This ornate C brooch is by the American company Réja.  It is almost certainly designed by Solomon Finkelstein who set up business in New York in 1932.  It wasn’t until 1939 that Solomon decided to manufacture jewellery for the retail trade and established Déja Costume Jewelry, Inc.  But in October 1940 he was taken to the Supreme Court by a rival firm who said the name of his firm was too similar to theirs – Du Jay, Inc.  So in January 1941 Réja was born.  It is said Solomon, ever the practical businessman, chose the name Réja because it could be easily over stamped on all the stock the company already had with the Déja stamp and sold under the new company name rather than be discarded.

My Réja broch is made of Sterling silver overlaid with gold plate, it was made between 1941 and 1947.  The quality of manufacture of the brooch is something you do not see today on costume jewellery.  Each of the paste stones are claw set and the pin has been placed correctly so the piece is balanced, it neither tips nor wobbles. You find this level of craftsmanship in one-off designer pieces but not in most modern day costume jewellery which is mass produced in the Far East. Yes they are cheap and often cheerful but will they stand the test of time I wonder?  My Réja brooch is over 70 years old, some experts dismiss costume jewellery but long may my collection grow.