If you are looking to add some vintage Coro 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.
Coro Jewelry is most noted for its collection from the 1930s to the 1950s featuring brooches, double-clip brooches, necklaces and bracelets. Its great success was due to the quality of their designs, the affordability of the pieces and the appeal to a wide range of consumers.
Coro is a great brand to start your vintage jewelry collection with because it was one of the largest costume jewelry producers of its time.
What is Coro Jewelry?
Coro Jewelry is a vintage, fashion jewelry line that was available for retail until it closed its doors in the late 1970s. It produced Coro, Corocraft, and Vendome.
Coro was the least expensive line, yet today the Coro Duette pins from the 1930s and 1940s are in high demand. Corocraft is famous for its line of animal “jelly belly” pins. Vendome, the higher-priced line made use of high-quality faux pearls and other faux gems to replicate fine jewelry.
Brief History of Coro Jewelry
- In 1903, Emanuel Cohn and Carl Rosenberger founded their eponymous accessories boutique on Broadway in New York City. At some point, they decided to focus on jewelry, even though neither one of them could, or wanted to, design jewelry. They hired Adolph Katz who, as Director of Design, selected talented designers and styles of jewelry that fit in with the owners’ vision. By the 1920s, the jewelry was sold in dime stores across the US.
- In 1929, Cohn and Rosenberger opened a factory in Providence, Rhode Island, and soon became the largest manufacturer of costume jewelry in the country. Their jewelry was sold in retail stores across the US. The company not only survived the New York stock market crash of 1929, but it thrived. They opened a branch in England in 1933 which succeeded in spite of the Depression and widespread unemployment.
- In 1937, the company began producing a higher-end line of jewelry signed Corocraft.
- In 1943, the company was incorporated as “Coro, Inc.,” (for the first two letters in each man’s name).
- In 1943, Hector Aguilar collaborated with Gerald Rosenberger during World War II when the use of silver was restricted. Aguilar's designs for Coro, made of sterling silver in Taxco, were a successful venture.
- In 1944, Coro started its Vendôme line (named after the city in France), the most expensive line.
- Coro’s brilliant success lasted through the mid-1950s, when it sold the American assets to Richton International Corp. of New York. The company’s downfall began with the beaded jewelry of the 1960s and then, in the 1970s, the competition from the tailored costume jewelry for everyday and business wear (e.g., Monet) and the influx of costume jewelry from Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The American branch of the company folded in 1979; the branch in Canada lasted through the 1990s.
Gene Verecchio became head designer at age 22. During three decades at the company, he created many of the best-loved Coro pieces. He is most famous for the “Quivering Camellia Duette” line as well as jewelry made with faux moonstone multi-colored cabochons.
Francois was a designer from 1938 to 1960. His specialty was beautiful flower-shaped earrings and floral brooches in heavy gold-plated metal with a textured Florentine finish. He had his own line at Coro, “Francois,” that was high end in the same category as Corocraft and Vendome.
Oscar Frank Placco tended to concentrate on the mechanical structure of jewelry. One of his earliest designs was for an ornament clasp in 1934 that led to Coro’s Duette series of brooches.
Carol McDonald first designed a bracelet with an attachment for securing a flower. She is also credited with the clown designs of the 1940s.
Lester Gaba was a well-known sculptor and artist who designed patriotic pins during World War II.
Coro Jewelry Identification
Coro Jewelry will be stamped with the name of the brand. The style of the script has changed throughout the years.
- Early Coro jewelry was marked "CR" (for Cohn and Rosenberg).
- “Coro” in script, 1919.
- "Coro Craft," 1937.
- “Coro” in thick script, 1940.
- “CoroCraft Sterling,” from 1942 to the spring of 1944.
- "Corocraft,” after WWII.
- “Coro Sterling,” after WWII.
- Pegasus (flying horse used without a name), after WWII.
- Pegasus with “Coro” in script and “Craft” printed.
