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Avon may be best known for cosmetics and fragrances, but their jewelry, especially that offered from the mid-1970s to the late-1990s, is in great demand by collectors. Pieces created for special collections, such as those designed by Kenneth Jay Lane and Elizabeth Taylor, are hard to find and, therefore, quite valuable.

Brief History of Avon Jewelry

David H. McConnell founded the California Perfume Company in 1886 with an original and distinctly modern sales plan: ladies going door-to-door selling fragrances and toiletries directly to ladies. Women had the opportunity to establish their own businesses! By the turn of the century, there were 5,000 much admired “Avon Ladies.” Thirty years later, there were 25,000. In 1939, the company became “Avon Products, Inc.” and expanded their products lines, including skin care, talcum powder and vanity sets.

Avon jewelry began in 1963, originally as a free gift for purchasing a particular product or as a premium for buying a certain number of products. The jewelry, characterized by brilliant stones, filigree, and gold leaf, looked like fine jewelry, and it was wildly popular. The demand resulted in Avon’s first collection that customers could buy in 1970. The collection included necklaces, pendants, rings and brooches that held perfume, solid or liquid, a status symbol for the ladies of the 1970s.

By 1975, Avon was the world's largest costume-jewelry producer—for men as well as women. Jewelry representing owls and other animals were popular at the time, as were cameos, bangles, Christmas and Halloween designs, and the ever-romantic hearts. By the 1980s, Avon's reputation for offering high-quality yet affordable costume jewelry began to attract notable designers to the line.

Today, after a complicated series of mergers and acquisitions, Avon is a international conglomerate with sales of more than $10 billion. In 2020, it began its new campaign “Watch Me Now” and introduced a whole new logo.

Vintage Avon Jewelry Designers

Major costume jewelry companies (e.g., Swarovski, Trifari, Krementz, Tiffany and Nina Ricci) designed jewelry for Avon, as did celebrity designers, entertainment celebrities, and, in one case, a prestigious institution, the Smithsonian with its 19 museums.

Jose & Maria Barrera

Jose Barrera Jewelry Set Roman Holiday for Avon from Etsy

Jose Barrera Jewelry Set Roman Holiday for Avon from Etsy

1980s: Jose & Maria Barrera “Roman Holiday” Pendant and Earrings Set

Jose and Maria Barrera collaborated with Avon in the late 1980s-early1990s. Their pieces are some of the most collectible of Avon jewelry. The bold yet often delicate designs translated well to the Avon brand. Collectors will find that vintage Avon Barrera jewelry is worth two to three times the original price.

Kenneth Jay Lane

Kenneth Jay Lane KJL for AVON Statement Necklace

Kenneth Jay Lane KJL for AVON Statement Necklace from Etsy

1970s: Kenneth Jay Lane for Avon Statement / Runway Capriati Necklace

Kenneth Jay Lane’s costume jewelry was in demand by Hollywood celebrities, socialites and royalty. His designs were fun yet sophisticated, and Avon carried his collections longer than any other of their designers. KJL for Avon pieces commanded a higher price than the “ordinary” Avon jewelry, and the same is true today for the vintage collectibles.

Elizabeth Taylor

Vintage Egyptian OPC Off Park Collection Bracelet

Vintage Egyptian OPC Off Park Collection Bracelet from Etsy

1990s: Elizabeth Taylor for Avon Egyptian Bracelet Bangle

Elizabeth Taylor designed jewelry for Avon from 1993 to 1997. It was the most popular and the most expensive. Her designs are ornately detailed, luxurious and often indistinguishable from fine jewelry. Many pieces were inspired by her films, such as Cleopatra and The Taming of the Shrew. One show piece in particular was the replica of the Shah Jenah necklace gifted to her by Richard Burton. ET jewelry was glamorously wrapped in violet, the color of ET’s eyes. 

Celine Dion

Avon Celine Dion Limited Edition Titanic Heart of the Ocean Necklace

Avon Celine Dion Limited Edition Titanic Heart of the Ocean Necklace from eBay

Celine Dion Limited Edition Titanic Romantic Heart of the Ocean Necklace

In 1998, Celine Dion worked with Avon to offer a "My Heart Will Go On" necklace based on the jewel Rose wore in Titanic.

