Vendome (Est. 1944 – 1979) It is the rare brand that breaks out of its original manufacturer to become a recognized and highly desirable name on its own. For Vendome, that’s exactly what happened.
Vendome was the more expensive Coro jewelry line. Coro began using this brand name as early as 1944 for imitation pearl jewelry and charm bracelets with pendants.
Emanuel Cohn (1859-1911) and Carl Rosenberger (1872-1957) founded the firm of Cohn and Rosenberger in 1903 as an accessories boutique in New York City. The name ‘Coro’ derived from the first two letters or each partner’s last name.
The company became the largest costume jewelry manufacturer in the United States. By the mid-1930s, Coro jewelry was sold in retail stores in most U.S. cities. In 1943, the partnership incorporated as Coro, Inc.
The Richton Company purchased Coro in 1957. In 1979, production ceased except for the Canadian operations which continued until the mid-1990s.
During its heyday, Coro’s mainstay products consisted of cast jewelry although stampings were also used. Coro marketed many lines of jewelry. There were, in fact, nearly two hundred. Names were invented for the different lines depending on the kind of store that would sell them. Some stores would sell or carry one or several lines, but not others.
For example, a store that sold Coro-marked jewelry was not allowed to carry Vendome marked jewelry. Vendome was Coro’s superior, more costly line. A better store would carry Vendome but would not want Coro marked jewelry because, by the early 1950s, the latter now represented a cheaper line.
The later Coro lines from the 1950s with the Coro mark were sold only in general department stores. Better specialty stores such Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Dillard’s, Bloomingdale’s, Gum’s, and other fine stores did not carry plain Coro. Instead, they sold Vendome, Corocraft, and Coro Sterling Craft. Those lines were pricier and appealed to the specialty store customer.
The Vendome line which Coro began to actively market in the 1950’s did not become popular until the early 1960’s primarily because of the beautiful designs introduced by Helen Marion, Vendome’s principal designer. Vendome replaced Corocraft which, until then, had been the higher quality jewelry line made by Coro.
Vendome jewelry used the best imported rhinestones and faceted crystal beads. The clarity and brilliance of the stones and top quality metalwork employed in artistic, expressive, and eye-catching designs were among the factors that produced Vendome’s success. .These pieces were made of more expensive materials such as sterling silver, vermeil, and European crystals.
In the late 1960s and into the 1970s, new fashion trends emerged that incorporated beads into designs. Although Coro jewelry was still well represented in stores and purchased by many women, the company was heavily invested in stampings, castings, rhinestones and accompanying components and, consequently, not ready for a switch to beads. This precipitated the end of Coro and its lines.
Many Coro pieces, including Vendome, are avidly collected. Look for the duettes, sterling pieces, and many intricate older pieces especially those marked Corocraft (some with a winged horse logo) and Coro Silver Made in Mexico. William Spratling, Hector Aguilar and other silversmiths of Taxco, Mexico, made many piece for Coro’s line of Mexican silver (and gold-plated silver) in the 1940’s.
Vendome jewelry is highly collectible and its prices reflect that.