- “Corocraft” in script, angled, with and without Pegasus.
- “Duette” or “Coro Duette” in script with a patent number
- “Vendôme” with a large “V.”
You can see the numerous Coro marks in this article on the Costume Jewelry Collectors website.
- Heavy gold-plated metal with a textured Florentine finish
- Silver with no gilding, a lighter weight and quality
- Vermeil over lightweight sterling silver
- Sterling silver
- European crystals
- Faux pearls
- Faux moonstone
- “Fruit salad” (multi-colored carved glass stones)
Is Coro Jewelry Real Gold?
No, Coro Jewelry was a fashion or costume jewelry line. Pieces are gold in tone and made with a gold-plated metal.
About Coro's Jewelry Collections
Coro had three jewelry lines: Coro, Corocraft, and Vendome. Coro offered the most affordable costume jewelry, Corocraft was in the middle, and Vendome was their high-end brand.
Even though Vendome is a higher-priced collection, some of the most sought-after pieces by collectors today are the Coro pieces, namely the Duettes produced from the 1930s and 40s.
Corocraft (or Coro Craft) is a step-up from the Coro line in quality, price, and prestige. The famous Jelly Belly pins were introduced under this line. Most vintage Coro pieces were built on metal frames, whereas Corocraft items were often made of sterling silver or plated in gold. Rhinestones were referred to as "Diadem Jewels".
Vendome was introduced in 1944 and replaced Corocraft in 1953. Vendome featured serious bling including rhinestone-drenched chokers, cabochon-adorned silver-plated bangles, and gold-plated pins designed by Vendome’s Helen Marion, who was inspired by the great Cubist artist Georges Braque. Vendome also utilized Lucite in new and exciting ways, with designers shaving and forming Lucite into organic shapes with unexpected colors. Vendome is known for their charm bracelets and faux pearl necklaces.
Is Coro Jewelry Valuable?
Coro Jewelry has held its value over the years because it is well-made. The fashion jewelry is currently available through vintage sellers for mid to upper-mid price ranges depending on the item. The Vendome brand is priced at the higher end.
Vintage Coro Necklaces
You will find numerous Coro necklaces for sale from vintage jewelry sellers. Here is a selection of what you may find.
- Vintage continual seashell motif in silver-tone metal
- Large blue rhinestone pendant necklace encircled with small faux pearl and ornate gold-tone metal.
- Square cut blue glass necklace on silver tone metal
- Silver tone caged bead necklace.
- Double-strand aurora borealis clear crystal bead necklace
- Gold tone leaf motif necklace with green cabochon cut glass.
- Silver tone leaf motif necklace with yellow and amber rhinestones.
- Gold tone connecting floral spray necklace with clear rhinestones.
- Multistrand silver tone necklace with interspersed faux pearls
- Oval amber rhinestone pendent necklace encircled with small faux pearls and a decorative gold tone frame.
- Silver-tone large metal rectangular link necklace in mid-century design.
- Large thermos plastic yellow domed graffiti necklace in gold tone
- Vintage three-strand multi-tonal blue beaded necklace set in silver-tone links
- Large, linked silver-toned chain with stylized and embossed silver hearts.
- Pink thermoplastic leaves with pink and clear rhinestones on a silver-toned metal necklace
- Gray and white faux pearl and gold tone ball necklace in 68-inch length
- Gold tone snake chain choker with a large blue faceted rectangular central stone and clear rhinestone décor
- Gold tone continual floral and leave motif necklace with pink rhinestones.
- Large silver-tone pendant necklace with clear rhinestones dropping into three large clear baguettes and a heart dangle.
- Vendome gold tone continual leaf motif necklace
- Vendome cut crystal bead, gold-tone chain, and tassel necklace.
- Vendome bib-style necklace with faux diamond-shaped glass sapphires, rubies, and emeralds along with round crystals
- Vendome faux round pearl necklace with gold-tone rhinestone central ribbon and faux drop pearl
- Vendome faux round pearl necklace with large central Mabe style half pearl with gold-tone frame and rhinestones
- Vendome gold tone necklace with leaf motif containing ruby colored pointed rhinestones and tiny clear rhinestones.
