If you are looking to add some Sarah Coventry vintage costume jewelry to your collection, you have come to the right place. Here you will learn about the history, designs, materials used, most collectible pieces, how to identify, and tips on how to buy.
Sarah Coventry did something that other jewelry brands had not yet done, she brought costume jewelry into the comfortable spaces of peoples homes. With the use of home parties, Sarah Coventry jewelry sold far and wide.
History of Sarah Coventry
Charles H. Stuart owned Emmons Home Fashion, but wanted to dive into the jewelry world. In 1949, he did just that by starting the brand Sarah Coventry. It is thought that he named the brand after his granddaughter’s first name, Sarah, and the family hometown of Coventry, England. Their office was headquartered in New York City, but they eventually expanded internationally with offices and manufacturing plants in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Belgium.
The most unique aspect of Sarah Coventry, was how Charles decided to sell these pieces of costume jewelry. Rather than pay for a retail space, he decided to create home parties or fashion shows. He would contract both men and women who would host parties, similar to Tupperware and Avon parties of the time. Here, clients would be surrounded by friends, trying on jewelry and helping each out there favorites. It was a great way to get people comfortable and excited to buy jewelry!
This was a time period when men were returning home from WWII, taking back some of the jobs that women had participated in. Many women jumped at the opportunity to start making money again, perhaps in a way that still allowed them continue to devote time to being housewives and mothers.
It was easy to become a host for Sarah Coventry, as the demonstration kits were offered up front at no cost, with comprehensive training offered as well. Hosts were given generous incentives, such as limited edition host sets of jewelry! It is said that Stuart also gave away some of his pieces at game shows and beauty pagents. This form of marketing was vital to the company, gaining exposure and therefore popularity.
Another unique aspect to Sarah Coventry is the fact that they didn’t design or manufacture the jewelry themselves. They were very much part of the decision making process though, choosing designs from freelancers that they felt would represent the brand best.
This company was sold to a Chicago firm in 1984, as Sarah Coventry was risking bankruptcy. Sarah Coventry jewelry took back production in 2003, creating modern versions of their vintage designs. These pieces were sold online, at home shopping networks and even at some home parties. This new take on the brand didn’t stick and was closed in 2008.
Vintage Sarah Conventry Costume Jewelry Designs
As mentioned, Sarah Coventry never created their own designs. This strayed from the common practices of the time, as most costume jewelry brands were creating their own designs. Choosing to go with freelancers, Sarah Coventry was able to see many designs, in order to decide which best portrayed their brand properly.
Sarah Coventry created pendants, brooches, necklaces, rings, bracelets and sets of jewelry. Their pieces were fun costume jewelry, with lots of character and charm. Most of the vintage pieces were made at much higher quality than the more modern copies.
Many Sarah Coventry pieces had some element of nature, whether it be a floral or a sunburst. The Bittersweet brooch and earrings are a great example of this. The metal is stylized into a leaf design with orange and red teardrop shaped pieces as the buds. Another example is the Kathleen brooch and earring. Here we see a sunburst design, with a carved green rhinestone center and white rhinestones in the rays.
During the late 70s and early 80s, Sarah Coventry started creating women’s wristwatches. These watches were made with quartz movements, silver wire or perhaps a gold toned band. Sometimes you will find some with a small diamond on the 12 number.
Materials used by Sarah Conventry
The main design feature of Sarah Coventry pieces are really their materials. Many of their pieces included larger cut stones, such as cabochons and marquise-cut, rather than the smaller clusters of stones that was typical in costume jewelry of this time.
The use of rhinestones that was common during this period can be seen in Sarah Coventry pieces, as well as in the form of hanging beads. Some pieces also are comprised of colorful enamel, making them a bit more fragile. Many of their pieces were made of bright and colorful components!
Most of Sarah Coventry pieces are made with gold plated or silver toned metals, similar to other costume designs of the time. The stones were all mostly imitation gemstones and rhinestones, with a few diamonds thrown out here and there.
Most Collectible Styles
Some of Sarah Coventry’s most popular styles are those that are color based. An example would be their Blue Lagoon pieces. We’ve seen both brooches and earrings, separate and as a set. These items are made of aurora borealis colored rhinestones, cut into marquise shapes. The purplish blue colors are placed next to smaller, solid blue and purple colored rhinestone pieces. The iridescent and solid color pieces come together to create a vibrant movement of colors.
