Buying Guide for Vintage Marcel Boucher Jewelry

If you are wanting to add some vintage Marcel Boucher jewelry to your collection, you have come to the right place. We are going to cover brand history, designers, materials, how to collect and what to collect, as well as where to buy.

Marcel Boucher was one of the most talented designers and manufacturers of American costume jewelry in the 20th century. His jewelry was notable from the very beginning due to the excellent design and high-quality materials. It was commonly mistaken for precious jewelry. 

Brief History of Marcel Boucher Jewelry

Marcel Boucher was born in Paris in 1898. After the "Great War," he became a mold-maker and apprentice designer at Cartier, one of France's most prestigious jewelry houses. In the early 1920s, he transferred to Cartier in New York City. When the depression hit, the demand for fine jewelry waned, and Marcel found work at Mazer Bros., jewelers who specialized in affordable copies of high-end jewelry. He became fascinated with the apparently limitless design possibilities of costume jewelry, and, in 1937, Marcel and Arthur Halberstadt founded "Marcel Boucher Ltd. Novelty Jewelry," a successful partnership with Marcel in charge of design and manufacturing and Arthur sales and financial operations. In 1944, they changed the company name to "Marcel Boucher & Cie."

Marcel's pieces featured intricate metalwork, rhinestones that could pass for precious gems, top-quality faux pearls and the artistry of his colorful enamel work. Marcel gained fame, in particular, for his bold, imaginative enameled pieces: brooches shaped like fruits, animals, and human figures. His fantasy bird pieces were glorious with their bright enamels, richly colored stones, and three-dimensional design that makes them look ready to take flight. Marcel loved mechanics, and he incorporated moving parts into his jewelry. "Punchinello," a court jester, raises his arms and legs when a chain is pulled; a pelican opens his beak to catch a fish; and flower petals open and close in his "Night and Day" flower series.

During World War II, the white metal used in costume jewelry was restricted to military use, and so jewelers used sterling silver. Marcel moved to Mexico for the duration of the war to be close to the abundant supply of silver. While there, he created his line, "Parisina," so-called in honor of his beloved France and the traditional artistry of Mexican silversmiths. When the war ended, Marcel moved back to New York City, where he experimented with Cubist-inspired pieces and began to produce parures to wear with the newly feminine post-war fashions.

In 1949, Arthur left the business, and Sandra Raymonde Semensohm became Marcel's assistant. Sandra was a well-respected jewelry designer in her own right, and the two became the power couple of costume jewelry. In October 1964, Sandra and Marcel were married, and in January 1965, he died. Sandra ran the company for a few years, but she was more designer than a businessperson. In 1970, she sold the business to Davorn Industries, continuing with the company as a designer of watches, marking them "Marcel Boucher." In 1979, Davorn was sold to D'Orlan Industries of Toronto, who continued to use Marcel's molds. In 1984, D'Orlan partnered with Nina Ricci and remained in business until 2006.  

Boucher Jewelry Designers

As we mentioned, Sandra Boucher was a very experienced jewelry designer when she came to work with Marcel. He had "stolen" her away from Harry Winston, and there was a period when she was Head Designer for Tiffany. She grew up in Paris, learning jewelry design from her father and brother who were freelance designers for fine jewelry. She did some design work during the Nazi occupation, then emigrated to the United States in 1947.

Maurice Bradden designed for Marcel as Marcel mentored him. After moving to Canada, he opened his own jewelry company, D'Orlan Jewellers Ltd., which eventually absorbed Marcel's company. (It was a friendly merger.)

Boucher Jewelry Marks

  • Boucher jewelry is usually marked and carries an inventory number that makes it easier to date.
  • Early pieces: "Marboux" or MB in a cartouche
  • 1938: "Marcel Boucher"
  • 1941-1945: "Parisina" (made in Mexico during WW2)
  • 1942 - 1944: "MB Sterling"
  • 1944 - 1949: a Phrygian cap above "MB."  
  • 1950-1955: "Boucher"
  • 1955-1971: "Boucher ©."
  • 1955: "Marboux" written in cursive preceded by a star (a new low-cost line)
  • Some of the parures are marked "P" for pin, "E" for earring or "N" for necklace
Vintage MB mark
mb mark
Marcel Boucher sterling signature
Boucher Marboux mark
boucher hallmark

