Having a sibling who enjoys many of the same things you do makes life so much more fun. Heidi, my younger sister (by 15 months), has shared many of the same interests with me over the years, starting with talking on the phone at a very young age!
Since then, we have shared in the joys of writing, speaking, and blogging, to name a few.
The Mazer Brothers
Joseph and Louis Mazer were part of a large family with five other brothers. They all immigrated with their parents to the United States from Russia. Joseph and Louis had similar interests and decided to open a business together in 1917, producing shoe buckles in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In 1927, they made the big move to New York City and gave their company the fitting name, Mazer Brothers. Louis was their designer and director. Together, they manufactured moderately priced, high quality, abstract costume jewelry that had the look of fine jewelry with precious stones.
To accomplish this look, they used beautiful Swarovski rhinestones and crystals. Their plating techniques looked like real gold. They were continually experimenting with a variety of methods for creating metal alloys.
The Look of Glamour
Mazer Brothers’ jewelry had many admirers who were truly amazed by its glamorous look of fine jewelry. Their pieces were marketed as “Jewels of Elegance” and the advertisement in Harper’s Bazaar in 1948 described their jewelry as “The precious look in fashion jewelry.”
In 1930, Mazer Brothers hired a talented French jeweler named Marcel Boucher to design for them. He had moved to NYC in the early ’20s where he studied under Pierre Cartier as an apprentice. The pieces that Mazer Brothers manufactured during the ’30s and ’40s were lavish cocktail necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. They also produced crown jewel pins, similar to those that were made popular by Trifari and Coro. They are best known for their glamorous “cocktail-style” pieces during the 1940s.
Boucher worked for them until 1937 and then left to start his own jewelry company. Joseph Mazer also left in 1946, along with his son Lincoln to establish his own company called Joseph J. Mazer & Co. The name was later shortened to simply Jomaz, although it was never registered that way with the U.S. Patent Office.
Louis Mazer continued to run Mazer Brothers until 1951, the year of the company’s last jewelry collection. Throughout the early 1950s, fine jeweler André Fleuridas designed many of their pieces which included magnificent bib necklaces and pendant earrings.
Lincoln took over the company during the mid-1960s after his father retired. They continued to use high-quality Swarovski crystals during this decade, along with pavé-set rhinestones, bright colors, and textured finishes.
Here is a pair of glamorous JOMAZ clip earrings from the 1960s incorporating that look:
After Lincoln died in 1976, his widow ran the company for a brief time. By 1977, they ended production. The Jomaz company closed its doors in 1981.
The early jewelry that was made beginning in 1927 was marked MAZER BROS. This signature was used through 1951. Joseph Mazer’s jewelry was marked JOMAZ, MAZER, or JOSEPH MAZER from 1946 to 1981:
Mazer jewelry has always had a reputation for excellence in both workmanship and design and is avidly sought after by collectors today.
If my sister and I were to start a business together, I’m sure it would be great fun. And if it involved getting to talk a lot on the phone, it may even be successful. We both mastered that skill many years ago!
Kimberly Moore is a vintage costume jewelry expert, blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed. To learn more, visit her website at kingdomsparkle.com
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