“Frankly Fake” News: Schreiner Book Includes Over 200 Pages of Incredible Costume Jewelry

The name Schreiner will be familiar to those who collect and adore costume jewelry. For those less in-the-know, Schreiner Masters of Twentieth Century Costume Jewelry provides a comprehensive introduction to the firm, one of the country’s foremost designers of “frankly fake” jewels since its founding in 1932.

Coco Chanel is credited for having coined the phrase “frankly fake” and igniting a craze for high wattage, oversized baubles set with obviously faux pearls and gems. Of these, vintage Schreiner pieces are among the most highly prized today.

Written by author and costume jewelry expert Carole Tanenbaum along with fashion historian Eve Townsend, the book chronicles Schreiner’s decades-long history, from its beginnings in New York’s Garment District (shoe buckles, sparkly buttons, and notions) to its glamorous heyday in the 1940s–1960s. The book even documents the more recent present (in 2011, Michelle Obama was photographed wearing a Schreiner stretch belt based on the original design from the mid-1960s–1970s).

Perfect for your personal collection or a holiday gift for a fellow jewelry lover, this tome offers a detailed look at a jeweler who collaborated with designers like Norman Norell and Pauline Trigère, was sold in the country’s best department stores (look for a Bonwit Teller advertisement with the tagline “Bonwit’s Bouillabaisse…see-our-sea jewelry” featuring Schreiner lobster, seahorse, and starfish pins), and was featured on the covers of Vogue and Glamour. Not too shabby!

There are more than 200 pages of lavish, lovingly curated photographs, which sounds like a party and it is. In fact, the book will be feted at Rizzoli in New York City on Nov. 27 and at a trunk show featuring vintage, highly collectible Schreiner jewels at NY Vintage on Nov. 28.

For a preview of what you might acquire at the trunk show event, check out the pieces below—can you say holiday party accessories?

Schreiner-Brooches-Costume-JewelrySchreiner’s iconic ruffle pin displayed in various color formats, circa 1957

Schreiner-Bib-Necklace-Costume-JewelryA cascading baroque pearl necklace from the 1960s that was featured in the windows of Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue; a similar design was made for Trigère

“Millefiori” bracelet design popular with Schreiner collectors, circa 1960s

Schreiner-Dragonfly-Brooch-Costume-JewelryDragonfly brooch with faceted wings, circa 1960s

Schreiner-Brooch-Hair-Ornament-Costume-JewelryRare Victorian-inspired en tremblant design with jeweled branches, circa 1950-1960s

Shoulder duster earrings, circa 1960s


(All images courtesy of Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS)

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Amy Elliott

JCK Contributing Editor

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