Signature identification and information on signed jewellery originating in the UK
UK vintage jewellery and modern costume jewellery that is signed on the back information and identification. Jewels and Finery UK have compiled this information to help others identify and obtain some background history to some of our vintage jewellery produced in the UK. Essentially we have started with the companies that manufactured and retail empires that we source on a regular basis. Unlike international vintage costume jewellery, the UK has produced very little written information with the exception of Wilson and Butler, preferring to concentrate on fine gold and silver vintage jewellery information instead.
For the purpose of this information we are looking at mainly costume jewellery that may also be known as imitation or fashion jewellery. Not made with gold or silver and precious stone or gems. However some of the companies also have ranges of silver jewellery and will be within each description.
Unless a link is shown - all our current Designer jewellery is located here and for International jewellery information.
Arranged in alphabetical order.
Agatha - French company founded in 1974 and continues today. Up market costume jewelry. The first boutique was established in Paris in 1976 and they went on to have over 200 more in 23 countries. The Scottie dog is their most famous piece and has been included into their logo.
Ainette - see Hollywood jewellery.
Allen Kate - One of the Arts and Crafts designers in the first part of the twentieth century.
Ashbee Charles Robert - Born 1863 to 1942, important for the Art Nouveau period. Also developed jewellery for Liberty & Co.
Asprey & Co - Founded in 1781 in Surrey, UK and continues today. They moved to Bond Street, London in 1847. Flourishing in the nineteenth century and received two Royal Warrants and a gold medal at the Great Exhibition from Queen Victoria. Up market luxury goods and fine jewellery. Clients include royalty, music and stage stars.
Attwood & Sawyer (A & S) - Produced quality vintage costume jewellery from 1957 to today. An UK company started in porthcawl, Wales. Started by Mr Horace Atwood and with his partner Mr Sawyer, they produced jewellery including copies of the "Duchess of Windsor" jewellery. They distributed in stores across the UK, Europe and world wide. Now very collectible vintage jewellery. The company has been brought by the Buckley jewellery Ltd, that are now reproducing the famous A & S designs.
Ascot - Unknown , possibly to do with Ascot race course. Men's cufflinks, 1950s signed in script Ascot
Askew of London seemed to be in production through the eighties to the early nineties. Their vintage jewellery was often gold plated with a mix of statement necklaces, earrings, bracelets and brooches.
Signed Askew of London.
Famous owners of vintage jewellery pieces to date is Keira Knightley who was spotted wearing a bracelet. Prices are rising for these named pieces
Brown A R
English pewter company that is based still in the UK. A R Brown produce pewter pins sculptured in animal and bird forms. Very detailed pins that are signed on the reverse. Great little collectibles. Pewter jewellery
Brown T S
Associated with A R Brown in that this company was started by his son. Also producing fine pewter pins but aimed at the sportsman. Includes fishing, hunting and sports pins. Also produce keyrings and pewter sculptures. Started in 1986 and uses English pewter.
Butler & Wilson
It was in the sixties that the two men met in London. Simon Wilson born in Glasgow had previously trained as a hairdresser, he had been told of another man who looked just like his twin! Meeting Nicky Butler the similarities were in looks, both had blond long hair and both skinny. But their personalities were very different. The two teamed up and started to sell antique and vintage jewellery from a market stall along the Portobello road. Specializing in Art Deco and Art Nouveau pieces. Soon in the late sixties, they were using parts of vintage jewellery in their own designs.
In 1972 they moved to their first shop in Fulham Road in London and continued to design their own range of jewellery. The eighties with the fashion for large statement pieces allowed Wilson and Butler to expand further. A large 6 foot billboard of Catherine Deneuve, displayed outside their shop, set the trend for other celebrates to appear being paid with jewellery from the designers. Amongst the celebrates that wear Butler and Wilson are Kate Moss, Sharon Stone, Dame Edna Everage, Jerry Hall and Faye Dunaway. Princess Diana was also a big fan, often dropping into the shop with a single bodyguard to make her choice.
