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MONET

Introduction

Monet has become one of the most sought after designers for Vintagecuff. Here you will find history information on the well-known brand, as well as photographs of the various Monet signatures that have been used over the years that will help you date your pieces and ensure their authenticity. Dating can sometimes prove difficult and people can be misinformed with the information that where the copywriter symbol is absent from a piece it will date it pre-1955, however there are many pieces that look to have been produced in the 2000s (and possibly late 1990s?) that do not have the copywriter symbol, I will give examples of these also. A full listing of the pieces used in the photos displayed throughout this page can be found at the bottom of the page.

If you have searched through my items for sale you are sure to notice that I have considerable more Monet jewellery pieces listed compared to any other designer. As mentioned in my Welcome introduction, my love for vintage jewellery began with Chanel. Whilst Chanel is renowned for encouraging women to "fake it" by adorning themselves in faux pearls and jewels that were more affordable than fine jewellery, for the average woman looking to expand their accessory collection, Chanel may be out of the price range. Monet jewellery by comparison is far more affordable and accessible for collectors and once you explore the collections that span the decades of the 1930s - 80s and beyond, you will agree that the quality, design and craftmanship make Monet jewellery items an investment for the future. From simple classic designs to intricate statement pieces, Monet takes you from day to evening and everything in between. However, the difference I have found with Monet from the early years, compared to other designer brands, is that majority of their pieces were made solely of plated metal without the use of "gem" embellishments, a fact that some collectors would suggest make their items less collectable.

To those in doubt I encourage you to purchase (or borrow) the book 'Monet the Master Jewelers' by Alice Vega. Not only does this book provide a fantastic history of the company, it showcases the most amazing creations by Monet Jewelers with particular focus on the 1930s to 70s captured by photographer Terry Niefield. This book took me from an admirer, to a collector of Monet and is highly recommended as a reference tool for anyone looking to explore the wonderful world of Monet with series names, release dates, original prices, Advertising and Mat pages. Even if you are not looking to collect these pieces it would make a fantastic "coffee table book" for the lover of jewellery in general.

My personal collection consists of many Monet pieces, some of which I will share with you. I spend more time looking for pieces to add to my Monet collection than any other designer items and I am always happy to be on the search for customers looking for specific items that they desire, so if you are in need of assistance in this area do not hesitate to contact me. If you are interested in viewing more photos of Monet pieces, I have loaded many onto my Facebook page, please take the time to visit. https://www.facebook.com/Vintagecuff.

The History of Monet

The Monocraft business is said to have commenced in approximately 1927 by brothers Michael and Joseph Chernow, first based in Brooklyn, New York USA. Monograms were a huge trend in the 1920s and 30s and Monocraft honed in on this by launching "Initials by Monocraft" that targeted car owners looking to personalise their vehicles with decals which quickly developed into metal initials. They made as many alphabetical letter combinations as possible and developed a patented metal crest for cars with interchangeable letters.

The Great Drepression of the 1929 forced the business to take a new direction due to the car dealerships and owners not being able to afford initialising their vehicles. Their new target was handbag department stores, where handbags were personalised at the time of purchase. This business was a huge success and the Monocraft products were greatly sought after due to their superior quality and craftmanship.

In 1937 Monet jewellery was launched and Monocraft continued as the parent company. The brothers were determined to produce finely crafted pieces with top quality materials that were affordable for all woman. The results, some of the most beautifully designed and constructed pieces you will find in the market to date and the quality is second to none with the Monet pieces of the 1930s - 1970s standing the test of time.

Monet jewellery was so popular in the 1960s and 70s that they were not able to meet the demand of consumers and the business was able to be selective with who carried their lines, choosing the more upscale department stores.

After the passing of Joseph Chernow in 1966, Michael searched for a new business partner and in 1968 signed with General Mills. Many new products and fashion lines were created and the business expanded considerably; by 1979 they were international. Various new lines were released in the early 1980s that were seen as "fashion forward" and they also acquired the Yves St. Laurent licence for costume jewellery which saw some stunning creations hit the high end stores from August 1982.