- Vendome three-strand gold tone choker necklace made with rectangular links.
- Vendome pink aurora borealis faceted beaded necklace in a triple strand
- Double strand Vendome gold tone necklace with crystal and art beads in brown tones
- Triple-strand necklace with faux grey Baroque pearls and mixed crystal beads
- Vendome gold-plated geometric modernist necklace.
- Vendome beaded crystal necklace in gold with faux pearls and golden beads.
Coro Necklace Value
Vintage Coro necklaces are priced from $35 for a simply designed necklace from the Coro brand, to well over $250 for the company’s higher-priced Vendome line.
Vintage Coro Brooches
Looking for a vintage Coro brooch? Here is a selection of the types you will find in the marketplace.
- Vintage gold tone Christmas tree brooch with cabochon cut multicolored lights.
- Christmas star brooch with clear and green rhinestones set in gold-tone metal.
- Clear rhinestone flower pin set in gold-tone metal
- Starburst pin with clear rhinestone centers and multi-colored milky cabochon cut rays in pink, blue, and yellow.
- Purple and white rhinestone starburst pins set in gold-toned metal.
- Silver-toned chrysanthemum brooch
- Sterling silver love bird pin
- Light blue cameo brooch encircled by white rhinestones and decorative filigree.
- Silver tone concave dome pin with clear chaton and baguette rhinestones.
- Art Deco style silver-toned pin encrusted with clear rhinestones.
- Daisy flower bouquet brooch with pink aurora borealis rhinestone centers
- Circular floral spray with white enamel and clear rhinestones on gold-tone metal
- Rose and wishbone gold-toned pin.
- Duo cockatoo pin with enamel studded with rhinestones set in silver-tone metal.
- Gold tone grape cluster pin set with orange rhinestones
- Gold plated bow with central floral motif and dark blue rhinestones.
- Gold tone single flower pin with blue rhinestone center and clear rhinestone stem
- Gold tone bar brooch with three carved roses made from simulated orange coral.
- Silver-toned enamel bird duo pins with clear rhinestone décor.
- Gold tone lucky horseshoe pin with decorative enamel and rhinestone floral blooms
- Silver tone rose bouquet pin set in a circular format.
- Black glass cameo brooch set in decorative gold-tone metal.
- Stylized gold tone floral brooch with blue and clear large rhinestones
- Small golden-toned key brooch with central pink glass rose.
- Triple rose and vine pin in solid silver tone metal.
- Gold-tone starburst brooch with light blue rhinestone center and blue and pink rhinestone rays
- Silver tone lizard pin with small green and clear rhinestones.
- Single bloom silver tone pin with enamel and aurora borealis rhinestones
- Vintage sterling silver peacock brooch
- Gold-tone and enamel owl pin with huge green glass eyes.
- Castle key and hanging family crest pin in gold tone.
- Gold tone bow with delicate pink rhinestone-centered flower decoration.
- Maltese cross brooch in silver-tone metal with blue enamel, blue rhinestones, and clear enamel
- Enamel on gold tone floral brooch with aurora borealis centers.
- Dragonfly Vendome gold tone pin with peek-a-boo wings, a faux pearl, and two rhinestones
- Starfish in silver-tone metal
- Gold tone frog pin with “jelly belly” or large center dark green Lucite.
Coro Jewelry Brooch Value
Coro brooches are the most coveted pieces in the entire line. The value of Coro brooches depends on the design. You’ll find a wide array priced between $20- $1000 each.
Vintage “jelly belly” brooches with Lucite centers, in clear or various colors are available in the shape of fish, frogs, and birds and are priced at between $100-$300 each.
Coro Duette brooches can be worn together or apart. The earlier Art Deco styles encrusted with clear rhinestones are available for between $100-$500 depending on the size and condition of the preloved item.
