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