By 1985 the Monet company had seen many changes and the once family orientated business, was no more. The original Chernow family members were gone as were many of the original team members and the General Mills corporate management style had taken over. The business continued to develop with sales growing from approximately $8 million in the early 1960s to approximately $110 million by the early 1980s. However, other divisions within the business were not performing so well and the decision was made by General Mills to focus on what they knew best, food.

In November 1985 Monet became part of the Crystal Brands Apparel Group along with two apparel lines that were not profitable. In order to increase profits the head of the company purchased two costume jewellery lines from Hallmark, they were Trifari and Marvella and the three companies went on to become one of the largest costume jewellery makers in the world. However, due to the acquisition of many other apparel lines over time, the Crystal Brands Group debt grew larger and larger with the jewellery lines unable to carry them over the line and in 1994 Crystal Brands filed for bankruptcy.

The company was renamed the Monet Group in 1994 once acquired by the CBJG Acquisition Group and existing management tried relaunching the brand, and even signed fashion designer Christian Lacroix in 1995 for a 5 year licencing agreement. In 1996 Cynthia Rowley was signed on to design pieces inspired by vintage Monet from the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Unsuccessful in their attempt to recapture the success of the past, the business once again went into bankruptcy in 1996; it was later bought out by Liz Claiborne in 2000, who said that whilst they had been in bankruptcy for the last 4 years, the company was still making a profit.

The business continued to produce the Monet "best sellers" and later signed a new fashion director, Tiffany Bausch, who set out to re-brand and create more pieces inspired from the late 1950s to late 70s where the brand was at its peak. Whilst the brand was still successful, Liz Claiborne sold the U.S. rights to the Monet brand (as well as its name sake brand) to JC Penney in August 2012.

Shop MONET pieces : http://www.vintagecuff.com.au/8/shop-online/monethttp://www.vintagecuff.com.au/8/shop-online/monet


References



Monet The Master Jewelers by Alice Vega

PR Newswire publication, November 2, 2011

JCK Magazine publication, October 13, 2011

Monet Signatures

These are just some examples of the Signatures used on Monet jewellery from the mid 1930s to 2000s.

Signed Monocraft Mid-late 1930s Silverplated Fluer de lis dangle pin with "Click-It" initials

Signed Monét 1937 Silverplated "Pipes 'O Pan" Brooch with jade coloured glass cabochon

Signed Monet Jewelers 1937 Goldplated Bracelet with bevel set glass cabochon stones in ruby, emerald and dark sapphire (signed on both hangtag and Bracelet itself)

Signed MONET 1940s Silverplated Fur Clip. This signature was used from the 1940s until the mid 1950s when the copywriter symbol was introduced. Some pieces after 1955 still used this marking (as per the Bracelet below) with the addition of a hang tag that bore the © symbol, usually attached to a Safety Chain. Please be aware of this, as it is not uncommon for a Safety Chain to be missing from a piece and could be mistaken for a pre-1955 item (this can usually be detected when you look at a Bracelet there are usually soldered rings or additional jump rings at either end where the chain will attach if present).

Signed MONET and Monet © 1955 Goldplated "Paradenia" Cuff style Bracelet; the back of the hang tag has a © symbol, first used from 1955. This style of hang tag was used on their Necklaces and Bracelets right through the 1960s and 70s.

Signed MONET © 1968 Goldplated "Sonata" series Brooch Pin, this style signature was used on the backs of Pins/Brooches, Pendants, and Necklace/Bracelet Clasps right through the 1960s until at least the mid 80s. This example shows the marking on a cartouche; some pieces have this style signature engraved directly into the plated metal.

Signed Monet © 1989 Butterfly Pin Brooch from the Holiday Boxed Goods program. This style of signature in lower case was used from the mid 1980s and right through the 90s.

Signed © Monet 1990s Goldplated Multi Belcher Link Bracelet


Signed MONET Late 1990s (?) Goldplated Mesh Rhinestone Bracelet with Hard Case Gift Box. This is an example of a signature without the copywriter symbol that has been used in recent years. I have seen sellers advertise pieces being pre-1955 because of the absence of the © . I myself, in my early days of collecting, was confused by this and purchased a Rhinestone Brooch with the same signature with a "vintage style" thinking it was a very old piece. The Gift Box that came with this Bracelet is a give away that this is in fact, a more recently created piece, I believe it could be from the late 1990s when Monet signed designer Cynthia Rowley to create vintage inspired pieces from the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

There are other signature examples I have but the exact dates are somewhat unclear between the 1990s and 2000s so I will continue to research and add to this page as the information comes to hand. If you have any examples and dates you would like to share then please do not hesitate to contact me as any and all information is appreciated.