Coro Duette fur clips from the 1940s feature two identical pins. The bird pins are the most popular. Many are made in enamel, and often with rhinestones. The prices have edged up to over the $800 mark. Think parrots, love birds, and sparrows.
Vintage Coro Earrings
Coro produced a variety of earrings that you can now purchase from vintage dealers. Here are some examples.
- Gold tone flower earrings with yellow rhinestones with a screw back
- Screw back round silver-tone earrings with large clear central rhinestone encircled by smaller.
- Silver-toned rose motif screw-back earrings
- Gold tone clip-on leaf earrings.
- Clip-on leaf motif silver tone earrings
- Screw back silver tone earrings with a large yellow rhinestone encircled by round clear ones.
- Screw back silver tone earrings with a large blue rhinestone encircled by pointed red ones.
- Triple white enamel daisies with rhinestone centers in screw-on style.
- Clear rhinestone drop earrings with floral bottom in silver-tone metal and clip-on style
- Fan-shaped silver tone clip-on earrings with clear rhinestones
- Silver tone large ball earrings with screw-on backs
- Gold-tone and white enamel leaf design with a clip-on back
- Italianate style chunky gold tone Vendome clip-on earrings in a half hoop with large cabochon cut glass in red and yellow
- Italianate style chunky gold tone Vendome clip-on earrings in a half hoop with faux pearls, green cut glass, and a rope design
- Italianate style chunky gold tone Vendome clip-on earrings with faux pearls with three faux Mabe pearls
- Vendome circular gold tone clip-on earrings with floral motifs made from prong-set orange rhinestones.
- Embossed Vendome circular gold tone clip-on earrings with small clear rhinestone décor
- Vendome gold tone clip-on earrings with double circle drop.
- Vendome gold tone clip-on earrings with faux Mabe pearl and decorative rhinestone frames
- Vendome silver tone clip-on half hoop earrings with embossed design
- Vendome four swirl clip-on earrings in brushed gold tone
- Vendome oval-shaped clip-on earrings in silver and black tones with large central rhinestone
- Vendome bullet-shaped clip-on dangle earrings in gold tone.
- Vendome Victorian style gold clip earrings with faux Mabe pearl and small rhinestone accents
- Vendome black enamel clip-on earrings with gold-tone accents
- Vendome gold tone clip-on earrings with faux Mabe pearls encircled with clear rhinestones.
- Vendome round faux pearl with elongated faux pearl drop in silver-toned metal
- Vendome circular braided rope clip-on earrings in brushed gold metal
- Vendome clip-on shell earrings in gold-tone metal
- Circular gold-toned Vendome clip earrings embossed with a swirling vine pattern.
Coro Clip-on Earrings Value
Coro clip-on earrings start in the $20 range. These include basic button clip-on styles. Some of the most beautiful Coro clip-on earrings come with a hefty price tag. These are well-made items from the 1930- 1950s. A recent search online revealed a pair of leaf motif earrings in gold plated metal with blue aurora borealis crystals priced at $100. Another leaf motif set in silver-plated metal and white rhinestones is today priced at $250.
Clip-on styles are preferable to screw-back styles, as they hold onto the ear better. Additionally, screw-on backs are often more prone to breakage as earrings age.
Coro Bracelet Value
Coro bracelets are available at a good price. Simple link bracelets in silver-tone metal start at $10. Charm bracelets are available between $30-$60. Elegant evening rhinestone clamper bracelets can fetch top dollar at close to $100.
Rare Coro Jewelry
Rare in Coro Jewelry are complete sets such as the gold tone swallow bird pin and screw-back earrings with red rhinestone stomachs. The same goes for parure sets that are complete. These are an even better find when sold in the original box.
It is a challenge to find Coro Duette brooches. These pins were copied from Cartier. The idea was that two pins were attached to a frame that could be worn in that fashion, or each pin could be detached. Early examples were crafted in geometric Art Deco style using clear rhinestones. Other sets include birds, cherubs, and horseheads.