Inventory Numbers (approximate dates)

  • 1945: 2300-2350
  • 1946: 2351-2450
  • 1947: 2451-2550
  • 1948: 2551-2750
  • 1949: 2751-3000
  • 1950: 3001-3500
  • 1951: 3501-4500
  • After 1955, marks had the copyright © symbol
  • 1960: 7802
  • 1962: 8291
  • 1965: 9100 (pieces made by Sandra after Marcel's death)
  • Later pieces also may have “P” for pin or “E” for earring, in addition to the number.
  • Boucher died in 1965.
  • Sandra Boucher, Marcel’s wife, ran the company until 1972.
  • Company became a part of Davorn Industries in 1972.
  • In 1977, Davorn sold the name & designs to Stutz Fashion (from American Costume Jewelry 1935-1950 by Roberto Brunialti).

Materials Used in Vintage Marcel Boucher Jewelry

  • Enamel
  • Rhinestones
  • Cabochons
  • Cultured pearls and faux pearls
  • Gold plate
  • Vermeil
  • Silver plate
  • Sterling silver

Most Collectible Marcel Boucher Jewelry

Vintage Boucher Peacock Pin from Shop Goods Vintage on Etsy

Vintage Boucher Peacock Pin from Shop Goods Vintage on Etsy

Marcel's six exotic bird brooches are among his most iconic and most coveted pieces. The workmanship is extraordinary. The bright enamels are works of art with each feather engraved in gold-toned metal and pave rhinestones creating a fabulous and fantastic rendition of the bird. In this case, the Phoenix as it arises from the ashes enveloped in the red and gold flames.

You would be proud as a peacock to have this Marcel demi-parure of brooch and clip-on earrings. The meticulous attention to detail is classic Marcel. The peacock brooch is a glamorous composition of sapphire-colored rhinestones, faux jade cabochons and striking royal blue enamel. The matching earrings are stylized baby birds.

Rarely found and, therefore, highly desired is Marcel's Parisina line produced in Mexico during WW2. The sterling silver panel bracelet is wearable art. The panels, framed in various flowers, contain lively vignettes of life in Mexico.

Marcel's magnificent jeweled Maltese cross is breathtaking! The "jewels" look like precious gems—the unfoiled faceted blue rhinestones and cabochons are as dazzling as the finest emeralds and sapphires—all prong set in gold plate. Bonus—the cross can be worn as a brooch or a pendant.

Marcel did a "flower of the month" series. It would be quite a coup to have all 12. Pictured here is the flower for February with amethyst and crystal rhinestones set in vermeil.

If you are wanting to add valuable pieces to your vintage costume jewelry collection, Marcel Boucher is an excellent designer to search for. I suggest you check out Etsy and eBay for vintage Boucher jewelry, as you will have a great shopping experience and find a large selection to browse through.

To recap, some of the best pieces of Boucher jewelry to collect are:

Tips for Buying Vintage Marcel Boucher Jewelry

  • Acquaint yourself with Marcel's designs, materials and workmanship by seeing his pieces in person and by touching them; do online research, and ask expert collectors or jewelers for advice.
  • Marcel's pieces tend to be on the expensive side. Use the resources available on the Internet to compare costs.
  • Deal with reputable, knowledgeable dealers. Check customer reviews and websites such as Yelp.
  • Read the vendor's "Shipping and Return Policies."
  • Use a safe method of payment, e.g., PayPal, in case of any disputes.

Conclusion

For a valuable "crash course" in Marcel Boucher jewelry, look through the Marcel Boucher pages on Etsy—more than 500 examples of his artistry and genius. In addition to being a great place to browse, Etsy is also a safe place to shop.  Also, have a look at our favorite Etsy Shops for buying costume jewelry.

What is your favorite Marcel Boucher jewelry? If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below, I love to help!

