If you are looking for vintage Lia Sophia jewelry, then you have come to the right place. Here you will learn about the history, materials, jewelry marks, our favorite collectible pieces and where to buy them.
Who is Lia Sophia?
Lia Sophia is a jewelry brand that started in Chicago in the mid-1980s. It was sold at home parties and the commission from these sales provided women with extra income. The jewelry line included both classic and trendy pieces.
About Lia Sophia
Lia Sophia was part of the Remington electric shaver and moustache trimmer conglomerate owned by Victor Kiam. After Victor’s death, his son Tory and wife Elena Kiam took over the brand, re-vamping and incorporating it under the Lia Sophia brand name in 2004.
Lia Sophia was a direct sales jewelry company with independent representatives like Tupperware and Avon. Its mission was to empower women to manage their own careers and achieve their dreams - and it was run largely as a non-profit operation, with substantial rewards going to its all-female sales team. The jewelry was sold through at-home parties by what were then called Lia Sophia ‘hostesses’ or ‘advisors.’ At the time, customers could choose from everyday pieces for less than $20 up to more formal, red-carpet pieces ranging from $110 to $1650. Lia Sophia represented the democratization of jewelry, as anyone from a Hollywood A-lister to a stay-at-home mom could afford to look amazing.
Their collections included reasonably priced, attractive gold- and silver-plated pieces, many with gemstones, and their jewelry became popular all over the U.S. including in Hollywood. Lia Sophia was spotted hanging round some famous necks and wrists in the early 2000s, including Katy Perry, Tyra Banks, Jennifer Lawrence and Eva Longoria. Teen Vogue, People Magazine, and Marie Claire often included Lia Sophia in their influential editorial articles.
Lia Sophia made costume necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets, cuffs and bangles in modern and even Art Deco inspired designs. Many of their pieces show bubble, circle and triangle designs with dramatic, multi-color or contrasting colors such as a combination of black and red. Their pieces are highly wearable and are now sought-after collectible items.
1979 – Victor Kiam purchases the Remington company, and it begins turning profit after years of losing millions. His commercials in which he stars – “I liked the shaver so much I bought the company” - are hugely successful.
1986 – Victor buys Act II Jewelry and changes its name to Lady Remington. He establishes a Lifetime Replacement Guarantee for the jewelry.
2001 – Victor passes away. His son, Tory Kiam takes the reigns of the jewelry business, revamping its image and product line to appeal to younger, trendier customers.
2004 - The company is relaunched under the name Lia Sophia, after his two daughters. Tory and his wife, Elena, a Harvard educated architect and designer, give the company a more modern look, setting up a direct sales operation for stay-at-home moms and women looking to start their own businesses and further their careers.
Elena is the Creative Director and style genius behind the brand. She calls Lia Sophia “social fashion” where women get to experiment with jewelry in a judgment-free zone where they can feel confident and beautiful in the company of their closest girlfriends.”
2008 – A Chicago Tribune article states that Lia Sophia now has 27,000 independent sales representatives nationwide who collectively sell more than $100 million worth of costume jewelry a year. Lia Sophia “zone leaders’ earn an average of $357, 872 annually.
2010 – The top earning Lia Sophia salesperson earns almost $4 million.
Lia Sophia issues two collections year with pieces ranging from $20 to more than $100. A separate, higher-priced, more fashion-forward line called the Red Carpet Collection is also developed. The Red Carpet Collection is distributed at celebrity-heavy events such as the Sundance Film Festival and parties in West Hollywood or Malibu, where A-listers are invited to accept gifts. Celebrities spotted wearing Lia Sophia Jewelry include Jennifer Aniston, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lawrence, Tyra Banks and Gwen Stefani. When Oprah Winfrey wears a pair of the gold Lia Sophia Coliseum hoop earrings on the cover of O Magazine, they become instant bestsellers.
The line’s popularity appeals to both Hollywood and Middle America, which is not an easy accomplishment.
2015 – Surprisingly, the company suddenly closes, citing a ‘challenging business environment.”
Lia Sophia Jewelry Materials
- Gold plate (18k-22k electroplated)
- Micro-plated rhodium
- Micro-plated silver
- Glass beads
- Resin beads
- Multi-colored gemstones
- Clear crystals
- Dyed crystals
- Semi-precious stones
What are Lia Sophia Rings Made out of?
Lia Sophia is considered costume jewelry or fashion jewelry. Pieces are not made with real silver or gold. However, Lia Sophia rings are made from high-quality gold or rhodium-plated metals. All gold-tone jewelry including rings are made with 18K-22K electroplate.
Silver tones are crafted from silver of rhodium electroplate to provide and tarnish-free ring. Some rings include semi-precious stones. Others contain glass or resin beads, crystals, rhinestones, shells, and faux pearls. Rings from the Red Carpet Collection that are made with enamel are especially beautiful.
Is Lia Sophia Real Silver?
No, Lia Sophia Jewelry only created costume or fashion jewelry. All silver-tone jewelry is made from silver or rhodium plate over a base metal.
