Unworn vintage 50s bead cluster earrings from Lillian Barkow are clip style and come on their original paper card. The beads, hand-riveted to a perforated goldtone plate, are a luscious mix of champagne and bronze glass pearls with frosted and moonglow yellow-orange lucite beads, accented by gold leaf stampings and a single, prong-set topaz aurora borealis chaton rhinestone.
The earrings measure 1 ¼” in diameter and are in excellent condition, though the paper card they’re attached to is rather dogeared. No maker’s mark on the earrings themselves; the paper card reads: “Desisned by Lillian Barkow, Fifth Avenue, New York, Hand Made”.
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Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild
For me, the most exciting part of collecting vintage jewelry is uncovering the history (both the owner’s and the manufacturer’s) that accompanies it, and in the case of these earrings, a mysterious chapter appears to have begun… I’ve managed to glean only two tidbits of information about Lillian Barkow: 1) She was already established in the costume jewelry trade in the mid-40s in New Jersey (a 1946 ad in The Westfield Leader reads “Found—A Treasure Chest Brimming with Beads, The New and Different Lillian Barkow Costume Jewelry for Summer, Necklaces, Bracelets, Earrings & Barrettes in White, Pastels, and Silver…), and 2) she won a mid-50s court case against a distant relative who defrauded her of $10,000 in September of 1945.
Though she apparently got her start in New Jersey, by the time these earrings were manufactured (in the mid- to late 50s, when this style of earring was popular and aurora borealis finish rhinestones first came on the scene), according to the card she had moved shop to Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Stay tuned!
Item ID: tyn1
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