Happy Treasure Hunting, 
Andrea

Share the Knowledge

36 thoughts on “Buying Guide for Vintage Marcel Boucher Jewelry”

  1. Hi
    I have inherited a Boucher brooch of gladioli. It doesn’t have any pearls or stones in its flowers oddly? Why would this be?
    Can you tell me anything about it please? I have inherited a few brooches, only this one has a name. I have a gold rose of similar style to the Boucher but no marks, a beautiful top hat that looks like it has the initials LA, green stoned brooch and a clip that looks Art Deco?
    Thank you
    Tracey

    Reply
  2. Hi,
    This was most helpful. I have a pansy pin from my grandmother that I have been wearing for years. For some reason this morning I looked more closely and saw the name and number.
    I did a google and here I am. Looks like it dates from the 50’s. Which is the time frame when my mom would have been single, working and have purchased it for her, I’m very pleased that it’s even more special than I thought.
    I love pins and brooches.
    Thanks,
    Maryane

    Reply
  3. Hey Andrea thanks 🙏 so much for all the info you have provided I recently acquired antique set of earrings and a peacock brooch from a second hand store. I bought them for my mom for Christmas so I’m not looking to resell but I’m interested in finding the value because it turns out the set wasn’t a set at all. The peacock brooch was done by Jomaz who it turns out worked with Boucher so it works well with the Boucher peacock earrings that were sold with it as a set. It seems that the Boucher peacock earrings are somewhat rare however as I can’t seem to find a price for them sold on their own. I’m just wondering what you think they’re worth? they’re in the jewellers because I didn’t notice that 2 of the faux sapphires had come out so they are being replaced. I’m not sure if that will devalue them or not but I wanted them to be perfect for my mom. Other than that they’re perfect 👌. Thanks so much for all the information I learned so much and I’m sure my mom will enjoy learning about the history of these jewellers too.

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah, thanks for stopping in 🙂 Boucher earrings seem to sell in the $30 – $75 range. The Jomaz peacock brooch is worth around $75 – $100. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Reply
  4. Hi Andrea I have found what looks like a Boucher peacock pin . It has no leters only 2925 and 3 circles. Can you tell me if it is real ?

    Reply
    • Hi Wendy, thanks for your question. I don’t know anything about Marcel Boucher using 3 circles as a mark. I did some research but couldn’t find any info. You could try having a look through this database of jewelry marks and see if you can find the one you see on the pin in question. Here is another resource. Let me know if you need any other help!

      Reply
  5. Hi Andrea,
    Thanks so much for all the information. About 20 years ago, I bought in an auction #2673 M. Boucher’s Ballerina with the Sapphire skirt and Turquoise hat, but I have never used it and it is in a very good condition. I was thinking about selling it and saw a similar brooch with different skirt color for $575 at Trifani. I know it is a collectors’ piece but how much do you think is a reasonable price for this brooch to sell?
    Thanks so much

    Reply
    • Hi Mo, thanks for your questions 🙂 It is hard to give you an exact value for the pieces in question, but I can try to help you out! The better condition the piece is in, the more expensive it is. If there is no discoloration, loose stones, or gold-plate coming off, then the piece will be worth more than if it had wear and tear. I browsed Etsy and eBay for similar pieces. There is one ballerina brooch in the $500 range, but many of them are in the $100 – $200 range.

      You could try getting an appraisal if you want to know exactly how much it is worth.

      Reply
  6. Hi Andrea, thanks for a great website!
    I have two questions –
    I have inherited a Boucher brooch, with the © Boucher stamp and the number 8407P. It is a thin slice of polished, banded agate (I think) with gold (plate?) that appears to drip across the top and hangs from the bottom. It is very unusual and eye-catching. I have searched but cannot find anything similar. Can you help with any information? Date, designer, value?

    And a more general question – Marcel Boucher was in the US when he was active, but did he have an international presence at that time, or were his pieces only originally sold in US ?

    Reply
    • Hi Lynn, thanks for your questions 🙂 I did some research for you and it sounds like you do indeed have a Boucher brooch. The number 8407 indicates it is from between 1962 and 1965. The P stands for pin. As for value, its hard to say, Boucher brooches seem to value anywhere between $50 and $150.

      As far as I can tell from my research, Marcel Boucher was mainly sold in the US

      Reply
  7. Hi Andrea, I too am looking for information on Boucher jewelry marked in the 6000 series. Are these imitations? I am in contact with an EBay seller that has a prong fur clip marked 6789. Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    • Hi Cynthia, I did some more research and it looks like the number 6789 would be from somewhere between 1950 and 1960.

      Reply
  8. Hi Andrea

    I have a few Boucher pieces including a cute Dachshund with 8 pearls in perfect condition, but am wondering about my inherited pelican from probably the 1950’s, no signature, that measures approximately 3-1/4″ x 1-1/2″. The beak and pouch are red, gold-painted body and green feathered wings. Could it be a Boucher piece? Thanks for the information you provide here.