In the mid eighties Simon Wilson took over the business when Nicky Butler went to America. They found that they wanted different directions. Nicky wanted to expand and live in the US, where as Simon wanted to stay in London. So the famous team parted. Nicky now designs silver and gemstone jewellery, very distinctive and very recognizable with its influences taken from antique museum collections and Indian jewellery. He lasciviously uses multiple and over sized stones. Like Simon Nicky has sold through television shopping channels (HSN) and still retains a consultancy role in the Wilson and Butler Company to this day.
The recession in the nineties hit Wilson and Butler hard, forced to close their shop in Glasgow brought home the importance of diversification within a business. So the nineties saw the company add an unique range of bags, shoes and accessories and in the early part of this century they added a collection of jewellery made from semi precious stones. Further expansion in 1994 has seen Butler and Wilson selling their distinctive glitzy jewellery and their flamboyant accessories on the shopping channel QVC. In 2007 the men's jewellery range was introduced and recently beautiful vintage inspired clothing. Along with selling their items on QVC, Wilson and Butler have a website and three shops. Two in London at Chelsea and Mayfair with a third in Monte Carlo.
Their limited production of items allows the jewellery and other products to be potentially very collectible. Their early ranges from the seventies and eighties is sought by many collectors world wide.
Two books have been produced:
Rough Diamonds The Butler and Wilson Collection in April 1994 by Vivienne Becker.
Now out of print but copies are still available in second hand book shops and on the Internet.
Butler and Wilson 40 Years published July 2009 by Simon Wilson and Madeline Marsh. A special edition with a jewel encrusted cover is also available.
Produced to celebrate 40 years in business; each book donates a percentage to Breast Cancer Care. Why because their shop in Fulham road was next to one of the largest cancer units. Women who had been diagnosed or attending for treatment would drop in to the shop and buy a piece of jewellery to cheer themselves up.
You may also be lucky to source one of their catalogue produced over the years on the Internet, but they now command high prices.
Butler and Wilson is marked B & W.
Simon Wilson is a workaholic, enjoying a simple life in London. He still loves antique markets and has never attended a jewellery course in his life.
Butler & Wilson is very collectible and now commands high prices for many ranges
BJLUnknown maker 1920 - 1930, most often seen vintage jewellery is the enamel and marcasite brooches, clip earrings & necklaces but they are quite rare and underrated. It appears that some of their items are unsigned and only if you find a signed piece can they be identified at present.
Ciro Pearls started producing vintage jewellery in 1917. Until 1920 it sold all their range by mail order. In 1920 the company opened its first retail store. They also continued to sell by mail order and also from large department stores.By 1928 they not only sold imitation pearls, diamond, emerald, sapphire and ruby costume vintage jewellery, but also white zircon, cultured pearls, marcasite, precious stones and gold vintage jewellery. Later platinum was introduced.
At Ciro Pearls height the company had stores and outlets across the world. But as with most vintage jewellery companies - the mass import of vintage costume jewellery, in the 1970s and the 1980s, from Hong Kong and other Eastern countries with the following recession; they saw a down turn of profit and in November 1994 the company went into receivership. The Ciro name and company was brought by a London Business man and now his family run business continue with the Ciro name. Costume jewellery can still be found in quality department stores across the UK and in other countries today.
Ciro Pearls advertised with pride that their faux vintage costume jewellery was difficult to tell from real pearls and diamonds. They produced necklaces, bracelets, brooches, earrings, dress and double clips, rings, badge brooches of regiments, crown jewels reproduction and much more.
Vintage Ciro Pearls is usually marked Ciro or CP. However there will always be some of their jewellery that is not marked - as with all companies. Also some jewellery is marked twice with Ciro and the company who made it.
C J Unknown signature. On many Scottish styled jewellery. Either marked just C J or C J Scotland.
Coro - US jewelry company that had a factory in Sussex, UK from 1949. In production from 1901 to 1979. The factory was taken over by Swarovski in the late 1970s or early 1980s. The jewellery is both signed and unsigned. Coro also produced many other pieces under various names icluding Corocraft, Jewelcraft and their high end pieces Vendome. Coro jewelry
Corocraft - see Coro/Jewelcraft. Corocraft jewellery
Denton China English china manufacturers originally based in Stoke on Trent where most of the UK potteries started. Now based in Berkshire. Produced a range of china flower vintage jewellery. Vintage brooches and vintage earring, matching sets can be found.
