In jewelry, not everything that glitters is considered real gold. One example is the vintage costume jewelry modeled after high-end jewelry pieces at a much cheaper price.
Many jewelry designers are quite talented at creating luxury-looking aesthetic jewelry at an affordable price tag. One of the industry leaders of vintage costume jewelry is Monet Jewelry. For many decades, this company is a highly sought-after manufacturer of many jewelry collectors and fashionistas. They are well appreciated for their cheaper alternative to luxury jewelry items.
Monet Jewelry has become synonymous with vintage costume pieces, from brooches, necklaces, earrings, etc. They give any outfit an elegant, classic formal look, using precious metals, such as gold and silver. They are also handcrafted for a unique touch and originality. Although Monet is known for its elaborate jewelry, they also offer tone-down pieces for an everyday look.
This article will delve deeper into the world of vintage costume jewelry, the commercial success of Monet Jewelry, and, more importantly, to answer the question: what is Monet Jewelry? Scroll along and find out.
Table of Contents
What Is Monet Jewelry?
Monet Jewelry is designed to look like handcrafted, high-end fine jewelry. The craftsmanship, quality, and finish of each piece should appear classic, sophisticated, and luxurious without the premium price.
This jewelry line uses faux gemstones, glass, gold- and silver-plated metals that appear to be authentic. Its main purpose is to make elaborate jewelry pieces more accessible for the average person. As a result, people can wear pearls, gold, and diamonds without paying a steep price for these rare and precious materials.
Another great thing about Monet Jewelry is that their elegant pieces don’t appear cheap. Monet Jewelry has established a large, loyal fanbase with its stylish and fashion-forward product line due to its aesthetic qualities.
History and Background of Monet Jewelry
When two brothers namely, Michael and Jay Chernow, started their business in Providence, Rhode Island, the two had no idea that their small jewelry business will become one of the most famous and enduring vintage costume jewelry manufacturers in the world.
The brothers formed their business in 1927 and called it the Monocraft Products Company. They initially manufacture gold-toned metal monogram plaques for women’s handbags and purses. The metalwork distinguished them from other competitors due to its beautiful and intricate art deco designs.
After being in the jewelry business for a couple of years, the brothers decided to expand their product line by including costume jewelry pieces, such as earrings, necklaces, bracelets, vintage brooches, and ornamental clips. The majority of their early metalworks were gold-plated monogram brooches with a signed Monocraft.
It was not until 1937 when Monet Jewelry began marketing its jewelry line. By the time of its release, the Chernow brothers change their business name under the brand Monet. Since then, Monet introduced technological advances in jewelry making, including earrings. They are the only company that manufactures barrel claps for pierced earrings and earring clips for pierced and non-piercing ears.
Monet’s creative innovations, including sterling silver and gold and silver plating, distinguish themselves from other jewelry makers of their time.
Authentic Monet Jewelry pieces during the 1930s and 1940s were crafted using open metalwork and straight edges. The open metalwork designs of their silver- and gold-plated jewelry set them apart from other designers, while their straight-edge designs appear smoother than other jewelry competitors.
In the early 1950s, Monet Jewelry became well-known for its precious metals and unique jewelry designs. However, several copies of their design were produced by its competitors. That is why they started including the Monet Trademark to distinguish their genuine, vintage jewelry.
From then on, Monet Jewelry has managed to maintain its reputation for creating unique designs in line with the latest jewelry trends. In the succeeding years, various companies held the rights to create their trademark designs. From 1969 to 1989, General Mills held rights to Monocraft Products. From 1989 to 1994, it was bought by Crystal Brand Jewelry Group and later acquired by Chase Capital Partners, Lattice Holding, from 1994 to 2000. The company has been managing Monet since 2000.
How Monet Jewelry Evolved Over the Decades
As fashion evolves, so does jewelry. Monet Jewelry designs continue to evolve to reflect the modern fashion trends, a marketing strategy used by the brand to keep them ahead of the times. Check out how the company played a huge role in the jewelry industry over the decades.
