What is Napier Jewelry? Everything about the Vintage Jewelry

What is Napier Jewelry

A single name dominated the fashion industry at one point in our history – Napier Jewelry. Their fashion-forward vision, extensive and diverse style, and stunning and bold designs made them a well-known brand.

Napier Jewelry may have gone unheard of in the past years and no longer conquered the industry, but their items are still valued highly. So much so that collectors and fashion lovers do as much as they can to get them.

Let’s stroll down history lane and find out the glory days of Napier Jewelry and where they are now.


The Napier Jewelry: Past and Present

Jewelry manufacturing companies were one of the first modern corporations in the United States. One of these is the Napier Company. Their institution was historically known as an innovative silver object manufacturer.

The Napier Company dates back to 1878. They started in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, with the name, E.A. Bliss Co., producing gilt men’s watch chains. Not long after, E.A. Bliss Co. became incorporated as The E.A. Bliss Company with “The” as part of its legal name.

After their rapid growth in the previous decade, The E.A. Bliss Company moved to Meriden, Connecticut, in the early days of 1890. They were big in making jewelry pieces that they never stopped operations even during World War I and II. But, instead of producing jewelry, they focused on war-related items like medallions and medals.

The company was renamed The Napier-Bliss Co. when James H. Napier became its president in 1920. 2 years later, it changed its name again to The Napier Co.

The Napier Jewelry became well known for its knack to be at the forefront of fashion and design. They had a history of sending their designers to Europe. This is true even for its president, James Napier, who attended the World’s Fair Exposition Internationale des Artes Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris.

After trips to Europe and different jewelry-related events, they would bring home business ideas, including designs heavily influenced by Parisian and European fashion. During his time with the company from 1914 up to his death in 1960, Napier did not design any jewelry.

Fast forward to 1999, Victoria & Company brought The Napier Co and closed down the plant in Meriden, Connecticut. These days, Napier Jewelry is still being manufactured and distributed under the umbrella of Jones Apparel Group,


Why Is The Napier Jewelry So Desirable?

The Napier Co. earned its good reputation by standing out from the pack. Their trademark is the more straightforward and sleeker designs with modern elements and meek geometric shapes.

More than the design, shape, and fashion statement of their quality jewelry, they were the preferred gems as their selling prices are what any average woman can afford. Their popularity rose in the 1950s and 60s when they went all out with a wide array of styles.

Source: https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR1Umi0noTZXrWE51henux4mkQ_lA8tt981GQ&usqp=CAU

Napier Jewelry’s line ranged from pieces that featured faux pearls and beading, large gold or silver-toned chains, and colorful enamel pieces. Their earrings, necklaces, and bracelets are created with milk glass beads and art glass charms.

The company continued to prosper throughout the 20th century with its costume jewelry elegantly designed. You won’t go wrong with any of their chunky bracelets, oversized broaches, and large button style earrings. Along the way, they also added a line of sterling silver pieces.

Napier made sure they produced quality products every single time to best associate their brand with excellence. True to their name Napier, which comes from “nae peer,” meaning “having no equal,” they had quite an unrivaled line.


How To ID Pieces of Napier

Every piece of Napier Jewelry that came out from 1922 until the late 1980s was stamped with the word NAPIER in block letters. After that era, the stamp was changed from block letters to the same words written in script. This change came after the new owners took over.

The script NAPIER remained the identifying mark until Victoria & Co closed Napier in October of 1999. Although you may still see unmarked jewelry pieces listed under the Napier name in department stores and retail outlets, they are not manufactured by the original creators.

Collectors and vintage enthusiasts know that Napier Jewelry in stores today is not the same as the quality pieces produced before 1999. Napier’s stamp of authenticity tells a lot about the value of a piece listed.


Pieces of Napier Jewelry Online

No matter how long ago the company has closed down the business, Napier Jewelry remains a favorite among those who have a passion for costume jewelry. Because who wouldn’t? Napier Jewelry’s items have an overall style, construction, and components that are distinct to them.

