If you are looking to add some vintage Florenza jewelry to your collection, you have come to the right place. Here you will learn about the history, jewelry marks, materials used, most collectible pieces, and tips on how to buy.
Dan Kasoff‘s Florenza designs were distinctive. His creations had an Old World look influenced by Victorian Revival and Renaissance styles. His collections included ornate gold-plated metal bracelets, brooches, earrings, rings, and necklaces. He was also famed for his Wedgwood Mocha line of cameos carved into shells, glass and resin.
Brief History of Florenza Jewelry
Daniel Kasoff (nee Kosovsky) had one of the more serendipitous entries into costume jewelry. He started out working in the garment industry, then had his coat stolen from a restaurant. Another diner, Mr. Speier, felt bad for him and gave him the money to buy a new coat. Dan repaid Mr. Speier as soon as he could, and Mr. Speier was so impressed that he offered Dan a job at his company, the Speier Costume Jewelry Company. Dan worked for Mr. Speier for 10 years, learning the business and honing his talent for design. In 1937, he opened his own costume jewelry company, the Dan Kasoff Corporation. Dan’s son, Larry, joined him in the business in 1950, and the named changed to Florenza for Dan’s wife, Florence.
Florenza jewelry was constructed using high-quality workmanship, materials, and designs. Dan personally supervised the designs and their manufacture. Only the finest stones were used from Austria, Germany and the Far East; many were made especially for Florenza. The use of pastel and frosted rhinestones were immediately recognizable as Florenza. Its cameos, some hand-carved shell, were mounted in ornate 24K gold-plated settings. Other exclusive finishes were “Florenza Gold,” “French Gold” and “French Rose.”
Florenza jewelry was sold to wholesalers who then sold it to retailers, including upscale department stores such as Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. Jewelry lines such as Hattie Carnegie, Coro, Louis Kramer and Weiss contracted with Florenza (Dan Kasoff, Inc.) to make jewelry for them. Florenza also produced lavish perfume bottles for high-end cosmetics companies, Estee Lauder and Revlon.
When Dan died, Larry took charge of the company, but a serious car accident in 1981 made him unable to continue. He closed Florenza’s doors in 1981.
Florenza Jewelry Designers
- Dan and his son, Larry, designed most of the jewelry.
- Lorraine Marsel: Dan and Larry employed “jobbers,” designers who worked on a contract basis. The only jobber whose name we know is Lorraine Marsel, because Dan had her pieces marked with her name.
Some Florenza pieces are not marked because they were part of a set. For instance, only the bracelet or necklace was stamped.
Other pieces are not marked, because the wholesaler wanted to put his own mark on them.
- “FLORENZA” in block letters within a square or rectangle or in script and circled. After 1955, a copyright symbol was added.
- “ROSENFELD BY FLORENZA”: Rosenfeld was a hand bag company who bought jewelry from Florenza. They were the only customer who put both their name and Florenza’s on the jewelry.
- “LORRAINE MARSEL” in an oval with a copyright symbol.
- Dan used only the finest stones from Germany, Austria and the Far East, many of which had been custom made for him.
- Dan patented 24K gold or gold alloy finishes, “Florenza Gold,” “French Gold” and “French Rose.”
- Specialty glass rhinestones
- Aurora Borealis
- Faux pearls
- Faux opals, turquoise, jade
- Colorado topaz
- Antiqued gold-plated metal
- Antiqued silver-tone metal
- Tiffany-style settings
Most Collectible Vintage Florenza Jewelry
Nearly every piece of Florenza jewelry is rare and, therefore, collectible.
- Green Enamel Brooch, Bracelet and Earrings
This set is among the finest examples of Florenza design, materials and workmanship. The vibrant green enamel of the brooch is adorned with faux pearls, the bracelet and earrings with faux pearls and dazzling clear rhinestones. All pieces are set in rich-looking, intricate gold-tone metal.
- Heliotrope Rhinestone Brooch Set
Florenza produced many Maltese crosses, but this one, in particular, is a work of art. It was produced with high-end art glass and named after the flower, heliotrope, for the pink, purple and blue colors. The brooch and earrings are made of silver-tone metal, cabochons, navettes and Aurora Borealis rhinestones.
- Blue Rhinestone Butterfly En Tremblant Brooch
“En Tremblant” is French for “to tremble” and describes brooches, first designed in the 18th century, that “tremble” as the wearer moves due to the tiny springs incorporated into the design. Florenza tremblers are highly coveted by collectors. This sparkling butterfly with opaque blue glass for a body is set in silver-tone metal with an array of various sizes and colors of blue rhinestones set among clear rhinestones.
- Ewer Perfume Vinaigrette Necklace
A vinaigrette was a small decorative box that ladies used during Victorian times to carry perfume while traveling. Eventually, a pendant, such as we see here, replaced the box. In addition to its practical value, wearing a vinaigrette signaled that the lady was of a high social rank—high enough to afford perfume! This Florenza vinaigrette was fashioned from gold-tone metal and decorated with red rhinestones, faux turquoise and finished off with a faux pearl on top.
- Gold-Toned Shell Cameo with Seed Pearls
Florenza cameos are highly collectible. This one is particularly beautiful. Designed in the Victorian style, the cameo is carved from a shell and set into gold-tone metal. The four seed pearls at the top are the crowning touch. The cameo can be worn as a brooch or pendant.
The most collectible vintage Florenza jewelry:
Tips for Buying Vintage Florenza Jewelry
- Antique shops, especially those with a large selection of jewelry, are the best place to shop. The shop owners are knowledgeable, enjoy sharing their knowledge and take pride in providing customers with quality pieces of jewelry and service.
- Antique shows where dealers from across the country gather to sell their wares provide access to a huge variety of vintage jewelry. Also, the better shows vet the dealers, and only allow those with known honorable reputations to participate.
- The Internet is where you can access the most items in the least amount of time and without leaving your home. Make sure the site is reputable, such as Etsy.com.
- Wherever you are shopping, make sure you take proper precautions.
- Don’t buy on impulse
- Examine the piece carefully.
- Ask questions.
- Make sure you feel comfortable with the dealer.
Florenza jewelry has a magical quality to it, something that you will be able to appreciate by looking through the astounding number of pieces displayed on Etsy’s Florenza pages.
eBay is also a great place to shop for vintage Florenza jewelry.
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below. I do my best to answer them all!