Accessocraft Design Archive: A Vintage New York City Fashion Jeweler

Vintage Accessocraft piece, from an archive boxed away for over 30 years. Prototype without signature, but with classic Accessocraft antiqued metal, chain and finish.

Vintage Accessocraft piece, from an archive which was boxed away for over 30 years. Prototype is without signature, but with classic Accessocraft antiqued metal, chain and finish.

Accessocraft, while a somewhat lesser known brand in terms of today’s global vintage market, was during it’s heyday producing jewelry for film, television and with major designers such as; Pauline Trigere and Anne Klein.  The New York City company produced spectacular designs worn by many women, that have influenced other designers over the years, as well.  The company was founded around 1930, by Edgar Rodelheimer and Theodore Steinman, but ceased operations in 1998.  Designers for the company are listed by Julia Carroll in her text Costume Jewelry 202 as: Theodore Steinman, Philippe Israel, Edgar Rodelheimer, Robert Appleby, Albert Freeman. However; I also own a Rhino brooch with an original Bill DeSeta for Accessocraft paper tag, pictured in the visual archive below.  This highlights the probability that other designer may have worked with the brand, but the paper tags were lost. The company’s popularity really began to escalate with their WWII relief themed pieces in the 1940s.

Great example of Accessocraft's 1940s work that put them on the map!

Great example of Accessocraft’s 1940s work that put them on the map!

 

Yet eventually, it became their large flashy 1960s-70s gothic, byzantine and relic influenced designs that they were most appreciated for in the long term. Signature styles in the brand’s history included the use of the names: Feathergold, Plastigold and Accessocraft.

1951 Ad, features a larger antique inspired necklace, showing their progression from daintier pieces of the 1940s to antique and artifact inspired styles.

1951 Ad, features a larger antique inspired necklace, showing their progression from daintier pieces of the 1940s to antique and artifact inspired styles.

1953 Ad by Accessocraft.

1953 Ad by Accessocraft.

Circa 1952 Accessocraft charm bracelet ad. They did a variety of these during this period.

Circa 1952 Accessocraft charm bracelet ad. They did a variety of these during this period.

Hannan Saleh image of a Sarara Couture Accessocraft Dragon necklace. A great example of one of the various precious stones used.

Hannan Saleh image of a Sarara Couture Accessocraft Dragon necklace. A great example of one of the various precious stones used.

In the collector’s market, the pieces do hold their value, but are somewhat undervalued at the same time -ranging in prices from 50-700 dollars. Most pieces fall into the 40-300 dollar range today on the resale market, with the larger dragon and Byzantine styles commanding a bit more. The higher end designs being larger and rarer are sought after, but even those prices fluctuate depending on the market. The materials they used ranged from gemstones to glass or lucite, set in quality antiqued metal finishes. I do expect that the brand will become more valued in the future.

As a resident of the New York tristate area, I have found that the history of the company is often right at your fingertips, if you happen to be in the right place at the right time… Besides the Bill DeSeta example, I have had two very informative archival encounters locally. One being a box of jewelry components signed and unsigned-finished and unfinished. The person who had the collection had purchased them from a man in his 90s in the late 1970s- early 1980s. They could not remember his name, but had stored the collection until 2014 in it’s entirety.  I was able to purchase some examples and take images of rarer pieces. In incomplete jewelry was also found in the box, and it included interesting body jewelry style pieces as well as jewelry style suspenders. Also, present were Indian and Nepal jewelry, which helped inspire their aesthetic and specific pieces that did go into production. See the foo dog necklace example and inspiration piece below. This newly found archive affords us a look into the design history and process. Fish bone necklaces in the collection, in a very large size where examples that I had not run across before.

THE BOX- FORMER ACCESSOCRAFT AFFILIATE’S COLLECTION/ARCHIVE

Unique oversized fish scale necklaces found in the Accessocraft collection/box of the former employee. I had not seen these examples before so I am not sure how many were put into actual production.

Unique oversized fish scale necklaces found in the Accessocraft collection/box of the former employee. I had not seen these examples before so I am not sure how many were put into actual production.

Finished designs very typical of Accessocraft's style. From the box.

Finished designs very typical of Accessocraft’s style. From the box.

Finished examples of Accessocraft designs found in the box.

Finished examples of Accessocraft designs found in the box.

In process signed Accessocraft belt, not completed. From the box saved by an old Accessocraft employee.

In process signed Accessocraft belt, not completed. From the box saved by an old Accessocraft employee.

Closeup detail of the Accessocraft "Foo Dog" necklace.

Closeup detail of the Accessocraft “Foo Dog” necklace.

1970s Foo Dog pendant made by a company in Nepal. Found in the old Accessocraft employee's box. Possible inspiration for the Accessocraft "Foo Dog" necklace as seen here.

