Want Vintage Oscar De La Renta Jewelry? Learn about the history, materials, collectible pieces, and where to buy in this buying guide.
A Brief History
Oscar de la Renta (1932-2014) was a renowned fashion designer, who created both classical suiting for women, as well as feminine dresses and elegant ball gowns. Prominent women the designer dressed included former first ladies Jaqueline Kennedy, Nancy Regan, and Laura Bush.
Of course, Oscar de la Renta also designed fashionable jewelry! Think bold, eye-catching, glamorous designs, that you will love wearing.
Today, you will see Oscar de la Renta dresses and jewelry in television shows, such as Sex and the City. Check out Carrie Bradshaw’s pink dress in Season Six and Blair Waldorf’s flowing ball gowns in Gossip Girl. Actresses who have worn Oscar de la Renta gowns on the red carpet include Amy Adams, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Garner, and Jennifer Lawrence.
Not every woman could afford elegant clothing by Oscar de la Renta, so the designer created his first perfume in 1977. Later in his career Oscar de la Renta designed a more inexpensive clothing brand simply called “O” using just the first letter of his name. His ability to capture romance styles led to a bridal collection. The designer also expanded into men’s fashions, housewares, and furniture.
Early Life and Career
Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Oscar de la Renta was the only boy in a household of six girls. He traveled to Madrid, Spain, at the age of eighteen, with the goal of becoming a painter. While attending the Academy of San Fernando, he found an all-consuming passion for fashion. Soon afterwards, he started an apprenticeship with couturier Cristobal Balenciaga.
While vacationing in Paris, during 1961, Oscar de la Renta landed a job with Lanvin-Castillo. Soon afterwards, he moved to New York to join Elizabeth Arden, before launching his own label in 1965.
In 1967, Oscar de la Renta married the editor-in-chief at French Vogue Francoise de Langlade. His lovely wife helped to introduce her friends and colleagues to the fashionable designs and jewelry her husband created.
Overview of Oscar de la Renta Jewelry
To accessorize his fashions, Oscar de la Renta also produced a line of jewelry for his ready to wear and couture collections. This began in the 1960s and continues to be popular today.
In the late 1980s, and there after for more than a decade, New York based jewelry designer Iradj Moini designed and created all the handmade jewelry for Oscar de la Renta’s runway shows.
Gem-Craft also designed costume jewelry for Oscar de la Renta, in the early 2000s. Gem-Craft was founded in Rhode Island by Gene and Alfeo Verrecchia. Gene, who later changed his last name to Verri, designed for the fashion jewelry company Coro for more than 30 years, before starting Gem-Craft.
Today, Oscar de La Renta jewelry is still made and sold in Oscar de la Renta brick and mortar stores worldwide, as well as online. Look also in high end department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, in New York. Of course, you will always find preloved and vintage Oscar de la Renta jewelry pieces at Etsy or eBay.
Collecting Vintage Oscar de la Renta Pieces
Some of the most beloved vintage Oscar de la Renta jewelry includes collar necklaces and cuff bracelets. For earrings look for large geometric day time clip-on styles. Large, embellished dangle and chandelier earrings for the evening are also coveted jewelry.
- 18 karat gold plate
- 24 karat gold plate
- Platinum plate
- Gold toned brass
- White gold toned brass
- Silver toned brass
- Pewter with a polished finish
- Glass beads
- Faux Pearls
- Ceramic cameos
- Florals, especially roses, arranged in sprays or single blooms
- Bows as a reminder of Spanish flamenco dance
- Geometric shapes
Oscar de la Renta Earrings
Many of the earrings found on the market are the clip-on style, either because they were created before pierced ears became popular, or the pieces were heavy and needed extra support.
First, there are drop earrings. Look for beaded clip-on tassel earrings in a variety of colors, all dropping down from beaded rounds. Elegant, elongated pearls are set in clasps studded with crystals. Other drop earrings are comprised of a spray of interlocking flowers, for a feminine look. Conversely, large geometric crystals, cut into colourful squares, are hinged together in groups of three.
Larger chandelier earrings are bold statement pieces popular in floral motifs or tear drops. These are festooned in crystals, or a multitude of colored glass and faux pearls.
