Henry Schreiner (1898-1954), a jewelry worker born in Premich, Germany, immigrated to the U.S. in 1923. He opened the Schreiner Jewelry Co. in New York City, in 1932. His daughter Terry and her husband, Ambros Albert, joined the family business in 1951. After Henry died, they continued to produce Schreiner jewelry using the original molds.
The firm prospered in the 1950's-1960's, when their large, elaborate rhinestone jewelry was in style. During those decades, the company produced jeweled buckles, buttons, belts, brooches, necklaces, and earrings for all of the top American fashion houses. Clients included Pauline Trigère, Norman Norelle, Adele Simpson, and Christian Dior. Schreiner jewelry adorned models in many fashion shows as well as photo shoots for Vogue, including the covers of the June 1, 1952, and March 1, 1954, issues. Because of this exposure, the company never advertised.
Most stones came from pre-war Czechoslovakia, then from Germany (where the stones were made by Czech immigrants). Some stones were made especially for Schreiner. Their keystones (kite-shaped crystals that were Schreiner's signature stone) were made by Czechs in post-war Germany. These stones were used in the ruffle pin Terry designed in 1957 and in Maltese crosses.
No trademark was registered for the company. Only pieces made for department stores were stamped "Schreiner" or "Schreiner New York". Jewelry made for the fashion houses was not signed. Even without the maker's mark, many Schreiner pieces can be identified because of their distinctive style, elaborate designs, and high-quality of materials.
Typical characteristics include the following: unfoiled and inverted (i.e., set upside-down) stones, both intended to pick up the color of the material beneath them; large, unusually-shaped crystals; dome-shaped brooches; unconventional yet imaginative color combinations; large triangular prongs; japanned settings; and hook-and-eye construction. Schreiner's pieces were set and finished by hand, so the output was limited. Huge bib necklaces and parures are especially rare.
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