Coro aka Corocraft/Francois/Vendome
Coro aka Corocraft/Francois/Vendome (Est. 1901 – 1998) In 1901, Emanuel Cohn and partner, Carl Rosenberger opened a modest New York City store selling jewelry and personal accessories. Despite the fact that neither man was a jewelry designer, the shop went on to become the world’s largest manufacturer of costume jewelry. The name Coro derived from the first two letters of each partner’s last name.
By 1911, the company had established a factory in Providence, Rhode Island. Over the course of its history, it also operated offices and/or plants in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Toronto, England and Mexico.
The company produced multiple designs and an extraordinary amount of jewelry at a wide range of prices. Some pins sold in five-and-ten cent stores for as low as 50 cents. Others found in specialty stores sold for as much as $100. Some rhinestone studded Coro jewelry is on par with the best costume jewelry made by companies with more familiar names. By the mid1920s, Coro was the largest manufacturer of costume jewelry.
Pieces designed from the 1930s to the 1950s include duettes and figurals with a clear Lucite central stone known as the “jelly belly.” Also highly prized are enameled tremblers, whimsical designs, and Mexican sterling pieces.
Coro used many different marks: Coro (1919), Coro craft (1937), Corocraft (ca.1946), “Francois” (marketed to high-end wealthy clients until World War II) also Pegasus, Coro Elegant and Coro Supreme on pearl jewelry, Corograms on initial jewelry, Corolite, Coro Radiance, Corochrome, Coro-Klad, Coro Magic, and Coro Originals.
More than 70 additional trademarks were used including Aristocrat and Valiant on pearls, Quick-Trik and Round the Clock on earrings, Dreamboat on lockets, Andree on accessories, and Cellini, Jewelcraft, Colorama, Debutante, Duette, Maharani, Paragon, Raven, Splendor and Vendome (1944) Coro’s highest line of costume jewelry.
Coro manufactured most of their own jewelry but, when necessary, had other companies manufacture it. Hedison manufactured some jewelry for Coro. Catamore manufactured all Coro’s “precious metal” jewelry until around 1970 when Coro started making its own. Coro also had a relationship with the Juliana line made for Coro by D & E (DeLizza & Elster.)
In retrospect, it seems surprising to discover that one of the original partners, Emanuel Cohn, died in 1910, early in the company’s history. However, the name remained Cohn & Rosenberger until 1943 when the company adopted the name “Coro.” Carl Rosenberger died in 1957. His son Gerald, succeeded him until his death in 1967.
In 1969, the Rosenberger family sold its majority interest in Coro stock to Richton International Corporation who acquired the remaining stock in 1970. By 1979 all Coro companies, except the Canadian company, were bankrupt. The remaining Coro companies were then sold to a South American firm in 1992 that also went bankrupt.
Coro ceased production in America in 1979. Coro Inc. ended its Canadian operation around 1998.