Monet Jewelry is a brand of vintage jewelry that remains highly popular in the market. The company is often regarded as the world’s favorite brand for vintage costume jewelry. Even today, their jewelry is much sought after by jewelry lovers and collectors worldwide.
Here’s a brief look at the history of Monet Jewelry and how they became ‘the world’s favorite vintage jewelry brand’.
A Brief History of Monet Jewelry
Monet Jewelry was first established by two brothers, Michael and Jay Chernow. They named the company ‘Monocraft Products Company’. The very first items they sold were handbags with gold-plated embellishments and monograms on them. Because these products were of excellent quality and well-made, they were highly sought after.
Monet faux leather shoulder bag by Mun and Me. See it here.
Later on, with the onset of the economic crisis, the company began to focus on impressive-looking costume jewelry for women who couldn’t afford high-end jewelry pieces. Monocraft began with bracelets, earrings, brooches and necklaces, but it wasn’t until eight years later (in 1937) that the company name was changed to ‘Monet’ and they began to market their designs.
Monet Jewelry quickly gained popularity with their stand out products and unique designs. They were mostly famous for their earrings, including clip-ons for women who didn’t have pierced ears.
Set of 4 Monet vintage clip-on earrings by Fender Wild Things. See it here.
Monet was the first jewelry company to manufacture their own unique pieces branded with their trademark, which was considered a daring concept back in the 1920’s and 30’s. They pioneered the way for famous brands that we know of today, like Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Today, it’s common for jewelry brands to have their logo on all of their products.
With former Cartier jewelry designer Edmond Grandville leading the company in the late 1930s, Monet became a leading fashion brand and a household name. It remains the world’s favorite brand for vintage costume jewelry, still producing gorgeous designs that continue to be highly coveted by vintage jewelry lovers.
The Evolution of Monet Jewelry
Monet Jewelry pieces are famous for their perfect craftsmanship, elaborate designs and use of rhinestones. Around the 1940’s, Monet was inspired by the work of European fashion designers and began to create unique, intricate metal pieces. All Monet pieces have one thing in common in terms of appearance- they look rich and expensive but with a low end price.
Dangle earrings with black cabochons and rhinestones by Jewelry Boulevard. See it here.
Monet Jewelry also began to use gold-, glass- and silver-plated metals that were highly affordable but looked as good as the real thing. The company’s target was to give the average woman a chance to wear rich-looking materials like gold, diamonds and pearls without having to spend too much on them. Their artistic, intricate designs were the reason that many women were drawn to them.
What Monet Jewelry Looks Like Today
After many changes in ownership over the years, the company was finally purchased by Liz Clairborne in 2000. Today, the company’s vintage jewelry items are still valued, worn and collected by jewelry lovers all over the world. They’re available at a wide range of prices from as little as $30 to several hundreds of dollars, depending on their quality and the materials used.
Even though Monet has gone through several decades of change, they have managed to maintain their goal: high-end looking custom-made jewelry designs at an affordable price for all. Here are some popular Monet jewelry designs available on the market today:
Vintage necklace from the 1960’s by Pearl Modern. See it here.
This piece is a classic 1960’s collectible vintage necklace with an adjustable pendant and hook clasp. Although it’s a very old piece, notice the excellent condition and how shiny and new-looking its plating is.
While many of Monet’s jewelry pieces featured faux rubies, emeralds and sapphires, there were also some with different links as well as box and book chains. Brass was a popular metal for jewelry at that time.
Monet chunky vintage link chain bracelet by Star Yes. See it here.
This chunky Monet bracelet from the 1980’s showcases the company’s expertise in metalworking. While it looks just like real silver, the piece is actually silver-plated which makes it a lot more affordable.
This gorgeous Monet gold-tone ring comes with a large faux diamond in the middle and six faux diamond accents on the sides, a beautiful accessory to any outfit. The quality and craftsmanship of this piece is excellent and even though it’s a vintage piece, you can hardly see any wear or tear due to the excellent triple plating techniques.
Monet WWII Royal Air Force pin by Eclectic Debs Vintage. See it here.
