INDIANAPOLIS – A single-owner lifetime collection of Eisenberg Originals – mostly dazzling costume jewelry pieces but also clothing, handbags, perfumes, compacts, cosmetics, belts and original advertisements, all from company’s heyday from the 1920s to the 1950s – will be sold in a live and online auction Saturday, Sept. 12 by Ripley Auctions. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
The auction will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern time in Ripley Auctions’ gallery located at 2764 East 55th Place in Indianapolis.
Sharon Schwartz was a seasoned antique dealer and collector but had never even heard of Eisenberg when she entered an antique shop in the late 1980s to browse and there spotted a gorgeous rhinestone piece. “On the back it said, ‘Eisenberg Originals,’” she said. “I fell in love and started collecting. I tried to learn more about Eisenberg but there was very little out there.”
Between then and now, Schwartz had accumulated so many Eisenberg Originals – around 500 items in all – and acquired so much knowledge about the company that she wrote a book, titled Eisenberg Originals, The Golden Years of Fashion, Jewelry and Fragrance, 1920s-1950s. The book was co-authored by Laura Sutton, a friend and collector. It’s available for sale on Amazon.
“The auction will be organized in the order of the book,” said Kristen Hein of Ripley Auctions. “We will literally start with page 1 and go through the last page of her book, offering lots in the order they are presented in her book. We are also advertising her book and sending links to Amazon with our promotions, thinking buyers will want to have it to help with their research.”
As chronicled in the book, Jonas Eisenberg immigrated from Austria to the United States in the late 1800s and worked in the fashion industry for 30 years before founding a fine dress company with his brother, Julius, in 1914. The partnership dissolved within five years, after which Jonas moved to Chicago and launched Eisenberg & Sons with sons Harold and Sam, both in their 20s.
At first, Eisenberg & Sons was solely a dress manufacturer. The company label, Eisenberg & Sons Originals, was defined by luxurious designs that showcased impeccable taste. The company stepped into the world of jewelry when rhinestone dress accents evolved as individual jewelry pieces that were sewn onto the dress to finish the look. Jewelry became a separate line by 1935.
“Eisenberg used only the finest craftsmen, designers and available materials that were workable for a vintage piece of jewelry,” Sharon Schwartz said. “For instance, they used Austrian Swarovski crystals, which were much heavier than other crystals. It’s what helped give Eisenberg jewelry its shimmer and brilliance.”
That commitment to excellence spilled over to the company’s other lines, like fragrances, belts, scarves and what Schwartz called “ladies’ things,” all of which are in her collection, to be offered in its entirety on Sept. 12. “I’d love to say my children are interested in my Eisenberg Originals, but sadly they aren’t,” she said. “So it’s time to share them with the world.”
Strong candidates for top lot of the auction include a sterling vermeil mermaid brooch (above) holding strands of aquamarine crystals, with aquamarine crystal torso and red enamel lips (est. $1,200-$1,800); and designer Ruth Kamke’s sterling vermeil orchid flower with bright citrine stones bezel and pave clear accents and green enamel, a personal favorite of hers (est. $800-$1,000).
Brooches from the mid-1940s expected to do well include a figural prancing zebra brooch with carved body, green enamel stripes, black enamel accents and clear rhinestones along the belly (est. $600-$800); and a sterling vermeil flowers and vase brooch with one ¼-inch citrine crystal that forms the vase and topaz rhinestone flowers set with clear pave rhinestones (est. $600-$700).
Pin clips carrying high estimates include an early1940s huge flower bouquet with copper patina over pot metal, clear orange emerald-cut stones, bezel set pink crystals and green enamel, pave (est. $700-$800); and a sterling vermeil figural cleaning woman with bucket and brush figural pin clip with carved details, nicely accented with green enamel and rhinestones (est. $500-$700).
In the clothing category, a 1930s-era burgundy silk velvet long dress labeled with the earlies Eisenberg & Sons original label design is expected to change hands for $500-$600; and a 1940s black crepe cocktail dress with front draping, asymmetrical keyhole neckline with elaborate, rust-colored beading, large sunburst and a green stone center should hammer for $200-$300.
An Eisenberg Original figural lady fragrance bottle with frosted glass, unmarked, 3 ½ inches by 2 ¼ inches, is estimated to reach $450-550; while a 1940s lipstick mirror in the shape of lips, surrounded by faceted ruby crystals, with the original branded pouch, should garner $150-$250.
A festive and colorful mid-1940s Celebration scarf with three harlequins in green, orange, pink and cream, with a black and orange scrolling border, signed RWB, 38 inches by 36 inches, has an estimate of $200-$400. Returning to jewelry, a large 1940s fur clip with silver pot metal and small floral vignettes formed by massive pink and aqua crystal stones, should make $250-$350.
A 1942 fish pin clip with gold plate over pot metal body, having top and tail fins made from ruby marquise crystals outlined with clear bezel set stones, is estimated to realize $350-$450; while a circa 1943-1944 sterling vermeil bird-on-branch pin with enameled feathers and stem to go with pave set rhinestones, should bring $300-$400.
A sterling vermeil question mark spray pin clip with huge faceted jewel tone crystals and rows of rhinestones, from the 1940s, is expected to finish at $200-$400; and an abstract triangular pin clip in silver pot metal from the 1940s, with large, faceted pear, marquise, round and oval crystals and rows of clear pave, should sell for $150-$250.
For details contact Ripley Auctions at 317-251-5635 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/