This is very much a ‘statement’ piece, measuring  8cm by 10cm.  As well as being a brooch it also has a hook on the back so it can be worn as a pendent.

This brooch is by Panetta, an American costume jewellery firm, prominent between 1945 and the late 1980s.  Benedetto Panetta emigrated in 1901 from Naples, Italy to the United States.   He was an accomplished jeweller and found work in New York working mainly in platinum.  During the 1930s he worked for Trifari and his pieces from this period are highly sought after today, sadly I don’t have any in my collection, yet.  When Trifari moved their operations from New York to Rhode Island Benedetto decided to remain in New York and join Pennino.  Pennino had begun as a small New York goldsmith shop in 1908, by the 1930s it had a reputation for jewellery pieces which were sculptural and seen as beautiful works of art, selling in Saks of 5th Avenue.

After WWII Benedetto set up his own costume jewellery business in 1945.  Panetta jewellery was from the start high end and expensive.  Benedetto’s motto was  – if it didn’t look ‘real’, then the design went back to the drawing board.  This attention to detail and craftmanship means Panetta jewellery ‘has a look of being real’ in terms of metal work and stones, even though the pieces are only gold plated or gilt metal and paste and glass.

In 1960 Benedetto died and his two sons Amadeo and Armand took over the business.  The business continued to flourish for another 20 years.  Then in the late 1980s Amadeo and Armand sold the business to one its Japanese customers.  It closed in 1995.

Today Panetta jewellery is not easy to find, I buy mine from the USA where there is a good collectors’ market for high end costume jewellery.

Next month the Brooch of the Month comes from South America.