1970s Foo Dog pendant made by a company in Nepal. Found in the old Accessocraft employee’s box. Possible inspiration for the Accessocraft “Foo Dog” necklace as seen here.

Back of the signed inspiration piece from the Accessocraft archive box found.

Back of the signed inspiration piece from the Accessocraft archive box found.

Accessocraft cuff, antique finish, similar style to their crosses and Byzantine revival pieces. As this was in the production and samples box it is one of the in progress unsigned pieces.

Accessocraft cuff, antique finish, similar style to their crosses and Byzantine revival pieces. As this was in the production and samples box it is one of the in progress unsigned pieces.

Acccessocraft prototype or design experiment, unsigned. Features elements with common Accessocraft construction traits.

Acccessocraft prototype or design experiment, unsigned. Features elements with common Accessocraft construction traits.

However, the sample or in process finds proved interesting in terms of my second encounter,  Accessocraft pieces from a set designer’s collection. Some elements found match or coincide with those found in the Accessocraft employee’s box. The set designer used Accessocraft jewelry in the 60s-70s on his television and film sets when needed, as I understand it. Some known brand themes and componets were found in multiples, as well as unique examples…made possibly just for his use- see those photographs below. There were also pieces with Accessocraft tags and made in France tags still attached. This gives us insight into a possible French maker that may have worked with the company to produce its pieces in the 1960s.

SET DESIGNER’S ARCHIVE CIRCA 1960S-70S

Accessocraft Byzantine example

One of my favorite Byzantine examples from his collection, possibly custom or made for his use by the company. Signed. As with some examples in the article archive here, they are for sale in the shop.

Accessocraft Key

Key Necklace by Accessocraft from the set designer’s archive.

Byzantine style Accessocraft cross form his collection.

Byzantine style Accessocraft cross form his collection.

Goddess Necklace from his archive.

Goddess Necklace from his archive.

Accessocraft Medieval Necklace

Large unique Ancient Cross style Accessocraft necklace from his collection.

Vintage Accessocraft Bird Accessocraft Snake Necklace

Accessocraft signature example, there were circular plaques attached near clasps, rectangular plaques on the backs....

Accessocraft signature example, there were circular plaques attached near clasps, rectangular plaques on the backs….

70s Accessocraft Necklace

Accessocraft "Yoga" Fish.

Accessocraft “Yoga” Fish.

As I continue to collect these pieces, I will add examples to the archive. Please feel free to send interesting jewelry photographs or vintage Accessocraft ads/editorials to me as I may include them here.

VISUAL DESIGN ARCHIVE VIA MY PERSONAL COLLECTION AND SHOP ARCHIVE:

Burst Necklace, signed.

Burst Necklace, signed.

60s Accessocraft

Shary Conella image. Accessocraft Mod Necklace. In the shop collection.

Silver variation of their well known oversized Byzantine necklace.

Silver variation of their well known oversized Byzantine necklace.

Accessocraft Egyptian Revival example. This was a theme they used often and the Egyptian theme reappears throughout the 1970s.

Accessocraft Egyptian Revival example. This was a theme they used often it reappears throughout the 1970s.

Accessocraft by Bill DeSeta example. The paper tag was the only evidence that the design was his.... The back is only signed Accessocraft.

Accessocraft by Bill DeSeta example. The paper tag was the only evidence that the design was his…. The back is only signed Accessocraft.

Anne Klein for Accessocraft.

Anne Klein for Accessocraft necklace. Accessocraft earlier on had a contract with AK to produce her jewelry. More coming on the relationship between the two.

Accessocraft Ethnic Necklace Accessocraft Byzantine necklace Vintage Crystal Accessocraft Necklace Accessocraft Dragon necklace 1970s Accessocraft runway necklace Accessocraft Dragon Necklace

Golden Shield, signed.

Golden Shield, signed.

Accessocraft Egyptian Revival Necklace, signed.

Accessocraft Egyptian Revival Necklace, signed.

Various examples from my collection.

Various examples from my collection. The golden tassel pendant is almost identical to a piece by Pauline Rader. It may be that they also produced her pieces at some point.

Accessocraft Snake Belt, they made various belt styles.

Accessocraft Snake Belt, they made various belt styles.

The golden necklace to the left is an example of a theme that they did in pins, belts and other necklaces. The silver Byzantine style necklace is the silver version of the popular large golden example seen above.

The golden necklace to the left is an example of a theme that they did in pins, belts, earrings and other necklaces. The silver Byzantine style necklace is the silver version of the popular large golden example seen above.

 

 

 

*Article idea, content and image rights reserved. Research and analysis done by Sara, Sarara Couture.