Verderame
Miriam Haskell designed costume jewelry highlighted natural looking forms and quality materials. Working in the fashion field by 1925, Miriam Haskell’s costume jewelry is known for its interesting designs, high quality electroplating, good quality plastics, and bead work. Haskell pieces regularly were adorned with European beads and Bohemian crystals.
When it comes to electroplating metal, the process employs an electrical charge and a salt bath. Electroplating results in a fine coating of precious metal over another material using an electro-chemical reaction. The process takes place as a negative charge is placed on an object that will be coated. The negative salt ions were positively charged and attract the negatively charged object. Then, the positive charged ions revert back to their metallic form and make a new electroplated object, in this case, the jewelry setting.
Haskell and her firm achieved widespread market success with very colorful and elaborate pieces after World War II and throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The tell tale “Miriam Haskell” mark is easy to find on most pieces. Look on the clasp, pin back, or other area of Haskell jewelry to confirm its origin. The Miriam Haskell Company was sold in 1990.
What to Look For
Miriam Haskell costume jewelry pieces are recognizable by the colorful stones, gold filigree work, and seed pearls. Electroplating was completed to high standards and often antiqued. Traditional Haskell designs demonstrated nature-inspired forms and faux baroque pearls, glass seed pods, and real seashell details.
Some pieces featuring mummies, sphinxes, and scarab forms recalled ancient Egyptian jewelry during the Egyptomania craze in the early 1900s. Today, Haskell pieces from the 1950s and 1960s with rhinestones can be worth $150 to $450. And, a milk glass and crystal rhinestone bracelet by Haskell recently sold for $400 with an organic design featuring veined milk glass and a leaf motif. Some specialty pieces by Haskell command several hundreds of dollars each.
Get an online appraisal of your Miriam Haskell piece of costume jewelry from Dr. Lori.