Elzac jewelry has a wonderful provenance. The company was founded in 1941 by Eliot Handler and his partner, Zack Zemby (hence El + Zach = Elzac).
Eliot Handler was married to Ruth Handler, the famous inventor of the Barbi doll. She and her husband founded the Mattel company and the rest was history for Barbi.
BUT before Mattel, there was Elzac Co. of Hollywood, founded by Eliot Handler and a partner. Eliot studied in Pasadena and became fascinated with a new material called "Lucite."
After his creative experiments with Lucite, he evolved into making costume jewelry. Ruth hit the streets selling the pieces and they became wildly collectible. In March 1942, the government issued strong restrictions on metals used in jewelry making because of WWII.
Those restrictions proved to be a goldmine for Handler since their company used non-traditional materials. The designs and materials were in high demand and sales went crazy.
There are at least 17 patented designs for Eliot Handler. This particular piece's design was patented on February 23, 1943, Pat. #135101.
This exact pin can be seen in the book "A Tribute to America, Costume Jewelry 1935 - 1950" by Carla and Roberto Brunialti on page 199. An advertisement in Woman's Wear Daily in 1945 dubbed this pin "Bonnet Head."
This wonderful brooch is made from a large fluted clear lucite base with a ceramic gold-glazed women's tribal face in the center.
As with all Elzac jewelry, the pieces were not signed, but their style is so distinctive and unusual, they are easily identified.
The brooch measures 2-1/2" wide and 3" tall. It is in excellent vintage condition. The lucite and glaze are clean.
The Elzac Company had a short, but multi-million dollar life from 1942-1944.
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