Earlier we mentioned how hosts would get limited edition host sets of jewelry. These pieces are highly collectible, as they technically were not offered to the public at that time. One example is a bracelet, earring and necklace set, comprised of large, faceted, rectangular smoky colored stones. There are a few small rhinestones throughout the carved silver colored metal.
How to Tell a Genuine Sarah Coventry Piece
When looking to purchase a Sarah Coventry piece, there are a few things to look for to ensure the item is authentic. First, there are a few collector’s books out there that have images and descriptions for you.
- Sarah Coventry Jewelry: An Unauthorized Guide for Collectors by Monica Lynn Clements and Patricia Rosser Clements is a good resource with nearly 400 images.
- Fine Fashion Jewelry from Sarah Coventry by Jennifer A. Lindbeck can be another good resource.
An important thing to consider when purchasing Sarah Coventry, is to look at the Maker Marks. There are five that we’ve seen most often:
- "Coventry" - First use 1949
- "Sarah Coventry" - First use 1949
- "SC" - First use 1950
- "Sarah" - First use 1951
- "Sarah Cov" - First use 1953
These five seemed to all start early on in the brand’s career, starting around 1949-1953 and continuing on until the company was first sold.
Also, you’ll want to be sure the piece actually looks vintage, since the company did start reproducing old designs in the 2000s. The manufacturing was of higher quality on true vintage pieces, and the item should have an older feel to it.
Buying Sarah Coventry on Etsy
Etsy is my favorite place to buy vintage jewelry, the website offers a great user experience and there are many knowledgeable sellers.
Some tips for shopping for vintage jewelry on Etsy:
- Make sure you search within the Vintage section.
- Look for shops with lots of positive reviews.
- Read the shop's "Shipping and Policies" tab before making a purchase decision.
- Read reviews and buyers feedback, only buy from shops with consistently happy customers.
- If you find a shop you like, add them to your favorites so you can find them again.
- Be specific in your search keywords.
We’ve seen multiple pieces pop at at GlassSlipersByJane and VintageRoseFindings has a whole page dedicated to Sarah Coventry Jewelry.
Buying Sarah Coventry on eBay
There is a huge selection of vintage jewelry available on eBay. Here are some tips for shopping on eBay:
- Investigate the seller, look for positive reviews and knowledge of vintage costume jewelry.
- Ask questions. Message the seller and ask them how they acquired the piece.
- Look for a Makers Mark in the photos.
Vintage costume jewelry is always fun, both to collect and wear. Sarah Coventry jewelry is just that, fun! Brightly colored and easy to wear, purchasing Sarah Coventry should be a must for your vintage costume jewelry collection.
[Learn more: The Best Vintage Costume Jewelry Brands]
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments below, I always answer!
27 thoughts on “Sarah Coventry Vintage Costume Jewelry Buying Guide”
I really liked the flow of this website, and the content was informative. I especially thought the video was a great addition. There were very good resources that I felt were very helpful, especially if you are new to vintage jewelry. I also liked the Leave a Comment section. I think that was a great idea.
I am writing a lot about sustainability lately in blog, I honestly did not even consider the fact that vintage jewelry has this sustainable aspect by being reusable!
I will definitely tell my girlfriend to have a look at Sarah Coventry on Etsy! Very nice review! Hopefully you will keep writing, because I will be back for more info! 🙂
All the best,
Thanks for stopping in Matteo!
Are pieces marked SARAH COV, all caps with a space in between authentic? I saw a lot on Etsy.
Yes, Gail, that is a genuine Sarah Coventry mark 🙂
I found a single Sarah Cov Clip on snowflake earing with a pearl centerpiece and was curious if it was worth anything seeing as i only have the one??
Hi Micheal, it won’t be worth as much as a pair of earrings, but I have seen people take old earrings and turn them into pendants, maybe that could be a use for it? It’s possible someone would want to buy it and turn it into something else 🙂
My Aunt passed and I found several piece. Was wondering if I could sell them.
hi Pam! It is definitely worth a shot 🙂 Check out my article on how to sell your vintage costume jewelry.
My great grandmother has passed and I have found a lot of jewelry that looks to be very old I’m wondering if any of Sarah jewelry would be worth anything ?
