Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Napier Co. 


11 Years of Research Unveil a Meriden Legacy ­­­­

Melinda L Lewis along with former Meriden resident, Henry Swen, have just released the presale of their 1000+ page book titled, The Napier Co.: Defining 20th Century American Costume Jewelry. The book is the first in its genre to document decade by decade the history of The Napier Co. and tell the untold story of this great American Fashion Jewelry Manufacturer. 

Lewis traveled around the country and interviewed over 50 former Napier employees from Meriden, Florida, New York, California, North Carolina, and Illinois to get an inside look of the company’s history, culture, and product. She was also assisted by the Meriden Journal, the Meriden library, and the Meriden Historical Society to garner data for her project from their archives. During her research, she collaborated almost daily for 8 years with former Napier salesman, Henry Swen, who Lewis later asked to be her co-author. 

Lewis, a former licensed pharmacy technician, lost her ability to work due to chronic pain and migraines in 2001. However, shortly thereafter, as a vintage jewelry enthusiast, she became interested in Napier jewelry when she had an opportunity to purchase a number of Napier pieces. When her research turned up almost no in-depth history about the company, she began her own research deciding to focus her efforts on a book project and not her physical condition or work limitations. As Lewis states, “it gave her a sense of purpose turning something challenging into something good.” 

The book was never intended to be over 1000 pages with 4000 images. However, according to Lewis, “I couldn’t tell the story properly in just 300 pages. It was done, when I felt it was done!”
Lewis is self-publishing and needs to presell 450 copies to print the book; a goal she has set to achieve by Dec. 31, 2012. 

Lewis is a mother of two grown girls, and resides with her husband in California. She is also co-founder of Costume Jewelry Collectors Int’l (CJCI) an international jewelry club for jewelry historians, collectors, and dealers. You can join her on Facebook at or follow her on Twitter at or visit her site at

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What Is Vintage Costume Jewelry

What Is Vintage Jewelry?

What is vintage jewelry and why do collectors love it so much.  Is it the art form or is it because the jewelry connects us to a deeper understanding of our past.  I propose that it is both and more.  Vintage costume jewelry for many, serves as a means of adornment to enhance our beauty or our  style.  It picks up our spirits and has us FEEL different about ourselves.  Vintage costume jewelry has a magical way of releasing endorphins that transform our spirits and can turn the "bitchiest" of moods  into one of bliss.  That feeling of transformation is magical.  It can be sweet and  ethereal or supremely powerful and bold.   
Vintage costume jewelry almost always comes with a past.   A past that tells the history of society, of laws, of suffering, of love, of sacrifice and  of heartbreak.   It connects generations both present and gone.
 We can study the materials of a vintage piece of jewelry and directly correlate them to an era.  Many pieces of jewelry for example  were made differently due to the restrictions of priority metals during WWII and for a time thereafter.   Industries struggled and adapted to the laws of the time, which meant for some companies,  jewelry was not made of metal, but of cork, wood, and even macaroni.    
Vintage jewelry can be a feast for the eyes with zero practicality in being worn and be equally satisfying to own.  Many a collector has a closet full of vintage jewels never worn,  but merely adored.    Whatever  vintage jewelry means to you, however you care to define it,  it has been,  and always will be a fascination to study for generations of collectors to come.  We will always find joy in that little brass pin or that to die for couture Gripoix bib. 
So let me leave you with this one last question…. Have you discovered your accessory expression? 

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Brooches At The Jewelry Stylist

At the Jewelry stylist you can find an gallery of wonderful vintage brooches from YSL, Ciner, Schreiner, Trifari, Schiaparelli and others.
From whimsical to the intricate works of art, the brooch has consistently through time, found a place in fashion adornment. As a vintage accessory, brooches are a practical way to dress up any outfit with an endless array of practical uses and versatility.  This amazing piece of adornment can be worn on everything from a blouse, blazer, hat, and purse.    

The Jewelry Stylist is pleased to present a wonderful gallery of couture vintage brooches for your wearing.

The Ciner Manufacturing Company


The Ciner Manufacturing Co. was founded in 1892 by Emanuel Ciner.   The company was initially known for the manufacture of fine jewelry.   Coveted by purveyors of fine quality gems the jewelry didn't go without notice, even to thieves.  According to the Chicago Times, in 1918, the Ciner Manufacturing  Company of New York was robbed of $9,000 in gems which were thankfully recovered due to the arrest of a female accomplice. 
In 1931 the company began manufacturing high end costume jewelry following  the tradition of its previous product lines.   
During the war, with many costume jewelry manufacturing businesses facing difficult times due to limited resources, Irving Ciner joined the forces of 50 manufacturing companies to form the New York Silver Manufacturers Association.  The mission of the New York Silver Manufacturers Association was to procure sterling silver for its members during wartime restrictions.    The group fought to change policy and awareness to ensure the stability of the local jewelry industry.
In 1946,  the Ciner Manufacturing Company began its first efforts to advertise on a National level, giving the company exposure through popular fashion magazines such as Vogue. 
On February 8th, 1958 Emanuel Ciner died.  Incidentally exactly 2 years later to the day, James H. Napier of The Napier Co. died.  Each a figure head of a privately held jewelry concern, dating back to the late 19th century.
In 1978,  Pat Ciner Hill along with her husband, took over the family business and turned it into a multi-million dollar success.
In 2000 the company revisited some of the aspects of fine jewelry manufacturing and introduced a line made from semi-precious stones. 
Today the company remains in business and will celebrate is 118 year later this Fall.  Vintage Ciner costume jewelry is highly collectible and coveted by collectors and lovers of fine fashion jewelry. 
The Jewelry Stylist is proud to present this amazing Pink rhinestone flower brooch.


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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Become a fan of The Jewelry Stylist On Facebook

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Adding Vintage Style to Your Shoes

One way of changing up your shoe look and adding a bit of sophistication is by using vintage shoe buckles. One can create a variety of looks with a favorite pair of shoes just by switching out the shoe buckles. VJC had added some examples of Victorian Cut Steel Shoe Buckles for your perusal.

Click here to see a wonderful pair of French Cut Steel Shoe Buckles.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jewelry For The Holiday