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Les Bernard costume jewelry was original, innovative, and very high quality and was beloved by those with exquisite taste. 

Looking for vintage Les Bernard jewelry? Learn about the history, materials used, jewelry marks, and collectable pieces in this guide.

Brief History of Les Bernard Jewelry

Harold Shapiro was part owner and head designer of Vogue Jewelry Manufacturing in New York City. He was also the father of Bernard Shapiro. In 1962, Harold sold his share of Vogue, and Bernard and designer Lester Joy founded Les Bernard Inc.

The company was considered a pioneer in high-class design. Les Bernard created innovative jewelry using crystal, glass, enamel, marcasite, silver and precious metal alloys in wide-ranging styles such as Egyptian, Art Deco, and whimsical figurals.

Les Bernard was extremely inventive in combining materials and design styles never seen before, such as the Diamond Point Texture where an entire piece was covered with tiny indentations made by a diamond-pointed tool. Also, they originated the technique of using marcasite and rhinestones in the same piece, a technique that required painstaking handiwork since marcasite is flat backed and rhinestones have pointed backs. When used in gold-tone jewelry, the marcasite takes on an attractive coppery hue.

Les Bernard jewelry is not widely known, regardless of its beauty and uniqueness. And even though Les Bernard created the jewelry for the television series, Dynasty.

Les and Bernard went out of business in 1996.

Jewelry Marks

  • “LES BERNARD”
  • “LES BERNARD INC”
  • “STERLING LES BERNARD”
les bernard inc mark
Les Bernard jewelry mark

Jewelry Materials

  • Silver
  • Gold plate
  • Gold Tone
  • Brass
  • Precious Metal Alloys
  • Crystals
  • Rhinestones
  • Glass
  • Cabochons
  • Beads
  • Marcasite
  • Coral
  • Mother-of-Pearl
  • Onyx
  • Turquoise
  • Faux Pearls
  • Lucite

Collectable Vintage Les Bernard Jewelry

Multicoloured Les Bernard Vintage Necklace from TheHirstCollection on Etsy

Multicoloured Les Bernard Vintage Necklace from TheHirstCollection on Etsy

Multi-Colored Necklace

Oval red, green and blue glass stones set on gold-plated metal. Measures 16 ½ inches.

Vintage Les Bernard Brutalist Brass Choker from eBay

Vintage Les Bernard Brutalist Brass Choker from eBay

Brutalist Brass Choker Necklace 

1980s. Artisan-styled Brutalist design in hammered brass.

Vintage Les Bernard Faux Pearl Necklace and Earring Set from eBay

Vintage Les Bernard Faux Pearl Necklace and Earring Set from eBay

Faux Large Pearl Necklace & Earrings

Estate. Pearls measure 20mm. Necklace is 36 inches long. On earrings, teardrop-shaped faux pearls are surrounded with clear rhinestones. Earrings are almost 3 inches long.

Vintage Les Bernard Chunky Gold-tone Clip-on Earrings from NattyDenim on Etsy

Vintage Les Bernard Chunky Gold-tone Clip-on Earrings from NattyDenim on Etsy

Chunky Gold-tone Clip-on Earrings

20th century. The earrings feature a braided-type design in a hoop shape. The gold color is finished to a high gloss. The earrings measure approximately 1 1/8” tall and 5/8” at the widest point.

Les Bernard Pave Encrusted Daisy Brooch from Excuisite Vintage Jewels

Les Bernard Pave Encrusted Daisy Brooch from Exquisite Vintage Jewels

Golden Rhinestone Daisy Brooch

Rhinestone encrusted gold-tone daisy brooch with each petal able to move independently. Each down-turned petal adds to the intriguing dimensional design.

Vintage Signed Les Bernard Modernist Cuff Bracelet

Vintage Signed Les Bernard Modernist Cuff Bracelet from Worthpoint

Modernist Brushed Gold Tone Cuff Bracelet

Estate. Cuff bracelet rendered in the Modernist style in brushed gold tone. Measures 2 ¼ inches wide. Hinged so that it is easy to put on and take off.

Tips for Buying Vintage Les Bernard Jewelry

  • As with any second-hand or online buying, know your seller. Read customer reviews. Make sure he/she has been in business long enough to establish a following. True, it’s good to sometimes give a newcomer a chance, but tread lightly.
  • Study as much as you can about Les Bernard and look for those designs that are distinguishing. Of course, check for the hallmarks.
  • Vintage jewelry has a particularly soft, lived-in look. Also, prong edges, clasps and earring hooks will be worn smooth. Clasps will open and close easily due to use. Even faux pearls lose their luster over many years and have dull spots where they had most come in contact with the skin.
  • As a hobby collector, purchase carefully and at a fair price, but buy what you love. Values fluctuate. Leave those complicated assessments to the experts. Buy what you will enjoy wearing. If later, you decide to sell it and make a profit, you are in the win-win column!

Conclusion

Les Bernard costume jewelry has a relatively small collector base compared to brands such as Trifari and Monet. At this time, it remains undervalued by collectors, but that is changing. Most vintage jewelry books do not mention it or only briefly mention it. It is a great time to start your collection. You will find pieces for $5 or $10. Once vendors and collectors realize the quality, talent and uniqueness of the pieces, these exquisite designs will increase in popularity and value.

See Etsy pages and eBay for their selections of Les Bernard.

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Andrea

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