Coro is one of the best-known Costume jewelry manufacturers of the twentieth century. Founded in New York City in 1901, as an accessories boutique named ‘Cohn and Rosenberger’, Coro initially outsourced much of its stock from independent designers. In 1929, it opened a large factory in Providence, Rhode Island and began producing its own wares. In the following years, under the respective design and sales direction of Adolph Katz and Royal Marcher, the company expanded rapidly.
By the mid-1930s, Coro had retail stores in most American cities and manufacturing plants in Great Britain and Canada. It was now well on the way to becoming the largest costume jewelry manufacturer in the world, and, in 1943, the company was incorporated as ‘Coro, Inc’.
Coro’s success is due in great part to its team of highly talented designers, like Katz and Albert Weiss. However, underpinning it all was the sheer volume and diversity of its output, which catered to most income brackets and covered nearly all fashionable styles.
Pieces marked “Coro” are, for the most part, good quality though they were originally targeted at the middle and lower sections of the market. The style varies from patriotic motifs, to floral and foliate, to figural. Simple pieces of this type can be found for as little as £10. However, double-pin ‘Coro Duettes’ are much sought after and can be worth as much as £500.
Coro also introduced several upmarket brands, which were equally diverse in style, but made in more expensive materials such as Sterling silver and European crystal rhinestones. The “Coro Craft” (later “Corocraft”) mark was launched in 1937, whilst the “Vendome” line was introduced in 1944, before becoming a subsidiary company in 1953.
Designed to be striking and affordable, costume jewelry is one of the most rewarding areas of collecting. Good quality, interesting pieces can be picked up remarkably cheaply, but wearing one to a party is bound to get you noticed.
Images courtesy of Cristobal and a private collection.