Due to the high demand of requests for information about specific pieces of jewellery, there is now a small fee charged when requesting age/date, general information, price guide relating to your piece of jewellery.
The price is AU$5 for each piece or 3 for $10 (only add 2 to your cart in this case). Once payment is received you will receive an email requesting photos to be sent.
This comes with a money back guarantee that if you are not satisfied with the information returned to you or I am unable to assist with information for your piece/s, you will have your money completely refunded.
I can provide information based on research and experience.
If you have any queries relating to this prior to payment please go to the Contact Vintagecuff page. I am happy for you to send photos prior to payment to see if I am able to assist in the first instance; otherwise please go to the Monet or Sarah Coventry page in Shop Online. Thank you.

Pictures used in the "Introduction" and "History of Monet"

First Photo : Pieces from the 1960s - Top : 1968 Goldplated "Scheherazade" series Necklace and Brooch; Bottom Left : 1967 Goldplated "Taboret" series Necklace and Brooch; Right : 1965 Goldplated "Mantilla" series Collar Necklace, Bracelet and Earrings.

Second Photo : Pieces from the 1950s - Top to Bottom : 1956 Goldplated "Fantasy" series Bracelet 2 1/2" wide; 1955 Goldplated "Paradenia" Cuff style Bracelet; Late 1950s Goldplated "White Stone Jewelry" Necklace and Bracelet Set.

Third Photo : Pieces from the 1930s & 40s - Left to Right : 1937 Goldplated Bracelet and Brooch with three rows of bevel set Glass Cabochon stones in Ruby, Emerald and Dark Sapphire & Single Row Bracelet with the same coloured stones; Late 1930s Single row Glass Cabochon Stone Bracelet in Emerald Green; Late 1930s Single row Cabochon Stone Bracelet with Faux Lapis, Turquoise & Carnelian Glass; 1947 Goldplated Convertible Brooch Pin with detachable lower pin; 1937 Silverplated "Pipes 'O Pan" Brooch with Jade Glass Cabochon; 1940s Silverplated Fur Clip; Late 1930s Goldplated Link Bracelet.

Fourth Photo : More pieces from the 1960s - Top Left : First released in 1961 Goldplated "Cordelia" Earrings with Matching Brooch (extremly popular and continued to be produced until the 1980s); First released in 1967 Goldplated "Mirador" Brooch Pin (continued to be produced until the 80s) & Earrings above; 1960s Silverplated Triple Diamond Shaped Pendant on Retro Chain; 1966 Goldplated "Mandarin" series Necklace; 1965 Goldplated "Mantilla" series Collar Earrings and Bracelet; Signed Monet © First released in 1966 Goldplated "Monet's Menagerie - Butterfly " Figural Brooch Pin (continued to be produced until the mid 80s with variations introduced along the way); 1966 Silverplated "Tournée" series Necklace (also available in Goldplate, both with matching Earrings); 1967 Goldplated "Taboret" series Brooch.

Fifth Photo : Left to Right - Mid 1970s Goldplate & White Enamel Bird Pendant Necklace; 1970s Goldplate Multi-Chain Tassel Necklace and Bracelet Set; 1971-1979 Goldplate & White Enamel "Georgette" series double strand filigree Necklace; 1970 Goldplated "Flamina" series Brooch Pin;1970s Goldplate and White Enamel Diamond Shaped Dangle Clip Earrings; 1960s-70s "Damita" series Necklace and Bracelet Set (one of the biggest sellers in the 1960s they continued to be produced through the 1970s, matching earrings also available).

All these items are either from my Stock or Personal Collection. If you cannot find a particular piece listed on the MONET page of Shop Online , contact me to see if the item is available for sale; I am always open to offers.


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