Smithsonian Institution

Rare Vintage Avon Smithsonian Institution Gellatly Cross Necklace

Rare Vintage Avon Smithsonian Institution Gellatly Cross Necklace from eBay

1997: Gellatly Cross Necklace - Book Piece

The original cross, 7 inches high, made in the 13th century was gifted to the museum by John Gellatly. The Avon cross, at 2+ inches, was created by designers from Avon and the Smithsonian and signed by both on a metal tag. Crafted in copper and champleve enamel, the cross was highly textured and etched. One side was plain; the other blue and white enamel. 

Vintage Avon Jewelry Hallmarks

Some initials are merely an internal company code for who manufactured the piece.

  • Identified initials are: SH, MR, LYK, BW, WN, SP
AVON SP mark
  • © AVON
Avon mark
  • K.J.L. for AVON (Kenneth Jay Lane)
KJL for Avon Mark

Barrera for AVON (Jose and Maria Barrera)

BARRERA for Avon mark

Large script E within an oval (Elizabeth Taylor)

Elizabeth Taylor For Avon mark

Smithsonian Avon  

Smithsonian by Avon mark
  • Celia Sebiri for Avon - 1987
  • Shaill Jhevari for Avon - 993 to 1994
  • Coreen Simpson for Avon - 1994 to 1998.
  • Billy D. Williams for Avon
  • Trifari designed and made the 1986 Centennial Jewelry for Avon

Please note that a Canadian company, Avon of Belleville, made costume jewelry between 1945 and 1971. Those pieces have no connection to “our” Avon.

Materials Used in Vintage Avon Jewelry

  • Lucite
  • Bakelite
  • Thermosets (e.g., silicone and polyurethane)
  • Resin 
  • Acrylic
  • Gold-tone metal
  • Real gold (but rarely)
  • Sterling silver
  • CZ diamonds
  • Rhinestones
  • Cabochons (that simulated precious gems)
  • Glass beads
  • Faux pearls
  • Moonstone
  • Coral
  • Enamel

Noteworthy Vintage Avon Jewelry Collectibles

AVON Burst of Spring Necklace

Vintage 1988 AVON 'Burst of Spring' Necklace

1988 – From the Burst of Spring collection, a green (“apple jade”) and white acrylic beaded necklace measuring 28-1/2 inches

AVON Gold Faux Pearl Perfume Ring

VINTAGE 1970s AVON PERFUME RING

1970s – Art Deco Style statement ring, adjustable so you can wear it on any finger. Notice the hinged front where the perfume is hidden away, yet handy.

Gold Tone and Blue Stone Locket Necklace

Vintage Blue Stone Avon Locket Necklace

1970s (estimated) – Locket (2 ¼ inches tall) with blue cabochon and rope chain (25 inches long) are gold-tone metal. 

14K Gold, 20-Pearl and Single Diamond Setting Brooch

Vintage RARE Avon 14K gold 20-pearl and single diamond brooch

20th century – One of the rare pieces of fine jewelry rendered in 14K gold with 20 uniformly sized pearls and .10 carat brilliant diamond set in the center. This is a once in a lifetime piece for the buyer.

Aurora Borealis Bow Christmas Tree Pin - Book Piece

Vintage Avon Aurora Borealis Bow Christmas Tree

1992 – Gold-tone metal Christmas pin with six aurora borealis rhinestones, measures 2.25” high and 1 5/8” wide.

Halloween Pins, Boy & Girl Scarecrows

Avon Scarecrow and Witch Halloween brooch

1992 – Gold-tone metal and enamel pins measure about 1 ¾ inch 1 ½ inch.

Conclusion

One thing that contributes to the demand for vintage Avon jewelry is that it was limited. The market was never glutted with a particular piece or line. They were regularly discontinued. Another thing is that jewelry was only a small portion of the Avon business. Find a piece from the 1960s, and you have had a very successful hunt!

To see more examples of Avon jewelry, please visit the Avon pages on Etsy and eBay.

 

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About the Author

Andrea

I am here to help you find the best vintage jewelry!

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  1. Hi I have a pair of heart earrings by Yves Saint Laurant
    They are green enamel with a purple "stone" in the middle. I have only been able to locate 1 other pair identical except that it is a clip on while mine has a post. Any thoughts on the value or best ace to sell?

    1. Hi Diane, its hard to say for sure what your earrings are worth. I would try messaging some vintage jewelry shops on Etsy and see if they might be interested in purchasing.

  2. I am trying to find a children’s butterfly emerald birthstone necklace from Avon. I believe it is from the early 80s.

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