Fabulous and successful costume jewellery
In the middle of the 20th century, Corocraft was the largest manufacturer of costume jewellery in the United States. In 1946 its output made up 16% of the American costume jewellery market and by the late 1950s it had over 3,000 employees – at a time when its competitors averaged 100.
The company started as Cohn and Rosenberger, a jewellery and accessories boutique on Broadway in New York City run by Emanuel Cohn and Carl Rosenberger. The Coro mark was first used in 1919 and in 1929 a factory was opened in Providence, Rhode Island. In the 1930s factories were opened in Canada and the UK.
In 1937 the upmarket “Coro Craft” (later “Corocraft”) range was introduced, with Vendome following in 1944. The Vendome range replaced Corocraft as the company’s most prestigious line in 1953. During the 1930s and 40s Coro made jewellery sold at prices between 50 cents and 100 dollars.
Vendome was named after the Place Vendome in Paris and aimed to bring Parisian chic to wealthy American women. The jewellery used silver and gold plated settings, facetted crystals and rhinestones from Austria and Czechoslovakia, and high-quality faux pearls.
Coro’s success was due to the volume and diversity of its output, as well as its many talented designers – most of them unknown today. The best known is Adolph Katz who joined in 1924 and became head designer. Others included Gene Verecchio, Lester Gaba, Victor di Mezza and Albert Weiss.
Pieces marked Coro were from the lower and mid-priced ranges and are usually of good quality. The more expensive Corocraft pieces might be silver or gold plated and used European crystals and rhinestones.
In 1933 Coro bought the patent for a double-clip system it called “Duette” from its French creator Gaston Candas. The Duettes featured a brooch frame with two dress clips attached to it. It could be worn as one large brooch or two clips. Katz designed many of the best Duettes, as well as Jelly Belly brooches and en tremblant flower pins.
The company was bought by the Richton International Corporation in 1957 and production ceased in 1979 (although a plant in Canada continued production into the mid 1990s).
Coro used more than 50 trademarks. They include Coro and Corocraft in script, Vendome, and a pegasus mark.