Lia Sophia Jewelry Marks
Lia Sophia jewelry is not branded, so you will not find a stamp or mark. When purchased, it comes with a Lia Sophia tag as identification, but as the tag is generally taken off before wearing the jewelry, the brand’s typical design and look must serve as authentication. Some pieces still have tags, which is preferable for authentication.
Is Lia Sophia Jewelry Worth Anything?
Yes, Lia Sophia Jewelry still has value in the vintage jewelry market today. The company’s general collection is a good entry-level jewelry brand for new collectors as it is still reasonably priced.
Initially, the company offered its shoppers two catalogs per year from which to shop and browse. Jewelry items featured ranged from $20 to $100 retail at the time.
There was also a higher price point collection called The Red Carpet Collection. This was marketed toward the Hollywood set. These famous ladies enjoyed exclusive home parties where the collection was offered for sale. Pieces in the exclusive line retailed for between $125 to over $1000. Fashion editors in Elle, Cosmopolitan, and even Vogue magazine featured these jewelry designs.
Lia Sophia Jewelry also gave away pieces to celebrities as an act of promotion. In 2011, Oprah Winfrey wore Lia Sophia earrings on the cover of O Magazine. Due to her influence on her fans, the demand for Lia Sophia Jewelry soared.
In the end, when the company finally shut its doors in 2015, all jewelry was liquidated at more than half the retail price.
Lia Sophia Jewelry Value
How much does vintage Lia Sophia Jewelry cost? Necklaces range at the lower end at $12 for a simple pendant on a silver tone chain. Silver-tone necklaces with sparkle such as those containing rhinestones or crystals tend to cost closer to the $40 mark. You will also find silver-tone Victorian-inspired charm necklaces complete with clear and milk glass engraved cameos at the same price point.
Generally, gold-tone Lia Sophia necklaces are available at the same price as the silver-tone pieces. For the long Art Deco style gold tone tassel necklace expect to pay about $30.
Vintage necklaces from the Red Carpet Collection can fetch between $100 to almost $700 today. The bigger the necklace the more expensive the price. Large geometric pendants, with central glass cut stones are available at the lower price point. Higher-priced necklaces feature over-enlarged stones, with decorative frames, that are attached to make collar necklaces. Others have additional vertical drop elements.
Classic hoop earrings from Lia Sophia are popular collector’s items. These are priced at $50 or higher. Most are plain, yet some are embellished with metal fringe, tiny round tambourines, or simple stones. Embossed hoop earrings have rope and herringbone patterns.
The company’s “fairy tale style” hoop earrings have crystals right around the entire outside perimeter. One glorious hoop earring design has rounds of abalone playfully dangling. Many of these earrings are still hanging on the original earring card holder.
There are endless varieties of drop earrings that are generally priced between $10 to $20 per pair. Look for large teardrops, opened or closed with decorative scrollwork. Drop earrings with dangling beads add interest to the ear. Classic stud drop earrings have faux pearls close to the ear with delicate chains supporting additional pearls.
For less than $10, you’ll find tiny studs with heart motifs, or flowers. Some feature cut crystals set in an elaborately decorative frame. Others are geometric in shape and studded with tiny pave rhinestones.
Lia Sophia bracelets start at the $15 mark. Examples include chain bracelets with toggle clasps, sporting cut glass and crystal, or slim bangles with a light sprinkle of rhinestones. Pretty antique style gold plated chain bracelets embellished with cut glass are also available at this price point. You will also find several varieties of stretch bangles in silver-tone or gold tones, with decorative engraving.
Be on the lookout for bangles comprised of three open bands, connected but still revealing the wrist. These are studded with rounds of colorful glass.
Large, opulent, statement bracelets were popular designs in the Lia Sophia Red Carpet Collection. These can cost upwards of $250. Bronze, Smokey topaz, and other earth-tone enamels are mixed with rhinestone and marcasite. Bold, decorative hardware sits in the center of these chunky designs for added visual appeal. Closures are hinged or magnetic.
For Lia Sophia rings, again think of bold designs. Most are affordably priced at under $35 yet are chic and fashionable. Cocktail rings feature over-enlarged central stones. Silver-tone rings lean toward light green and pale blue cut glass and crystal. Gold-tone cocktail rings are often paired with earthy brown stones. Some hold multifaceted stones, while others feature rounded cabochon cuts. Especially pretty are the floral cocktail rings featuring one large bloom.
You’ll also find thick bands with interlocking flower motifs. These pretty rings are completely covered in miniature rhinestones. It has the look of pave diamonds at a fraction of the price.
Keep an eye out for statement rings from the Lia Sophia Red Carpet Collection. These are well made and incorporate modern design. Best of all they are priced between $25 and $75 each. You’ll fall in love with the chunky Art Deco-style rings made with enamel and studded with crystals. The Red Carpet Collection Blue Lapis and Carnelian Horn Ring is a stunner in a crossover design. Grab it if you can find your size!
Vintage Lia Sophia Necklaces
Some examples of Lia Sophia necklaces:
- Martini pendant on a silver-tone snake chain
- Crystal-embedded heart pendant in silver tone
- Large silver-tone teardrop on a snake chain
- Clear crystal studded ball pendant on a silver-tone snake chain
- Large abalone rhinestone silver tone daisy pendant
- Silver-plated Mohave turquoise teardrop pendant
- Taggle clasped link chain in silver tone with a dangling bead pendant.
