Kramer Jewelry Creations
Kramer Jewelry Creations (Est. 1943 – 1980) Established in New York City as a family business in the middle of the Second World War by designer Louis Kramer. It was intended to exploit the fast-growing costume jewelry market. Louis was quickly joined in the company by his brothers Morris and Henry.
Of the pieces created during the company’s first ten years in business, many were Louis’ own designs and were some of the company’s most exuberant pieces and sets. With his brothers’ assistance, Kramer also managed the production line. However, Louis remained the ultimate arbiter of the design and integrity of the final product.
Many creations were artistically intricate and made from gilt metal, rhinestones, glass, and enamel. The jewelry features high-quality Austrian rhinestones. In the early 1950s, Kramer produced jewelry for Christian Dior. Marked Kramer or Kramer of New York that is very collectible, especially the more extravagant pieces and sets.
The company’s output included low to high quality pieces using diamanté, paved clear and colored rhinestones, simulated pearls, plus lapis, jade, ruby, and sapphire stones.
Kramer designs favored flowers with an organic-look. The floral designs had colored enamel or gilt petals and leaves. Some flower brooches had rhinestones set in “trembling” centers. Kramer also made pieces that dripped with rhinestones in vibrant colors like blue, red, and topaz. Designs were often geometric patterns and animal figures.
Christian Dior introduced his exaggerated, feminine “New Look” in 1947 and, because he was not shy about incorporating showy, costume-jewelry into this design, Kramer was tapped to produce the costume jewelry for Dior during the 1950’s and 60’s. These pieces are marked “Christian Dior by Kramer,” “Dior by Kramer,” or “Kramer for Dior.”
Kramer’s ornate Dior pieces with their cascading Swarovski aurora borealis rhinestones, petal-shaped pastes, and baroque faux pearls, confirm the company’s obsession with craftsmanship, organic, romantic design and the desire to achieve a level of high elegance and sophistication.
In the 1950’s, the company also produced the “Golden Look” using gold plated metal. In the 60’s, they launched the “Diamond Look” using silver plating. These designs, too, were always innovative and well crafted.
Over its history, Kramer Jewelry used multiple marks. Since all aspects of the business took place in New York, most of the higher priced pieces are usually marked “Kramer,” “Kramer N.Y.,” or “Kramer of New York.” The lower quality pieces often carried only a tag.
The company outsourced much of its later manufacture to companies like DeLizza and Elster. Another notable line that appeared during Kramer’s four decade history is the rare “Amourelle” from 1963 created by Miriam Haskell designer, Frank Hess.
Despite the profitable collaboration with Dior, it did not prevent Kramer from closing its doors in the late 1970s. Today, complete sets, especially those produced for Dior, are considered the most collectible of Kramer’s output.