In 1903, Emanuel Cohn (“Co”) and Carl Rosenberger (“ro”) opened an accessories boutique and later expanded into jewelry. Neither man could design jewelry, so they hired Adolph Katz as Director of Design. Adolph selected designs from a large pool of designers. He is sometimes thought, mistakenly, to be a designer, but that’s because he filed many of the patents as a representative of the company.
By 1929, Coro with their three lines, Coro, Corocraft and Vendome, was the largest manufacturer of costume jewelry in the US, and their vintage jewelry is among the most collectible today—most notably their Jelly Belly, Duette and Trembler pieces, and Parures.
Jelly Belly Jewelry
The Jelly Belly is, at times, misidentified. A true Jelly Belly has a clear Lucite stone set in metal. Jewelry with opaque stones and/or colors are only Jelly Belly wannabes. The most coveted pieces are large and set in vermeil (gold-washed sterling silver).
The DuPont Corporation developed the crystal clear Lucite acrylic in 1931. Jelly Belly jewelry was first made in the late 1930s as part of the Corocraft brand and continued through the 1940s (maybe a few continuing into the early 1960s). Designs are wonderfully imaginative, usually of animals and flowers and often adorned with rhinestones.
Created in 1942 and fashioned from vermeil, this Jelly Belly Angel Fish pin has a huge Lucite belly. The fish is accented with clear rhinestones and a red stone eye. The pin is 2 ½ inches by 2½ inches. Patent #133470.
From the 1940s, these Jelly Belly rhinestone dangle drop earrings have screw backs. The large oval Lucite stones are complemented with pastel-colored rhinestones. They measure 5/8-inches long and 5/8-inches wide.
Dated from the early 1940s, this flower (Daisy or Lily) pin is made with gold-plated metal and Lucite. Measures 3¾ inches by 2½ inches.
A trembler is a type of brooch on which a small part of the pin is set en tremblant (on tiny metal springs) that allows elements of the pin to tremble or quiver when the wearer moves. Floral designs, birds and winged insects are the most popular designs. The trembler pins are part of the Corocraft line.
From the 1940s, the cage hangs from the bow. The bird has the trembler spring and is a very active bird indeed! The pin is made from gold-plated metal, rhinestones and enamel and measures 2 5/8 inches long.
This fur clip, made in mid-20th century, is both a trembler and a duette (see next section) and made with gold-toned metal, crystals, rhinestones and enamel. The flowers are the tremblers. The brooch measures 3 inches by ½ inch.
The Duettes are two dress pins locked together by a mechanism invented and patented by Coro. You can wear one pin by itself or both together. They were part of the Coro line from 1931 to the 1950s and are among the most collectible Coro pieces. Early Duette designs were monochromatic, but eventually featured pavé-set rhinestones. Today, the Quivering Camellia design is highly valued by collectors.
Created in 1944, the vermeil frogs are embellished with an oval green-colored crystal and crystal chatons. Each frog has eyes made of Lucite half-spheres with a small black pellet in the middle. Measures approximately 2 inches by 2 inches. Patent #138958.
Made in 1931, this glittering Art Deco-style brooch is covered with rhinestones on silver-tone metal. Measures 3.2 inches y 1.4 inches.
A Parure is a French word that means a set of matching jewelry. A full parure includes at least three pieces; a demi-parure has two pieces.
From the 1930s, this necklace, bracelet and earrings set is adorned with rhinestones and aurora borealis rhinestones set into gold-tone metal. The necklace measures 17.5 inches, the bracelet 8 inches, and the earrings are just over 1 inch.
This necklace, bracelet, brooch and earrings set is aglow with blue rectangular glass stones, small faceted rhinestones and faux pearl banding. The necklace is 16 inches long with a 2-inch long, 2-inch wide pendant. The brooch is 3 inches by 1 ¼ inches; the bracelet 7 inches long; and the screw back earrings are 1 ½ inches long and ½ inch wide.
From the 1950s, this parure includes necklace, bracelet, brooch and earrings. The curved simulated white Baroque pearls (aka “baby tooth pearls) alone make this highly desirable for Coro collectors. The set also features ribbon- and leaf-designed links in an antiqued silver finish, light blue rhinestones. The necklace measures 17 inches long; bracelet 7 ¼ inches long and ¾ inch wide; brooch is 2 ¼ by 2 inches; and screw-back earrings are 1 ¼ inches long.
Coro made fashionable jewelry for a wide range of customers—as beloved by the wealthy as by the average woman. The jewelry is known for the interesting designs, top-quality workmanship and versatility. When the company closed, it left behind a treasured legacy, which makes it a great brand to collect. [Learn more about Vintage Coro Jewelry]
It will take a bit of studying to identify the hallmarks, but it will be worth the effort when you can separate the real from the fakes on your “treasure hunts.” Just as an example, “CR” was the first mark, which then can be seen in script in work from 1919. In 1937, “Coro Craft” was used, which in 1942 became “CoroCraft Sterling.” After World War II, marks included “Corocraft” and “Coro Sterling.” Eventually, Pegasus, a flying horse from Greek mythology, was added to the mark. A “V” was used for the high-end line, Vendome. The book, Coro Jewelry: A Collector's Guide, Identification and Values is a very helpful guide.
Please visit Etsy for Jelly Belly Jewelry (keep in mind a real Jelly Belly must be a clear Lucite stone); Tremblers; Duettes; and Parures. On eBay: Jelly Belly Jewelry, Tremblers, Duettes, and Parures.
What is your favorite Coro jewelry?