This brooch is by Kramer. It is made of gilt metal, caste as two finely defined leaves with a large piece of moss agate at its centre. The company was started in 1943 by Louis Kramer in New York. Once WWII was over Louis was joined by his two brothers Morris and Harry. Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’ of 1947, with an emphasis on femininity and glamour, was a clear and definite reaction to the years of rationing and ‘make-do’. The skirt alone took nearly 15 metres of fabric.
The 1950s saw a growing desire by consumers for costume jewellery which sparkled and glistened. Kramer was quick to tap into this developing market. As well as making their own jewellery, during the 1950s and 1960s Kramer made costume jewellery for Christian Dior. All aspects of the company operation took place in New York, to reinforce this aspect of the company Kramer marks (the logos etc. impressed on the back of many costume jewellery by a wide range of manufacturers) regularly incorporated New York (Kramer NY, and Kramer of New York) but when making pieces for Christian Dior they were marked as Christian Dior by Kramer, Dior by Kramer and Kramer for Dior, establishing their credentials and association with the famous French fashion house. Despite working with Dior, Kramer like so many other costume jewellery companies, ceased trading in the 1970s, as tastes changed.
Moss Agate is a semi-precious stone made from silicon dioxide and despite its name does not contain organic matter and is usually formed from weathered volcanic rocks. It is mainly found in central Europe, the western part of the United States, India, Uruguay and Brazil. As far back as the 18th century, European farmers would hang Moss Agate stones on tree branches and the horns of their cattle, believing it was a good luck talisman and would bring a bountiful harvest. Some people believe Moss Agate is a magical stone with healing properties.
This month I went to see the film ‘Mrs Harris goes to Paris’, based on the character in the Mrs Harris books by Paul Gallico.
In the film Ada Harris dreams of a Dior dress and travels to Paris in search of the ‘perfect’ frock. It is a charming film full of nostalgia. The film stars Lesley Manville and there are some wonderful costumes showcasing Christian Dior inspired creations.
In 1992 Dame Angela Lansbury, who died this month at the age of 96, starred in a version of the film ‘Mrs ‘Arris goes to Paris’.