Friday, September 14, 2012

The Skinny -- Van Dell Jewelry

From Broadwater Rose Jewels
The mysterious world of vintage jewelry is full of twists and turns.  Marks can be hard to read, and company's names reduced to vague initials.  Histories on the jewelry companies are lost or incomplete.  And forget about trying to date a piece or find out more about the jeweler's other collections.

Before I list a piece of jewelry in the Etsy shop, I do research.  I had never heard of Van Dell, but was intrigued when I found a pair of black and white cameo screw back earrings, set in sterling silver.  The mark was clear and prettily done.  But when I went to research the company, it was hard to find anything about them.  So for today's "The Skinny", I'm going to share with all of you the info I have been able to find out about the Van Dell Corporation (which ain't much...).  

It began in Providence, Rhode Island in 1943 (or 1938, depending on your source), with an emphasis on making high quality collections of costume jewelry, as well as sterling silver and gold filled and gold plated pieces.  Van Dell wanted to make designs that imitated fine jewelry, retaining a more delicate feel than a heavy, costume feel. They used rhinestones and simulated gemstones, as well as cultured and faux pearls.  They were also known for their hand carved cameos and ivory pieces.  According to Vintage Jewelry Lane, "Some of their early pieces sold for $65 or more in the 1960s, which was quite expensive for the time."

From The Art Floozy on Etsy

Van Dell is recognizable for their cameos, delicate floral pieces, faux pearls, and carved ivory.  Their ivory jewelry was marked with red and gold foil hang tags.  Rhinestone designs were often originally sold in sets, and are worth more if you can find the entire set or the original box.  The jewelry will be marked Van Dell, and have a stamp stating if it is sterling or gold filled.  Although not a high end designer, Van Dell does have a following, and can sell for a higher range of prices that your average costume jewelry.

From Morning Glory Jewelry
 The company was sold to Hallmark in 1970, and in 1998, was bought by the Colibri Company, based in London.   They also own Krementz jewelry, which has a similar design aesthetic. Van Dell jewelry is still being made today.

From our Etsy shop!

 Thanks to Vintage Jewelry Lane for the info!


  1. Thanks for writing this very helpful article! :) I am researching gold filled jewelry with the mark "CM" I find quite a few pieces for sale- all really well made- but I have not come across any history on it yet. the screw-backs are reminiscent of Van Dell- which is why your article intrigued me. But, alas- not the same company. Oh well, I will keep searching- and if I pick up any Van Dell tidbits- I will be sure to share them :) Thanks again!

    1. Thanks for looking! If we all contribute, we'll be able to figure out all these quirks with vintage marks. :)

  2. I love researching the history of costume jewelry. It started when I was going to bring a few random pieces of broken silver and gold jewelry to my local "pawn" shop. I started to look up the pieces with names and marks and found it so interesting. I love a challenge! A lot of the bangles I wore in high school are quite collectible now. I am glad I didn't just sell them for scrap silver. The only thing is finding a buyer. I'm in no hurry as I love to learn more about them and cherish them a little longer. I came across a 12kt g.f. Van Dell pin with what looks like copper and a faux ruby. I love the workmanship of their pieces. Thank you for your post. It was the first one to show up when I did a search

  3. Thanks for the information. I have a lovely Cameo made by the company...and was wondering who/what vdell was. Now I know, so thank you!!! Chris

  4. Anyway to find out how much items are worth?