Elizabeth Arden Jewellery sold by the chain store Argos in the UK. Started around 1980 and named after the director's wife. Now changing to another brand "Jewellery and Watches"
Empire Made Mark used by British companies in ?Hong Kong in the fifties and sixties under the Empire flag. G & Co? mark on a bracelet unknown with Empire made mark.
Not to confuse with Empire in script in the US. Written on boxes with unsigned vintage jewellery. Higher end pieces probably Juliana - 70s and distributed from the NYC & Providence areas.
Exquisite This was one of the ranges produced by the Watson Group Ltd. Originally started by W A P Watson (Walter Archibald Parker) a gilt chain maker in the late Victorian period to the early twentieth century. He sold gilt chains in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. In 1914 WAP Watson went of to WW1 and sold his business to Augustus Power and Clarence Flint. They kept the founders name and continued to produce vintage costume jewellery only stopping to assist in war work as necessary for both WW1 (and WW2). It was possible that WAP Watson intended to return but he was injured and invalid out of the Royal Warwick Regiment in 1923.
With just 6 people, the family and friends orientated company produced costume jewellery and also a range of souvenirs. With the buildings in the Jewellery Quarter becoming to small. In 1954, they moved to Solihull, just along Lode Lane down onto a 3 acre site in Vulcan Lane.
In 1954 the company introduced "Exquisite Jewellery Company" and instead of producing jewellery as a wholesaler as previous, W A P Watson's now started to produce their vintage jewellery (and souvenirs) direct to the retailers.
They continued producing vintage jewellery and souvenirs until the 1970s, where the influx of cheap jewellery from Hong Kong and other Asian areas made it difficult to continue. Many of the UK and world wide jewelers were forced to close their doors in this period.
They continued until 2007, when they sold their range of collectibles called Tudor Mint to the Xystos Group.
W.A.P. Watson were also responsible for Mirella, which was named after an employer in the 1950s and Myths and Magic fantasy collectibles.
Exquisite jewellery is unsigned pre 1955-ish. I do know for definite that up to 1953 - no jewellery was signed. Following that some was just on a padded card or un-padded card/boxed and unsigned and some pieces were signed. Particularly the vintage necklaces were not always signed. One trade mark used by the company is the small bow tag on vintage necklaces and vintage bracelets.
The range is huge, floral and leaves were produced in many different finishes. Many hand painted enamel such as the Birthday Series. Souvenirs such as the Luck White Heather Scottish vintage jewellery. Brooches, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, scarf clips and rings.
Novelty and souvenir such as the Royal celebrations. Butterfly wing vintage jewellery (well they were in the Jewellery Quarter when this technique was first invented there) faux semi precious stone jewellery, the list is endless as at their highest peak, they produced 20,000 pieces
Early pieces can be identified by the type of moldings, fastenings being riveted and signature. Also quality - a MOP and AB garland brooch was produced over a long period but the earlier brooches are of a much thicker MOP.
Jewels and Finery undertaken continuous research into the Exquisite and Mirella range. We are responsible for much of the information available on the Internet as before many thought the jewellery by WAP Watson had been produced in the 1950s and 1960s.
For all items that are available by this company: Exquisite Jewellery
Hollywood Birmingham manufacturers - Bloxidge Brothers from at least 1929 until the 1980s. Signed from the 1950s - 1980s found. Very similar to Exquisite with some of the molds used, but copying was rife in the pre 60s era for many companies? Unsigned earlier vintage jewellery can still be found if it is still in its original boxes that are signed. Sole manufacturer of their vintage jewellery was for Woolworths.
Since writing the above: An advert came to light with a D Ackerman and Sons of London. That they were the "creators of Hollywood jewellery" as well as the Ainette brand. I have a theory that the Bloxidge Brothers made the jewellery for this company, which they then sold under the name Hollywood. - but this will need to be comfirmed.
Looking for Hollywood jewellery?
Jewelcraft Not a UK business but specific to the UK. Jewelcraft was the name used by Coro (US) in the UK for their vintage jewellery. The company were not allowed to use the name Coro because of the UK company Ciro. So the majority of sales were under the name Jewelcraft here in the UK. The dating is unclear but the name was used in the fifties through to the 1970s when the company stopped trading.
