Vintage Costume Jewelry ~ Junkyard Jeweler
Designer, Rhinestone, and Collectible Jewelry
Juliana (and D&E) Facts
Juliana - One of the sweet mysteries of the collectible costume jewelry world has been the discovery, by many, of an abundance of vibrant colored rhinestone jewelry that has always been unsigned.
Cheryl Killmer, a member of VFCJ and Jewelcollect has been the leading collector of this type of jewelry for many years. According to the story in the VFCJ Spring 2003 issue, Cheryl came across the name "Juliana" on an auction on eBay which put her in contact with Mr. Frank De Lizza. Frank was the owner of DeLizza & Elster, a company that was started by his father William DeLizza and Harold Elster. William DeLizza was the main designer of the factory line jewelry from 1947.. Harold Elster died in 1963.
Cheryl's collection had long been dubbed by all as "Juliana" from the time she discovered the paper hang tags that were found on similar pieces of jewelry. The word 'Juliana' spread like wildfire in these groups, and a new highly collectible form of costume jewelry was born. In fact, the collectible trend was hot and fiercely competitive before Cheryl had even made contact with Mr. De Lizza. As if by magic, the term Juliana was on everyone's lips.
As time went by, dealers and collectors alike began seeing some phenomenal listings on eBay, with "Juliana-style" as one of the 'keywords' in the titles. It went from bad to worse as everything from Schiaparelli to Miriam Haskell was found under the title "JULIANA". Keyword spamming was at its height. Every glitzy piece of flotsam was being labeled Juliana or Juliana-Style. Sometimes the items being labeled as Juliana were in reality more valuable than Juliana itself.
It was time for reputable dealers to find out just "what is" Juliana, and many turned to Cheryl for advice. Five-linked bracelets, sparkling navettes, rhinestones on clasp attachment rings, no rhinestones on clasp attachment rings, open-backed settings, dangles of crystals and pearls, "Easter egg cabochon stones", colorful cameos, and layers upon layers of rhinestone settings were seen. Five links and roller band construction, safety chains, 2 part pin backs, 3 part pin backs, rivets used sparingly, AB stones used profusely, art glass, molded flowered stones, painted cabs - the list goes on, depending upon the piece.
As far as identifying "Juliana", most would just nod in agreement, you must experience this jewelry to "know it". With not much more to base our knowledge on than an interview with Frank De Lizza in the VFCJ Newsletter and with Cheryl's expertise based in her years of collecting the one style which she and others called Juliana, there still appeared to be something "missing" and yet the information was right under our noses.
My most valuable Juliana,
article by Frank DeLizza
While I did not collect Juliana, I had these delightful morsels of colorful stone jewelry and sold it as fast as it would come in. Full parures could be bought and sold before I even got them into the shop. I found it was the easiest vintage jewelry to broker. I began receiving calls from local customers offering to buy "sight unseen" anything I could get. Eventually, I came across some hang tagged items. Each and everyone of the hang tagged pieces were not of the same caliber as the "Juliana" that Cheryl collected or that customers wanted. I had always assumed that the hang tags sort of attached themselves to this jewelry accidentally, as hang tags often do.
The week of Thanksgiving of 2003, I had the good fortune to meet with Mr. and Mrs. De Lizza here in my home. They are a lovely couple and I enjoyed spending the afternoon with them. I was immediately impressed with the rhinestone jewelry of his new line, Jewelry by DeLizza... which are all made from D&E designs, circa 1950s. Easily recognizable in this line are some Eisenberg Ice, and there is a cluster set that is very similar to what has been called "Juliana" in recent times but this was a 1950s design. I was intrigued, for wasn't JULIANA a product of the 60s?
I was even more intrigued when Frank began inspecting inventory items in my display cases that he identified as either Juliana specifically or by D&E , (De Lizza and Elster), which was the name of the company that manufactured names, as quoted from the VFCJ newsletter, like: "Accessocraft, Albert Weiss, Alexis Kirk, Ann Hand, Adrienne Vittadini, Banana Republic, Ballet Jewels, Alice Caviness, Ciro, Celebrity, Capri, Carol Duplaise, House of Ivana, Hobe', House of Schrager, Home Shopping Club, Hattie Carnegie, Jacobson's Department Stores, Kenneth J. Lane, Kramer, Karu, Mimi Di N, 1928, Park Lane, Pakula, Talbot's, Ann Taylor, Victoria's Secret, Lillian Vernon, Walt Disney World, YSL". I was surprised to hear that D&E also manufactured for Sarah Coventry. This is an example of a SC D&E made brooch. Frank pulled out a few items that, while unmarked, did not look like anything "Juliana-ish" to me.. and yet some of the items I thought were definitely Juliana, he said were not. He said that most of this glitzy stuff was not Juliana. To quote, he said, "Everyone was making this. There were hundreds of manufacturers doing the same thing at the same time. If a wholesaler needed to fill an order fast, they'd go to the local manufacturers."
Frank was appreciative of all the attention that was being paid to his DeLizza and Elster designs. He is quoted in VFCJ as saying, in regards to Cheryl's collection, "The fact that she's named it all Juliana makes no difference to me." Later, Frank emailed a colleague of mine and said that "90% of what is being listed on the Internet is not Juliana". Frank has a book coming out that will indeed focus on D&E and the wonderful productions that came out of his factory.
From the variety of items he identified, being either Juliana or D&E, I felt I was sensing some sort of patterns. Something that was even more obvious than five-linked bracelets or showy AB marquise stones. In every example of what I termed "surprise" Juliana, there were elements that I've seen in other lines that Frank's company made. Regardless of the sparkling "Juliana-style" brooches I had in inventory at the time of his visit, most of the items dubbed Juliana by Frank were "low end" and not what I considered to be of the quality or same style as the beauteous "Juliana" that Cheryl collected.
Perhaps it is not so acceptable to call something JULIANA when .. the fact is, it's not. With what I learned from Frank and what I had observed, I felt that it was easier and more prudent to recognize "D&E made jewelry" than what people were calling "JULIANA". This led to some rather heated debates in Juliana Collector circles.. This of course would be expected since so many invested so heavily in what we referred to as the "J" stuff. It has, as of this writing, been established that Mr. De Lizza prefers his D&E jewelry to be called D&E.
Thank you to the many who offered their photos to me. Thank you also to Mr. DeLizza who has been seemingly tireless to answer all of our questions. I hope the information you find here proves useful whether you collect or sell vintage costume jewelry. Please view important updates below as well as the Gallery of Hang Tagged Juliana jewelry, which I seek additions for our education:
JEWELRY BY DELIZZA - New Rhinestone Jewelry from Vintage Designs by D&E