The web has a lot to offer from this colorful part of jewelry history. Unique vintage pieces can be viewed at different retail websites but, be sure to have a good eye to confirm their authenticity. Here are some gems we found on the internet.

Vintage Articulated NAPIER Owl Pin / Brooch w Green Rhinestone Eyes

📷 Source: https://www.ebay.com/itm/154278929320

📷 Source: https://www.ebay.com/itm/154278929320

An owl brooch perfect for any vintage jewelry collection. There weren’t a lot of owl pin designs with such an articulated body. The tail and the mounting pin show the engraved Napier stamp. This owl is divided into four segments and attached by a chain on its back, allowing movement from side to side and back to front.

Wide Cleopatra Choker

📷 Source: https://i.etsystatic.com/9964021/r/il/f7bddc/1830306468/il_794xN.1830306468_dci0.jpg

Ever wondered how Cleopatra felt like wearing wide chockers? Napier Jewelry allowed women to experience that with their vintage choker necklace under the same name. This huge golden necklace spells glamor, boldness, and confidence.

Vintage Napier Brooch Leaf Gold-Tone Pearls

📷 Source: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Napier-Brooch-Leaf-Gold-Tone-Pearls-Rhinestone-Original-Plaid-Box-Signed/164260924639?

Napier Jewelry is well known for its brooches, and this brooch is one you should have in your collection. It features a gold-tone leaf with faux pearls and clear colorless rhinestones in various sizes. Measuring 2 inches from end to end, it will add elegance to what you are already wearing.

Napier Cabochon Space Age Parure – Eugene Bertolli Era Design

📷 Source: https://www.etsy.com/listing/483680522/napier-cabochon-space-age-parure-eugene?

This set from Napier Jewelry modestly showcased how they put together various jewelry materials like enamel, gold-tone metal, and resin/lucite into one. This piece is a work of art. A remnant towards the significance in space that was rampant in the 1970s.

Wide Gold Chain Necklace, Earrings & Gold Bracelet Set, Signed Napier Set

📷 Source: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Napier-Set-of-3-Wide-Gold-Chain-Necklace-Earrings-Gold-Bracelet-Signed/373418906441?

Looking at how intricate the designs of what’s included in this set will make you think just how it is tagged under the “vintage” collection. The lines and details are timeless and modern and can still blend with current women’s trends.


How Are Pieces of Napier Jewelry Valued

Napier’s shiny trinkets go from small earrings worth $20 to sterling silver set at $300. Depending on the design and materials used, the price range can go higher. Their collections are now valued as rare and vintage, especially those produced from the early 20th century.

Collectors and vintage lovers take Napier as their favorite part of jewelry collection, especially those with a good eye for fashion and style. Over time, these collectibles increase their value.


Is Napier Jewelry Gold?

A lot may say that pieces from Napier are gold that is not real gold. Confusing, right? In reality, for metal jewelry to be sold in the US, they need to be at least 10K gold. Anything less than that is considered not real gold.

Napier pieces, instead of being gold, are gold-toned or gold-plated. A considerable percentage of their productions were crafted from gold-plated brass. You’ll know they are gold-plated or gold-toned if:

  • They show the same shine and overall look of real gold even when they include only a small amount of gold on the surface.
  • There are no 14K gold marks, but FTC approved identifiers.
  • They may feature artificial gems and faux crystals that are often of the finest quality.

Conclusion

Napier’s history dates back to the late 19th century when they started as a company making silverware. Along the way, their expertise in silver made them produce gilt and silverplate jewelry. The trends and style they came up with not only astonished the movie stars but world war veterans, too.

Napier Jewelry, even after getting closed down, remains to be sought after. The best of the web will bring you exciting pairs of earrings, lovely sets of brooches, charms, and bracelets that you can still match with your #OOTD.

 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: How to know if your gold jewelry is real?

A: There are a lot of ways to find out if your item is real gold. Visually, if it wears off on the side or underneath, it is an indication of a gold-plated thing. You can also use a magnet as real gold is 100% attracted to magnets.


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