Jewelcraft signatures are often in script, and look out for their distinctive pear shaped tag with concentric circles that seems to be used by only them. Signatures can be rubbed and difficult to find sometimes. Jewelcraft jewellery.
Kigu of London
Kigu manufactured compacts for which it was famous for as well as a small range of vintage jewellery. They also produced enameled pill boxes, folding mirrors, combs, clocks and other handbag type accessories
The first powder compact was created by Josef Kiaschek in Hungary. Gustav Kiaschek, his son went on to start the company KI-GU in Budapest.
Gustav's three sons emigrated around the world. George arrived in London in 1939 and founded Kigu of London. The war stopped production as with most of the manufacturing companies in the UK. All the factories concentrated on production for the war effort. Paul his brother joined the company after World War 11 in 1947. After George died in 1977, his son David joined the company until the early eighties when the company was sold to another compact firm called A S Brown who produced the range of Mascot compacts. Later Laughton & Sons took both the Kigu and Mascot brands and amalgamated it with their own famous brand Stratton.
Jewellery produced by Kigu is well made and seems to have been produced from the fifties. They produced some gorgeous cuff bracelets, earrings and necklaces in the fifties. A range of simulated marcasite earrings and matching brooches called Marquetta produced in the 1950s. This vintage jewellery were rhodium plated or 22 ct gold plated. Some of the range were hand enameled in three alternative colours. The earrings were either clip on, screw or in French wire form. The clip earrings have a very distinctive clip finding not seen on any other earrings. Production continued into the eighties.
The mark used is Kigu
For some photographs of the vintage jewellery and the Marquetta range. Also extensive information with photographs on the Kigu compacts and other accessories visit their information website. Which was last updated in 2008.
King Henry William Birmingham/London silversmiths & jewellery maker Victorian to ? See Shiptons also. Mark on silver was H W K. Arts and Crafts include landscaped boxes
Lambournes Company founded in Birmingham UK.
All our Lambourne jewellery is mainly in the Vintage Mens Jewellery collection.
Mann Adrien - 1968 - 1992 ?approx. Manufactures and retail of upmarket imitation jewellery, London UK. When disolved in 1992/1993 Marcel Roland Mann b 1943, was the director. The company had the following companies also - The Ringleader LTD, Fashion jewellery supplies LTD, Amboise Promotions LTD, Adrien Mann (holdings) LTD, Adrien Mann (contracts) LTD, Paris London Manufacturers LTD, Adrien Mann wholesale LTD, Adrien Mann retail LTD. Unsigned and signed costume jewellery produced.
MASJ Crafted vintage jewellery from Edward and Maureen Ann Story-Jones in the Mid Wales county of Montgomery shire 1984 - present day. Silver Scenes range was started along with other gift ware in 1984. The items are silver plated pewter. Just becoming vintage with the 1980s and contemporary 1990s is usually signed and dated. Early pieces are signed AND dated - later post 2000s pieces appear not to be.
The company was taken over when the couple retired in 2005, and continues today by the new owners Phil Wilson and Bill Whitby . The company still sell jewellery and gift ware today.
A Hill and Company LTD first started producing jewellery based in Birmingham in 1946. Predominantly producing vintage costume jewellery but also a smaller range of sterling silver and semi precious gem stone jewellery.
In 2006 the company became Miracle Jewellery Ltd and is still in production today. In 1996 the firm celebrated its 50th jubilee.
Miracle vintage jewellery although most known for the faux multi coloured gemstone - Scottish and Celtic designs, have produced a wide range of historical inspired jewellery over the years.
From styles inspired from Africa & Chinese, Anglo Saxon, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Baroque, birthstone, Medieval & Gothic, Charles Rennie Macintosh, Roman, Commemorative, English, Welsh & Irish, nature & animal, heraldic, mosaic, Renaissance, Viking and including diamante, rhinestone, faux marcasite & pearls.
Most of Miracle are of faux stones with the exception of sterling pieces and those with semi precious stones that are marked "Miracle & gem" Also a small range of natural slate jewellery
Many different types from A Hill and Miracle Jewellery LTD have been produced including necklaces, bracelets, pendants, earrings (clip, screw & pierced styles), brooches, kilt pins, key rings, rings, scarf clips, fobs and rosaries.