Hoops have always been popular. Oscar de la Renta designed clip-on drop earrings, with large swinging hoops, in metals or colorful beads. Beautiful hoop earrings for pierced ears are large and adorned with flowers or leaves.
Studs are often large flower sprays or singles flowers. One design currently in stores is the Pearly Primavera Earring. Crafted from pewter, with a polished finish, along with glass and resin, both earrings are long floral designs, yet each contain different flowers. Multi-tonal blues, soft pink and yellow, make up the bouquet, along with pearls. The Prima Vera Hand-Painted Flower Earrings are comprised of hand painted flowers, in a long flowing combination of pink, orange and yellow, with pearly and glass crystals.
Also look for button style earring, so popular in the 1980s and 1990s. Oscar de la Renta designs contain texture through braids or rope designs, basket weaving, or antique filigree patterns. Others are shaped into decorative knots.
Oscar de la Renta Necklaces
Collar necklaces is what Oscar de la Renta is known for. The word collar once simply meant a necklace in jewelry terms. Today, it means a necklace that rests against the collar bone, which are thicker, like a collar on a shirt. Oscar de la Renta’s elaborate collar necklaces, with crystal and faux pearls, colored crystals, or ceramic cameos are fine examples of what collectors long for.
Some of the most beautiful and whimsical Oscar de la Renta vintage collar necklaces include large resin flowers, such as red roses, on gold toned metal. White floral designs are often snapped up by brides to be. As for vintage pendants, look for curvaceous, rose cut wire designs, formed in resin, for a romantic yet modern look. The updated contemporary version for sale in Oscar de la Renta stores today is the wire rose motif in 24 karat plated pewter and brass. A cascade of these roses spills out in assorted sizes, along a 24-inch chain.
Oscar de la Renta also created long beaded necklaces, in lengths up to 24 inches long, with a lobster claw clasp. Some are made from chunky geometrically cut Lucite cubes, separated by large gold toned beads.
Oscar de la Renta Bracelets
For many collectors of Oscar de la Renta vintage bracelets, its all about the cuff. These dense designs are perfect for evening attire, with or without gloves! A single large flower appears to float in some designs, lavishly decorated with glass and crystal. Hiding the wrist, it creates an invisible setting.
Also, think link bracelets. Gold tone pieces are left shiny and reflective, brushed, or even antique finished. Silver toned bracelets are collectable too, as are a mixture of silver and gold. Some contain delicate floral charms interspersed with glass beads. Others make a bolder statement, with a few select larger charms, or even a single large pendent.
New in stores is the Crystal Bloom Bracelet, with five large flowers that encircle the wrist. Each bloom, crafted in pewter, with 14 karat gold plate has a white Austrian crystal in the center, with decorative tiny faux pearls surrounding it. The beautifully feminine bracelet has a toggle clasp for easy attachment. Savvy shoppers will look to purchase the piece pre-loved.
Oscar de la Renta Brooches
Vintage brooches are large. Some are the size of an average woman’s palm. Many are floral. Large bows make especially pretty pins.
Today, in stores, you will find the simply named Flower Brooch, a gold tone on pewter creation, displaying three five-petal flowers grouped together. White crystals are inserted in the center of each bloom, with faux pearls amid the leaves.
[Read: A List of the Most Valuable Vintage Brooches]
Oscar de la Renta Rings
Oscar de la Renta rings turn up less frequently in the vintage market. With careful searching you will find floral motifs and geometric multi-colored crystals are most popular. If you are lucky to find one in your size, be sure to grab it!
Marks to Identify Oscar de la Renta Jewelry
Identifying the marks on Oscar de la Renta jewelry is dependant upon the year it was created. On early pieces you will find the word OSCAR written in capital letters or the letters ODLR inscribed. Some contain a metal, hanging tag shaped in an oval, surrounded by beaded edges, with the name OSCAR. Later a distinctive script stamped into the jewelry reading Oscar or Oscar de la Renta.
Tips for Buying
Vintage Oscar de la Renta jewelry is available online through vendors on Etsy and eBay. Before purchasing carefully inspect the jewelry for signs of damage by viewing the photographs presented. Be sure to always read the conditions report.
What is your favorite designer jewelry? Let us know in the comments below!