Monet’s early collections were inspired by European fashion designers, featuring Art Deco designs, animal and floral patterns, and huge rhinestones that look like precious gemstones.
Monet started manufacturing silver-made jewelry as the war began to impose restrictions on using platinum and brass. Most of their designs featured military motifs, with fur clips and brooches as the most popular jewelry items. They also introduced the Monet charms, which earned massive attention.
Monet started producing large, flashy pieces to suit the 50’s fashion trend. These include elaborate statement bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. Even rose and yellow gold-plated jewelry became a fashion trend, especially in large link designs. Monet also began trademarking their products to distinguish them from other competitors.
Monet’s charm bracelets became a huge hit, especially with flora, fauna, and animal patterns. Everyday objects became charms for bracelets and necklaces. As more women began entering the workforce, Monet introduced jewelry pieces with formal, stylish, and contemporary designs, ideal for workplace settings.
Monet added a pierced earring line aside from clip-on earrings. They also introduced the “Ciani” line, focusing on luxury fine jewelry pieces made of sterling silver, gold, semi-precious gemstones.
The 80s were known for their loud, colorful jewelry pieces. That is why most Monet designs during this period are described as boisterous, loud styles that utilize metalwork and color.
Monet continued to produce jewelry designs to suit modern times. They also became licensed to provide jewelry from high-profile brands, such as Christian Lacroix and Yves Saint Laurent.
2000 and beyond
Today, Monet’s current jewelry line consists of sophisticated, luxurious, and stunning pieces. Monet’s Liz Claiborne line showcases unique pieces set with precious stones, like colored crystals, coral, green opal, etc. Some of the modern Monet collections include Jewels of the Nile, Things of Beauty, Color Awakening, Twilight Dreams, etc.
Monet Jewelry Current Trends
Today, Monet Jewelry items are valued as vintage costume jewelry, which is still worn by many and collected by avid Monet patrons. Although most of the designs are perfect for formal occasions or special events, there are still understated, minimalist designs that you can wear on any casual day.
Today, the word Monet jewelry is not only used to identify an exclusive jewelry brand. The brand is now used to identify aesthetic, vintage jewelry pieces without the steep price. Here are some great examples of Monet-style jewelry available on the market these days:
Monet Jewelry Current Trends Reviewed
- Plated Bronze Diamond Accent Twisted Hoop Earrings By Amazon Collection – Best Overall
- Warlock's Mistress – Best Value
- Handcrafted Lotus Flower Ring by Majade – Editor’s Choice
- Red Sunset Round Glass Opal Silver Music Box Locket by Chars Favorite Things
#1. Plated Bronze Diamond Accent Twisted Hoop Earrings By Amazon Collection – Best Overall
- Stylish hoop earrings with a twisted design
- Diamond accented details
- Handcrafted in bronze
- 18k yellow gold-plated bronze
- Click-post closure
- Available in rhodium-plated bronze and rose gold-plated bronze
The Plated Bronze Diamond Accent Twisted Hoop Earrings is a part of the Amazon Collection, featuring fashionable statement jewelry items at an affordable price. These stylish hoop earrings showcase a unique twisted design with dazzling round diamond accent details set in an 18k yellow gold-plated bronze.
This stunning piece is handcrafted in 18k yellow gold-plated bronze for an added touch of color and brilliance, the perfect jewelry to expand a woman’s jewelry collection with an elegant, timeless style.
You can also get it in other colors and metals, such as rose gold-plated bronze and rhodium-plated bronze.
|Classic, timeless style||Not hypoallergenic|
#2. Warlock's Mistress – Best Value
- Dangling silver earrings
- Silver-plated with clear lacquer
- Made from unique crystals, beads, hand-painted leaves, and vintage pewter
- All-brass metal
- Lever back hooks
- Antique-inspired design
The Warlock’s Mistress from No Monet is an elegantly crafted dangling silver earring set made from unique crystals, beads, vintage pewter, and hand-painted leaves. It is an all-brass jewelry piece with level back hooks and silver-plated with clear lacquer.
