One of my latest finds was a lovely vintage crystal bead and rhinestone pin. Immediately upon spotting it, I was excited because it had all the hallmarks of jewelry made by DeLizza & Elster, also known as “Juliana” jewelry. These pieces are quite sought after by those who collect vintage costume jewelry because they are always especially beautiful in design, color, and artistry.
Jewelry made by D&E is never “signed”. For the most part, the company made costume jewelry for other companies like Weiss, Kramer, Coro, and even Sarah Coventry just to name a few. But during the mid-1960s, the company sold a line of jewelry while trying to build their own name recognition. The only identification on this jewelry was a hang tag or a card that the jewelry was held on.
So how did I realize that I had found one of the coveted pieces of “Juliana” jewelry? I’m not telling – that way I get to keep it all for myself!
Oh ok .. I’ll spill the beans. The first thing I look for is exceptional quality, beautiful design, and lovely stones. DeLizza & Elster always made first-rate costume jewelry. It is solid. Turn the piece over and look at its construction. A particularly notable feature of D&E construction is what many collectors call “figure 8 puddling”. And then there are the rivets, and stones with open backed settings and … well, there are so many features that are distinctive to Juliana jewelry that after studying and handling them, you begin to just “know”.
One of the very best ways to learn how to identify Juliana jewelry is to go to the website Is It Juliana? This site is put together by Karla Wacker who is one of the authors of the book “Juliana Jewelry – The Last Generation”. It’s a wonderful, searchable database. Here, you can not only learn about the distinctive features of Juliana jewelry, but you can also look at numerous pieces of jewelry that have been previously identified. There is also a Facebook group called Juliana (D&E) Jewelry Study GroupFor an exceptionally interesting in-depth look at the jewelry business, Mr. DeLizza has written a book detailing his decades of experiences. It is an absolutely fascinating read and shouldn’t be missed. You can purchase the book, “Memoirs of a Fashion Jewelry Manufacturer” on Amazon.
I’m proud to say that any piece of vintage jewelry found in my shop – online or brick & mortar – that I’ve identified as being D&E/Juliana is guaranteed to be just that. And if you ever want to know how I’ve identified it as such, just ask! I’m always happy to show you.
Originally posted 11/2/09Updated 12/16/19