Other unique pins are novelties. The Quivering Camelia is a Coro Duette that trembles. The Coro gold-tone windmill pin has a rotating wheel.
Most Collectible Vintage Coro Jewelry
Coro launched their first Duettes in 1935. The Duettes are two dress pins (or brooches) locked together by a mechanism invented and patented by the Coro company. Women could wear one pin by itself or both together as a Duette. Sometimes these pins are signed simply “Duette.”
The famous “Quivering Camellia” duette is also a trembler pin (see below).
Some Duettes are simple geometric designs; others are whimsical flowers or birds. A pair of horse heads and a pair of enamel owls are particularly sought after.
Smaller, lightweight versions of Duettes were sold after WWII due to the switch to lighter synthetic fabrics.
Much of Coro's early success was due to the company's design director, Adolph Katz, who created Coro’s en tremblant floral pins.
A trembler is a type of brooch on which a small part of the pin is set en tremblant (French for “on a spring”) so that it trembles or quivers when the wearer moves. Floral designs are most popular for tremblers or pins depicting birds or winged insects.
Jelly Belly Pins
Jelly Bellies were first made in the late 1930s after DuPont invented Lucite, a thermoplastic acrylic resin product.
The small pins often depicted animals, but also pieces of fruit, musical instruments, ballerinas, people, modes of transportation, etc., all with a clear Lucite center stone (like a jelly bean).
Later, Coro used colored glass centers, also highly treasured by collectors.
Patriotic designs by Lester Gaba during WWII
How to Identify Coro Jewelry
Know Your Jewelry Lines
Be sure you know the difference in Coro’s product lines. The Coro line was aimed at lower- and middle-income consumers and offered a broad range of motifs. Coro Craft was higher end due to more expensive materials. The top of the line was Vendome, which was made from the finest materials.
Check the Hallmarks
Coro used a variety of marks on their jewelry and can be seen on the back of the piece. Refer to this handy guide to see all of Coro's jewelry marks.
Use Reference Books
It’s common for fakes to be larger than the original piece because they’re made in larger molds. The book Coro Jewelry: A Collector’s Guide: Identification and Values gives a detailed guide to vintage jewelry collectors.
Be Sure of Quality
Fakes will be cruder, have poor quality settings and stones, as well as flashier, bright plating.
Dating Coro Jewelry
Coro Jewelry styles changed with the times. For those looking for classic pieces, with plenty of silver-tone clear rhinestone jewelry meant to replicate the real thing, search for pieces from the 1930s to 1950s. During these decades you’ll also find Art Deco-inspired geometric pieces and Victorian Romantic Period-inspired motifs of birds and flowers. Think daisies, roses, tulips, and sunflowers.
Coro produced many parure sets throughout the 1950s matching earrings with necklaces, and even bracelets and rings.
Boho chic beads were mass-produced by the company in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In the later 1970s jewelry styles became chunkier, with lots of gold statement pieces.
Tips on Purchasing Coro Jewelry Online
- Obtain close-up photos of the back so you can look at the specific clasp (e.g., the Duette) and compare it to genuine Coro pieces.
- Use photos to verify the signature.
- Make sure you have accurate measurements of the piece.
- Check the vendor’s reviews and feedback from customers.
- Read the vendor’s "Shipping and Return Policies."
- Use a safe method of payment, e.g., PayPal, in case of any disputes.
There is an exquisite selection of jewelry on Etsy’s Coro page. Etsy is a great place to find vintage jewelry of all kinds. The site is easy to navigate and facilitates communication between you and the vendors. A big plus is supporting small businesses in this “big box” world!
Another great place to shop is eBay, there is a huge selection of Vintage Coro Jewelry there.
My Recommended Etsy Shops
I get asked what my recommended shops for buying Coro jewelry on Etsy are, so here is my answer!
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below! I always answer.