The main feature of these Monet-style earrings is their intricate hanging details, making them look eye-catching and gorgeous. These long earrings make a perfect accessory for a night out or a formal occasion as it adds a romantic touch to your outfit. Women with long necks will certainly look stylish when wearing these.
|Very intricate design||Too heavy and strains the ear lobe|
#3. Handcrafted Lotus Flower Ring by Majade – Editor’s Choice
- Handmade lotus ring
- Nature-inspired ring
- Metal: Sterling silver AG 925
- Gemstone: Diamond
- Gem Type: Natural, non-treated
- Dimension 32mm x 19 mm
The Lotus Flower Ring by Majade is a nature-inspired floral fashion ring in Monet-style. It is made of sterling silver with diamond details. This vintage ring has an air of sheer elegance, making it easier to pair it with casual or formal outfits. It has a distinct beauty that will make you stand out from the crowd.
This ring has a very special design since many ancient cultures consider the lotus a symbol of holiness. Not only that, Majade meticulously crafted this ring with precious material.
|Unique and elegant design||Design is almost unrecognizable|
- Set includes: one necklace, one pair of earrings
- Adjustable earring back: lever back
- Jewelry closure: Lobster clasp metal color
- Necklace length: 17″ gold-tone chain
- Earring length: 40mm
- Chain construction: cable care, wipe clean
The Green Necklace and Earring Set in Monet-style jewelry set consist of one necklace and a single earring set. Whether you want a dash of color for your outfit or a hint of elegance to your evening gown, this Monet necklace will certainly bring out a vibrant green hue. It includes an alternating design of colorless crystal and green gemstones in a gold-colored chain.
The necklace has a matching earring, a large drop earring set with a suspended white crystal, and a large green gemstone at the bottom. These earrings can only go well with formal outfits, especially if you want to add a dash of color to your overall look.
|Earrings perfectly complement the necklace||Too flashy|
- Music box locket
- Silver-tone heart locket with filigree layer
- Round glass opal cabochon
- Silver-plated bezel
- Resin-finished filigree and bezel
- 30″ silver-plated chain with dragonfly toggle clasp
The Red Sunset Round Glass Opal Silver Music Box Locket is a statement necklace with a music box locket within its heart-shaped pendant. It features a silver-tone heart locket designed with a filigree layer and round Monet Red Sunset glass opal in a cabochon cut, containing rainbow-colored streaks. The cabochon is placed in a silver-plated bezel.
This stunning pendant is preserved in a resin-finished filigree and bezel. The music box can play by twisting its key on the pendant’s back. You can use it as a locket or necklace as you suspend it in a 30-inch silver-plated chain with a dragonfly clasp.
What makes it a fascinating jewelry item is that the locket opens and closes as you push its tiny button on the side, revealing a small music box that plays an 18-note musical tune. It also makes an eye-catching statement necklace as the inside cover of its locket has a lacy floral heart, which gives a vintage Victorian look. You can also place your loved one’s photo inside the locket.
|Perfect for any occasion||The heart locket is too large|
Top Brands for Monet Jewelry
Although they may seem rare, you can find Monet Jewelry items at auctions, antique shops, and vintage and estate specialist stores. Prices may vary depending on the type of materials used, the item’s quality, and the demand.
Generally, a pair of vintage Monet earrings may cost around $30, while a Monet Jewelry necklace can reach hundreds of dollars. It is highly recommended to check out Monet Jewelry pieces online to get an idea of the different styles and the current trends. You may also check out the following online retail websites:
Amazon Curated Collection
The Amazon Curated Collection consists of a massive selection of premium quality jewelry pieces, and everyday stylish accessories ranging from diamonds, precious gemstones to the latest fashion designs.
Amazon’s diverse selection of hand-selected jewelry items consists of abundant metals, diamonds, and gemstones that went through quality inspection with Amazon’s very own gemologist. The company also ensures that each product meets their high standards. All diamonds are certified by suppliers as conflict-free with certifications from established diamond laboratories.
