These two brooches depict a pair of squirrels. A gentleman in a top hat, possibly holding a baton or scroll, why I’m not sure, and a lady wearing a hat and holding a bunch of flowers, which makes far more sense, were manufactured by Coro. They are known as ‘jelly belly pins’ because their middles are made of a single cabochon stone. Combining enamelling with cabochons was a typical technique of both the period (1940s) and the Coro company.
The original name of the company was Cohn & Rosenberger but in 1943 it was changed to Coro, a combination of the two founders. Cohn and Rosenberger neither designed nor manufactured the jewellery they sold. Their expertise was sales and marketing. The company began in 1901 in New York and continued until 1979.
This pair of squirrels was designed by Gene Verrecchio (later known as Gene Verri), his real surname was Verrecchia and his parents emigrated to the USA from Italy in 1904. His father was a goldsmith. In 1925 Gene enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design and in 1933 was hired by Cohn and Rosenberger as a designer and remained there till 1948 when he set up his own company Craftsman (eventually becoming Gem-Craft Corporation) with his twin brother.
These two adorable squirrel brooches can be dated exactly to 1941 as they are featured in a well-known source book ‘American Costume Jewelry Art & Industry, 1935-1950’ by Carla Ginelli Brunialti & Roberto Brunialti.