Jeweled Beauties

These luxurious vanity pieces usually are made up of a gilt brass, gilded white metal alloy or very rarely, gilded bronze. The metal is usually on the heavy side, but I have purchased some pieces which were of a lighter material, most likely hollow brass. I did happen to see an awesome rare silver plated set once on eBay, but it was out of my price range! 

The metal is usually stamped with a pattern such as flowers, textured or hand hammered effects. They are embellished with intricate, lace like filigree, sometimes in fanciful patterns of butterflies, hearts, Egyptian lotuses, and fleur de lis. I have seen some stunning pieces combined with enameled medallions or hand painted portraits on ivory. The pieces are further accented with foil back or open back paste jewels/rhinestones/gems. These stones are usually prong set or bezel set.

These vanity items don't come up for auction very often and often command high prices when they do. Some of the harder items to find are the combs, candlesticks, buttonhooks, perfumes, and matching pieces and sets of more than three items. 

E & J Bass, Inc.

E & J Bass, Inc of NY, sold items in the 1890s-1930 under the name Empire Art Gold, Imperial Art Silver and Empire Art Silver, their mark usually consisted of a Crown in a circle with E&JB Empire Art. Their business went under due to the Depression. They also produced the enamel and jewel combinations, or sometimes without jewels. I have also known of some pieces of jewelry, such a sash buckles which were stamped Empire Art. The Dorothy Rainwater book says that E & J Bass were "Manufacturers of sterling silver wares, sterling deposit wares and plated silver and jewelry." You will find markings on the bases of the boxes and perfume caddies, the sides of the handles on the hand mirrors and brushes, and also just underneath the mirror on the hand mirror. I have never seen a comb marked.

Apollo Studios

Apollo Studios of New York was a division of Bernard Rice's & Sons and items marked with the Apollo stamp were made from 1909-1922. These pieces are usually marked only with Apollo, sometimes with Apollo Studios NY or Apollo Ovington followed by some mold (style) numbers. In 1872, the Apollo Silver Co. merged with the bankrupt Redfield & Rice Co, forming the Bernard Rice's Sons. Bernard Rice's & Sons went out of business in 1958. 

Apollo Studios was a contemporary of Tiffany Studios and produced some of the similar type items, like desk sets, humidors and other fine pieces of brass, copper and gilded brass. I have seen sash buckles stamped Apollo. Apollo Studios was mentioned in advertisements to be manufacturers of hollow ware, boudoir accessories, and gift items in silver plate, gold plate and other metals. 

Apollo Studios products were sold in the prestigious Ovington's store, The Gift Shop of Fifth Avenue. Ovington sold china, crystal, fine art, silver and gift items aimed at the bridal market. They produced the jewels and hand painted portraits on ivory combinations or sometimes without jewels. 

Some pieces of Apollo were produced in the 1930s and 1940s, these items were not as ornate at the earlier pieces and were usually enameled and had the heavy cast metal handles. The hand mirrors and brushes are usually marked on the side of the handles. The boxes will be marked on the bases. The trays will be marked on the sides or bases of the frames. I have never seen a comb marked.

Silvercraft

The Farber Bros. Company sold silver plated, brass, copper hollowware items under the name Silvercraft from 1923-1932, this mark you are most likely to encounter would be Silvercraft and some pseudo-hallmarks underneath it. Other marks would be Farber Bros Craftplate from 1920 on silver plated hollow ware, solid brass and copper items. Futura NY Silvercraft was used in 1931 for silver and silver plated. Krome-Kraft was used from 1933-1965. Farber brothers went out of business in the 1960s. You will find the Silvercraft mark on the base of boxes, on the bottoms of the tray frames, on the base of perfume bottles. I have never seen a comb marked.

Colonial Quality

Colonial Quality. After many hours of searching, I simply cannot find any information on this brand, other than they also produced celluloid items. Pieces were marked with Colonial Quality. Colonial Quality items have the same fine appearance of Apollo & Empire Art items and may have used the same dies. The mark is found on the base of the item.

Art Metal Works

Art Metal Works of Newark, NJ. Manufactured fine decorative metal items and was later renamed Ronson's Art Metal Works (you may recognize the name as the company who produces those popular Ronson lighters). I have seen frames and vanity items marked with Art Metal Works as well as AMW. Art Metal Works also produced a diverse selection of metal bookends, hood ornaments, statuary, aquarium and plant stands, clocks, pipe holders, desk sets and accessories, figurines, lamps, boxes, novelty items, toys, incense burners and much more. There is a reference book out called Ronsons Art Metal Works. The mark is usually found on the base.

Quaker Silver Company

The Quaker Silver Company had an elegant gold plated/silver-plated stemmed atomizer that has its embossed areas picked out in black enamel. This bottle can be found with it’s design patent number of 75919 on the base which corresponds to the date of 1928 and was filed by James W. Jennings, the assignor to the Quaker Silver Company. This item was originally designed for a salt & pepper shaker and similar article as noted on the design patent drawing. The bottle can also be found with the markings “Juanita Atomizer” and “736 Reg.“. The atomizer hardware looks to be made by Pyramid. An example of this perfume atomizer is shown in the Monsen & Baer Perfume Bottle Auction Catalog of 2002.

22kt Gold Plated & 24kt Gold Plated Items

22kt Gold Plate and 24kt Gold Plate items were made by an unknown manufacturer, some speculate it is Czech manufacture, but I think it is more like an American company who produced these interesting vanity items. I commonly see this marking on several powder jars with different amber glass bases and twice on perfume atomizers. The powder jar lids and atomizers are made up of ormolu and studded with jewels or filigree, usually both. Items will be marked on the base of the atomizers and on the underside of lids with 22kt Gold Plated.

OS & Co

OS& Co. This mark is stamped on the bottom of a jewelry casket that has the same lid design with jewels as does pieces of Empire Art that I have owned. I cannot find any information on who OS& Co is or if it is O& S Co. Perhaps it was made with the same dies as Empire Art but sold to a different manufacturer, it is definitely the same time period as the other pieces. The mark is found on the base.

Trinity Plate

Trinity plate was specifically developed to plate pewter. The term “Trinity” indicates the three part plating alloy which consisted of copper, silver and nickel and was used by manufacturers of pewter items in the early 1900s. Trinity plate items are compacts, purse frames, some various vanity accessories and vanity bags.

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