- Divinity cross pendant in silver plate with a central flower and blue and black stones
- Black leather necklace with toggle clasp and two silver plated hearts with rhinestones
- Silver tone rectangular pendant with multiple rhinestone hearts
- Single stone geometric cut glass pendent on a silver-tone necklace
- Long silver tone necklace with alternating faux pearls and rhinestone daisies
- Long silver tone necklaces with crystal inspired by Elsa Peretti for Tiffany
- Long 24-inch chain with interspersed open daisy design in silver tone
- Multiple circles necklace in silver tone
- Multistrand silver tone wire necklace with silver- and gold-plated balls
- Multistrand silver tone wire necklace with light blue geometric cut glass
- Radiating circular necklace with central green glass stone crafted in silver plate
- Gold-plated diamond-shaped pendant with a central rectangle of onyx
- Silver plate charm necklace with a central milk glass cameo charm in green
- Copper charm necklace with alternating brown glass rectangle and decorative circles in red
- Large link, silver tone charm necklace with geometric-shaped charms
- Long 30-inch gold tone necklace with three vertical beads ending in a tassel
Is Lia Sophia Jewelry Still in Business?
No, Lia Sophia closed up shop in 2015.
How to Clean Lia Sophia Jewelry
An easy way to clean Lia Sophia Jewelry is with a little salt, baking soda, water, and aluminum foil. First line a small bowl with aluminum foil. Then place one teaspoon and a half teaspoon each of salt and baking soda in a bowl. Pour in one-half cup of warm water. Add the jewelry and clean with a small cloth. Rinse and dry.
Lia Sophia Collectible Pieces
Now is the time to start collecting vintage Lia Sophia jewelry. There has been a return to the retro 80s look, and Lia Sophia’s long necklaces, cuff bracelets and cocktail rings are a great way to start your collection. You will find several online sources, but we favor Etsy’s amazing selection.
A rare find. This is a purple faux pearl necklace with a detachable enhancer, so you can wear it with or without. The Lia Sophia name is on both the necklace and the enhancer to verify authenticity:
These Lia Sophia estate necklaces typify their distinctive look. They feature long silver and gold tone and abalone shell hoop necklaces. The silver tone and abalone hoops necklace measures 16” with a 3” extension chain, and the e gold tone abalone disc necklace measures 16” long with a 3” extension chain and a 1 1/2” abalone disc pendant. What makes this a good buy is that these necklaces have a Lia Sophia hangtag which makes them authentic pieces:
Also typical of the Lia Sophia look is this matching red and blue chunky earring and necklace set on a rubber cord. It’s funky, modern and fun:
No Lia Sophia collection is complete without one of their cuff bracelets. This one is a rare example of a six-panel stretchy cuff with onyx, rhinestones and chatoyant cat’s eye:
Here’s another extraordinary Lia Sophia hinged vintage cuff bracelet. It’s a limited-edition piece and is made of brilliant yellow, black and cream enamel with rhinestones in a style reminiscent of the Art Deco era:
This next piece is a glorious Mid Century modern golden lion face brooch from their Cape Town Collection. It was researched and designed by Elena Kiam herself during one of her many overseas trips:
Boho chic. Lia Sophia was famous for its statement cocktail rings – and this one is no exception. It is a gold tone boho/hippie style persimmon orange ring with teardrop, marquis, and round shaped stones. It is rhodium plated to prevent tarnish:
These Lia Sophia gold tone carved hoop earrings scream the 80s. Pair them with flared jeans and a boho top and you’re in a cool time warp:
Finally we’ve picked a set of Lia Sophia multi-colored crystal earrings because – well…. they’re so Lia Sophia. The different colored crystals in blue, green and white complement a white summer suit or blue jeans alike – or pick up any of the colors in the earrings to announce your vintage style with pizzazz.
8 thoughts on “Vintage Lia Sophia Jewelry Guide”
I'm rather confused. I wound up buying a signed "Lia Sophia" cuff bracelet at a vintage auction. Is there something special about a piece of this jewelry that is signed?
Hi Michael, it is rather confusing…there seems to be some conflicting information on the internet about Lia Sophia jewelry. The information I have found is that Lia Sophia did not mark their jewelry, however, there are signed pieces of Lia Sophia jewelry on Etsy. I am unsure as to why this is.
Thank you for this article. Found the information helpful. I have been collecting and reselling lia Sophia amongst other costume jewelry designers on eBay for about 7 years. You might have fun seeing what I’ve found too. I’ve handled almost everything in their collection though it doesn’t stay listed long if it’s rare.
Cool, Lisa! Lia Sophia made some lovely jewelry. Yes, it’s important to snap up the rare pieces, as they go quickly!
I am looking for a specific Lia Sophia ring. Can you assist?
Hi Denver, can you let me know exactly what you are looking for? Style, stones (if any), precious metal etc. I’ll be happy to look for you!
I have a piece of her jewelry wondering if rest it has her name o n the back
I didn’t quite understand your question. Can you get back to me?
All the best,