Ho Angie, some of it may be worth something 🙂 Are any of them marked with a signature? I have an article on how to sell your vintage costume jewelry.
These are MAKER MARKS, not HALLMARKS. No costume jewelry ever produced has hallmarks. Hallmarks are a series of marks only found on precious metal jewelry which has been registered at an Assay Office.
Thank you for this information Mordorian 🙂 I didn’t realize there was a difference! Now that I know, I will change the wording in the article. I did some research and confirmed that what you have said is true, there is a difference in the meaning of the terms.
I have 2 rings with SARAH COV on them, I’ve had them since early 80’s and an elderly lady gave them to me. I gave them to my granddaughter to play with but wasn’t sure if worth anything.
Hi Diane, what a lovely gift for your granddaughter, I loved costume jewelry as a kid and often played with my Mom and Grandmother’s old jewelry. Most Sarah Coventry rings I see on Etsy are typically listed for $10 – $50 each.
Hello! I love your article on Sarah Cov, but there was no mentioned that she also used precious metal and gemstone in some of her jewelry. I was wondering if you are aware that she did, can you tell me when did she start using precious metal and gemstones with the logo Sarah Cov and Sterling. Thank you
Hello Carol, thanks for stopping in. I have not heard of Sarah Conventry using precious metals or gemstones. I just did some reading and searching online and could not find any information about it. I had a look on Etsy and found one sterling silver ring by her. So it looks like she made some sterling silver pieces and I assume they are rare and highly collectible, as I can’t find many. I hope that helps!
Thank you for this very informative article. I wonder if you have any idea in what years Sarah Coventry’s jewellery was marked GB in addition to her SarahCov signature with the copyright sign? Thank you.
Hi Alice, I have not been able to find out anything about Sarah Coventry using a GB mark on her jewelry.
Hi I found a I think it’s a tie clip but it’s some kind of clip and it has a dog and like sheep herder on it but it has the SARAHCOV stamped on the back I was wondering if you knew anything about tie clips and if you could give me any information thank you
Hi Jany, what are you wanting to know? Sarah Coventry did make tie clips, they are beautiful 🙂
Thanks for writing this very informative article on Sara Coventry jewelry, which is becoming more and more collectible. Once abundant, these pieces are becoming harder to find as coventry has been out of business for decades.
Thank you Tammy!
I have a large amount of Sarah Coventry in my life-long jewelry stash. Several of these are not hallmarked, I don’t know why. But I’m about 95% positive on some pieces that they’re Sarah Cov, despite lack of signature. Both my mom and I were buying Sarah Cov (as well as Emmons and Judy Lee, but mostly Sarah Cov) from the mid 50’s thru the early 70’s. My older sister was a rep for at least 2 of those companies, so Mom and I often went to her parties and held parties of our own for her as well. So now, aside from my memory being quite positive that certain unsigned pieces in my stash are either Sarah or Emmons, that memory is reinforced by the fact that I now have duplicates of the same pieces (in some cases entire parures). Can you or anyone hazard a guess as to why some of my SC isn’t marked? Also, there are some that I cannot ID in any jewelry reference I’ve seen. Could it be because my sis was a rep and these were demos? (I don’t think so.) Or was there just a period in SC history where they didn’t hallmark all jewelry? I’d really like to make a positive ID so I can at least sell some of the duplicates.
Although the Sarah Coventry company did not manufacture the jewelry, they determined which pieces to add to their line. Each piece has identifying marks which varied over the years:
“Coventry” – First used in 1949
“Sarah Coventry” – Also used from 1949 onwards
“SC” – First used in 1950
“Sarah: First used in 1951.
Some of these marks overlapped and were used throughout the years. As you know, the company went bankrupt in the 1980s, and in 2003 Sarah Coventry HHP Inc. sold jewelry at home parties until 2008. It’s possible that the unsigned pieces were these later versions of their jewelry, but it’s difficult to say for sure.
You could try to send pictures of what you have to one of the following resources:
Wishing you luck with them,
I found a piece on eBay that has the copyright symbol then SARAH. I can’t find anything that matches this mark. Does anyone know if there is a 6 th mark? Thanks
Yay! I did some research and found a SARAH jewelry mark on a piece of jewelry online. It was first used in 1951, so it would seem to be authentic.
Hope this answers your question.