During World War II, Monet was selected as the official victory jewelry supplier for the British Royal Air Force. The proceeds they made from the sales was donated to a national organization called ‘Bundles for Britain’, which was dedicated to helping civilians affected by the bombing raids. This Royal Air Force pin from the 1940’s is a classic example of Monet’s exquisite craftsmanship and quality.
Monet Jewelry – A Timeline
Monet was always one step ahead of the times by changing their jewelry designs accordingly. Let’s take a look at the company’s progress from the 1930’s up to today.
- 1930’s – The company began to attract a huge fan base because of its attractive, yet affordable custom vintage jewelry designs. They had many Art Deco designs as well as floral and animal patterns.
- 1940’s – Because of restrictions on platinum and brass metals, Monet Jewelry switched to sterling silver instead. They began to produce fur clips, brooches, military patterns and charms as well.
- 1950’s – The company began to create large pieces of flashy jewelry. This was when they started to trademark their jewelry pieces so that consumers would be able to identify them as the originals.
- 1960’s – During this time, charm bracelets reached their peak in popularity. There were all kinds of objects hung on bracelets including flora and fauna. This was a decade of change for women, with more and more women entering the workforce. Monet saw this as a good opportunity and began to create jewelry suited to the workplace. These new pieces were contemporary as well as formal and stylish.
- 1970’s – Monet Jewelry began to expand its extensive collection of clip-on earrings and included pierced earrings as well. They also introduced their new ‘Ciani’ collection, which featured gorgeous luxury pieces designed with sterling silver, gemstones and gold.
- 1980’s – Monet’s designs follow the 80’s trends with loud, exuberant styles and they began to incorporate a lot of color and metalwork into their designs.
- 1990s – Monet obtained an exclusive license to manufacture jewelry for other big brands like Christian Lacroix and Yves Saint Laurent.
- 2000’s – Still going strong, Monet jewelry continues to be one of the most popular brands for vintage jewelry around the world.
How to Tell Real Monet Jewelry from Fake
The easiest way to identify Monet Jewelry is by looking for their hallmark on each piece of jewelry. It’s the name ‘Monet’, written in bold letters or script and is usually found on the clasp or in a hidden part of the piece.
Monet stamps their silver jewelry with one of two stamps: Monet Sterling, Monet 925 or just Monet like you can see here.
Where to Shop for Monet Jewelry
Monet jewelry can be found at vintage specialist stores as well as estate stores. We recommend taking a look at Etsy’s extensive collection of Monet jewelry which will give you a general idea of what’s available on the market.
Monet Jewelry FAQs
Here are some common FAQs about Monet Jewelry:
- Is Monet Jewelry worth anything? – Monet jewelry can cost anywhere from just a few dollars to hundreds or even thousands. Each piece is unique and its price depends on the quality and craftsmanship.
- How can you tell if a Monet Necklace is real gold? – Monet didn’t use real gold when making their jewelry. All their jewelry used high-quality plated metals which resembled gold, silver and platinum.
- How should I clean Monet jewelry? – When washing your Monet jewelry, only use warm, soapy water and after washing, wipe it dry with a soft cloth.
- How should I care for Monet jewelry? – Just like any other jewelry, the plating on some Monet pieces can wear off with time, so if you’re planning to use it for as long as possible, you’ll need to take extra care of it. Keep your jewelry piece away from harsh chemicals like detergents, chlorine and even those found in cosmetics. Store it safely away
- Is Monet jewelry real gold? – All Monet jewelry pieces are triple-plated gold. This means that they’re not entirely made of gold, but they do have a very thin layer of it applied over a base metal that’s usually copper or silver.
- How long does Monet jewelry last? – On average, gold-plated jewelry lasts for about 2 years before its gold plating begins to wear off or tarnish. The same goes for Monet jewelry, but some pieces which are over 50 years old are still in good condition. This depends on the quality of the piece and how well you take care of it.
- Who started Monet jewelry? – The company was first established by the brothers Michael and Jay Chernow and it was finally sold to Liz Claiborne in 2000.
- Does Monet jewelry look good? – Yes, Monet jewelry pieces have excellent quality and look fine and impressive for their price.
Today, Monet jewelry continues to be one of the most popular vintage costume jewelry stores on the globe. They’re a great choice if you’re looking for unique and beautiful vintage jewelry pieces to add to your collection.