Dan Kasoff began making jewellery in New York just after WWII ended.  In the beginning Dan Kasoff Inc manufactured pieces which were supplied to the wholesale trade.  It was not until 1950 that the company began marking its pieces with the name Florenza and marketing in their own right.  The name Florenza does not come from the famous Italian city as some people have speculated.  Florenza is derived from Florence, Dan’s mother’s name.  Florenza jewellery was strongly influenced by the Victorian style with an emphasis on gold plating.  The company employed traditional craftsmen who used 24kt gold or gold alloys and patented the colours, for example, Florenza Gold, French Gold and French Rose. As well as producing jewellery under their own brand name, Florenza the company also made pieces for Coro, Weiss, Hattie Carnegie.  As well as jewellery the company made decorative accessories for cosmetic firms like Revlon and Estee Lauder.  Larry Kasoff took over from his father and ran the business until 1981 when he was seriously injured in a car accident and the company was forced to close.

Circuses have not been around as long as you might imagine.  Their origin is attributed to Philip Astley a 26-year-old English cavalry sergeant-major.  He was an accomplished horseman and in 1768 began performing exhibitions of tricks on horseback with his wife Patty Jones on open ground near the river Thames.  By 1770 he had hired acrobats, a tightrope walker and a clown to perform with him in the show.

Philip Astley

Over time seats, a stage and roof were added to the show ring.  Philip and Patty’s son John began performing in 1782 aged 12 and took over the management in 1788.  Philip died in 1814 at the age of 72, but his Royal Amphitheatre continued and was well known throughout the 19th century, and is mentioned by Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.  It was closed in 1893 and demolished the following year.  Today the garden of St Thomas’s Hospital, London occupies the site.

Philip Astley’s Amphitheatre in London circa 1808.

As a child I would be taken to the circus once a year.  There were many exciting acts on show, but one of my favourites was the plate spinner.  I was entranced to see if he could manage to keep all those plates spinning.  He always did!