    Reply
    • Hi Di, thanks for your question. Boucher did make pelican brooches, so it is quite possible it is a Boucher piece. Coro also made pelican brooches.

      Reply
  9. Hello Andrea
    There is currently a bracelet on Etsy supposedly be Boucher but it is unsigned. I understand from the seller it comes from a suite of jewellery she had, the necklace was apparently signed and sold as were the earrings. In all likelihood would the bracelet have been signed as well do you think?
    Many thanks Andrea

    Reply
    • Hi Tim, thanks for your questions. I would be wary…..I would ask for photos of the other items in the set showing their signatures. This supposed set had a signed necklace and earrings, but the bracelet wasn’t signed? That seems suspicious, why would only 2 of the 3 be signed?

      If it is a piece of jewelry you love for its look, then you can buy it and wear it with joy. But if part of the appeal is that it is a Boucher, I would stick to items that are marked.

      Reply
  10. Hello Andrea,

    I have a Boucher brooch #6386. At first I thought it was a feather, but now I think it’s a leaf. It’s almost shaped like a maple leaf, gold in color but it has feathery pieces instead of a flat leaf. It hard to explain. I wish I knew the name of it. Is there a web sight that has the numbers and names??

    Reply
    • Hi Susan, unfortunately, the only thing I can recommend is the Buying guide for Vintage Marcel Boucher Jewelry. The number 6386 tells me that it was probably made in the 1950s because in 1970 the identification number was at 7802. That’s about as much help as I can give.

      Hope you can find out more. Maybe getting it appraised would help? I can recommend http://www.valuemystuff.com, whatitsworthartppraisals.com/costume-jewelry or http://www.drloriv.com.

      Good luck!
      Susannah

      Reply
  11. Hi There, I have a brooch marked Avon in script, (which I have discovered means Avon of Belleville and not the standard Avon company – got that from costumejewelrycollectors.com) who Marcel Bouche worked for (also mentioned on CJC – it is so hard to find information! I certainly appreciate your blog.). It also has a 4 digit number on the back. 1133 – so since the numbers start at 2300, how would I find out how old it is?

    Reply
    • Hello Lee, yes Marcel Boucher designed jewelry for Avon of Belleville, having apprenticed at Cartier in the 1920s. In the late 60s or 70s the numbering system to identify Boucher jewelry started over after it hit 9999. In 1965 it hit 9100, so my guess is that your brooch is from the 1970s or slightly later, since it is numbered 1133.

      Hope that helps!
      Susannah

      Reply
  12. Thanks for all this explanations
    I have a beautifull bracelet that i would like to value but i don t know how to do and i can t find a similar to have an idea. Do you know how i can do ? (Sorry for my wrong english) regards

    Reply
    • Hi Eiman,

      Yes, this was a line of high-end Canadian made jewelry for Marcel Boucher. LeC is short for Le Couturier. It should be a nice collectible set if it is in good shape.

      Congratulations!
      Susannah

      Reply
  13. I have a beautiful gold plated necklace — marker Boucher Patent Pending— #5529 inset stones are ruby, emerald and blue. a few stones are missing – would like to determine the worth– boughtat a antique jewelry sale more tha 20 years ago.

    Reply
    • Hello Claire,

      Marcel Boucher established about 95 patents during his lifetime and was a stickler for originality in his designs. He was furious when other jewelers copied him, and even had a special stone manufacturer make cabuchon stones especially for him – in sizes that were not available to anyone else. It may be difficult to replace the missing stones in your necklace, but if you want to find out how much it is currently worth, we can recommend one of the following websites: whatsitworthartappraisals.com, valuemystuff.com. or drloriv.com.

      Best of luck with it!
      Susannah

      Reply
    • Hey Hannah,
      If your pin is authentic, it should have the name Boucher, or MB or Marcel Boucher. Marboux was an earlier signature from Boucher, but if it says 11198, it dates well after the 1960s or early 70s, as the Boucher numbering system started over again after it hit 9999. Can you send me a picture – or I can refer you to a number of sites that can help you identify it? You can try whatsitworthartappraisals.com, valuemystuff.com. drloriv.com.

      Best of luck!
      Susannah

      Reply

Leave a Comment