Non jewellery pieces include tea, coffee, caddy spoons and paper knives.
The majority of jewellery is signed, with only a few exceptions and when to add a signature was difficult. Notable look a likes to Miracle were the company Jacobite and Exquisite seventies range of faux stone vintage costume jewellery. Miracle jewellery company in Birmingham has closed its doors and shut April 2013. It is now owned by the Cornwall company St Justin.
Other signed vintage jewellery associated with Miracle are:
SOL D OR Made by A Hill & CO LTD for Sol-var of Ireland.
MIZPAHThe vintage jewellery is signed Mizpah and have a double heart pierced with an arrow. Not to confuse with earlier Mizpah pieces from other companies. These were produced by Quarrier Ward and the Ward Brothers. The designs were taken over by the Miracle Jewellery LTD along with the designs from W. Johnson & sons.
The Ward Brothers produced sterling silver jewellery from the nineteenth century and were originally based in Edinburgh. Moving to Birmingham to increase production, this company produced Scottish designs with brilliant faceted stones. Marked with the Ward Brothers Birmingham or Edinburgh assay hall mark or if under 7 grams in weight they are marked "sterling/silver and WBs"
The Ward Brother's designs were acquired by Miracle and today are still produce
For information on collecting Miracle's vintage jewellery join the excellent forum on Yahoo run by Carole Morris. For Miracle Jewellery Ltd visit their website for Miracle being produced today
Vintage jewellery by Miracle, SOL D'OR, Mizpah and the Ward Brothers is very collectible.
We have our Miracle Jewellery for sale here.
Mirella See Exquisite for the manufacturer. Rare range of jewellery as Mirella was predominantly little nick nacs such as ring holders and trinket boxes and mirrors. The name was from an employee of W A P Watson company. 1950s - 1970s
Any Mirella items will be in the Exquisite collection.
Mott, Thomas L 1875 - (at least 1970s) Birmingham company in the Jewellery Quarter. Produced miniature works of art in portraits, floral and places. Enamel travel map charms for tourist collection and most famous for his "butterfly wings" designs in the 1920s. Using real butterfly wings. Signed TLM or TM. Produced brooches, rings, pendants, charm bracelets and charms. As well as other souvenirs. Vintage costume jewellery and silver vintage jewellery is now very highly sought. See Shiptons also
Shiptons Family company based in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham. From Victorian to today. Patented the reverse carved butterfly wing jewellery in 1923. Most found are 18th century dressed men and women and the Dutch boy fishing. Rarer jewellery includes the fairies, Elves and Art Deco scenes. Scenes of England including the sea views and inland water ways. Signed by Dorothy Buckley, Daisy Smith and ?
Thomas L Mott and Henry W King were companies Shiptons purchased their butterfly wings pieces for their shops in coastal resorts including Hastings.
For our Sphinx collection have a look here.
Stratton UK company founded in Birmingham,
All Stratton items are mainly in our Vintage Mens Jewellery collection.
Tudor Mint - Myths and Magic Range by WAP Watson see Exquiste and WAP Watson.
Vendome - See Coro for information. Vendome jewellery
W A P Watson
See Exquisite for further details as this was the company that produced the Exquisite and Mirella range also. W A P Watson can be seen on the Gothic Tudor Mint range of brooches and key rings. Often in pewter and with a crystal stone (real and faux) as with the Tudor Mint range of Dungeons and Dragon series. Signed on the reverse in a circular plaque. Exquisite Jewellery.
UK Retail Empires
Not forgetting the UK retail empires that for many years have produced jewellery under their own label. All designer jewellery.
Marks & Spencer
Jewellery for the future?
One to watch, designers that are producing jewellery here in the UK. Be it from home or from a large manufacturing outlets here in the UK.
Gorgeous handmade beaded designer jewellery. Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, tiaras and headbands. Mens jewellery, bookmarks and other great gifts
You are welcome to use the above information but please would you include a link back to this website or use our name Jewels and Finery UK.
This information will be revisited and added as we discover more information. If you have any to share - please contact us, we would love to hear from you.