If you’re looking for diverse collections of curated jewelry items, look no more. Ruby Lane is one of the largest curated online marketplaces for fine art and jewelry, vintage fashion, vintage collectibles, and antiques. Their huge online inventory of fine jewelry features various selections of Monet Jewelry from rhinestone bracelets, Moroccan-inspired design Monet Jewelry earrings, beaded necklaces, pin brooch, bangle bracelets, and dangling earrings.
Bonanza is an online marketplace that is built for entrepreneurs to help them build a sustainable online business. They allow sellers to make profitable sales and establish a personal brand to develop lasting relationships with their customers. Their massive online product database includes a large selection of Monet jewelry in various styles. Price ranges from $3 to $300.
How to a Spot a Vintage Monet Jewelry
Monet’s large array of vintage costume jewelry designs offers a decent selection of affordable and timeless jewelry items that will certainly complement any outfit in your wardrobe.
Monet is known as the first costume jewelry brand to place a stamp on each manufactured jewelry piece with its exclusive hallmark. This way, people can easily identify if a certain piece is originally manufactured by Monet apart from other jewelry brands.
When looking for Monet Jewelry, find the signature Monet trademark written in a script or bold font on the clasp or in its invisible section. Silver jewelry from Monet should have a stamp with either Monet Sterling or Monet 925.
Monet Jewelry pieces are valued for their craftsmanship, rhinestones, and intricate designs. Most of their designs are inspired by European fashion designers, where they created creative and intricate metalwork.
Their signature aesthetic is that they look expensive without being entirely expensive. Monet gave women the chance to spend within their budget while looking high-end. It is why several women love their intricate and artistic designs.
After several decades of changes in ownership and designs, Liz Clairborne currently manages Monet Jewelry. Most of their unique pieces continue to uphold the signature vintage look and Monet Jewelry’s original aesthetic. Prices range from $30 to $100, making it more suitable for the common folk.
Despite decades of transitions in the jewelry market, Monet Jewelry maintains its vision: to provide affordable custom-made jewelry pieces that appear luxurious and aesthetic. Monet has provided millions of women to look elegant and stylish while on a budget. Although fashion trends may shift through the years, Monet proves that some things will never go out of style.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
What is the difference between vintage, antique, and costume jewelry?
Vintage typically refers to jewelry items that are at least 20 years old. Antique jewelry is defined as at least 100 years old. These include styles that originated during the early 1900s, such as Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Retro, and Victorian. These eras reflected the design of vintage costume jewelry between the 1950s to 1990s.
You may also notice that several recurring themes that originated from antique designs are still popular today. These include enamel, fauna, figural, flora, kitschy, and rhinestone. Often, vintage jewelry is also referred to as costume jewelry. It is often defined as jewelry pieces with a prominent fashion statement and not made of real gold or precious stones.
What is the quality of vintage jewelry?
Vintage jewelry boasts of its quality craftsmanship that is far superior to today’s costume jewelry. Generally, vintage jewelry is American made, specifically produced in the Northeastern United States. Vintage costume jewelry is manufactured using a mixed-based metal and triple-plated gold or silver. The result is quality jewelry that doesn’t easily tarnish even after decades.
Another great thing about vintage jewelry is that the base metal is well-layered and far away from the skin. This way, people who have skin issues or skin sensitivities can safely wear vintage jewelry.
Meanwhile, modern costume jewelry has a single plating. That is why it is more likely to tarnish and cause irritation to sensitive skin.
How do you clean and maintain vintage costume jewelry?
The number one rule when cleaning vintage costume jewelry is to prevent pearls, enamel, rhinestones, or other delicate details and designs from getting wet. The best way to clean these items is to dust them using a dry, soft toothbrush and an aerosol keyboard spray.
You can apply an equal mixture of water and Windex for jewelry items that are gold or silver plated. Sterling silver may require sunshine cloths for polishing. If a stone or pearl comes loose, the best way to put it back is to apply a decent amount of epoxy glue. You may also look for jewelry shops that sell jewelry cleaning supplies. They are made for a special purpose to avoid incurring damage to your precious piece.