This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.


A Brief History of Monet Jewellery: Tradition and Excellence

Monet Jewellery is renowned for its vintage costume jewellery, admired for its ability to offer high-end accessories at affordable prices.  The brand has a rich history, reflecting the changing styles and economic conditions of the 20th century.
Monet Jewellery emerged from a desire to provide luxury accessories without breaking the bank. Using readily available materials, Monet created stylish pieces that remain popular and collectible today. Their core belief was that elegant jewellery doesn't need to be prohibitively expensive. Today, Monet's designs continue to be valued, worn, and sought after by collectors.

The Origins in 1929

Monet Jewellery was founded by brothers Michael and Jay Chernow in 1929 in Providence, Rhode Island, originally as Monocraft Products Company. The company initially specialised in art deco-designed, gold-toned metal monogram plaques for women's handbags and purses. The quality and design quickly made Monocraft popular. However, the stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing economic downturn prompted a shift in focus from monograms to costume jewellery. By 1937, the company was renamed Monet to reflect its new direction, inspired by the French impressionist Claude Monet.

1930s: Adapting to Economic Times

During the 1930s, Monet adapted to the economic hardships by producing exquisite yet affordable jewellery. They used brilliant glass instead of real diamonds, allowing women to maintain elegance without financial strain. Early designs featured meticulous gold-plating, hand-painted pieces, animal and floral patterns, as well as Art Deco designs. The high quality of the metal letters and monograms for cars and handbags laid the foundation for Monet's reputation.

1940s: Wartime Adaptations and Innovations

The 1940s saw Monet thrive under the artistic direction of former Cartier designer Edmond Granville. Wartime restrictions on metals like platinum and brass led Monet to use sterling silver, incorporating Austrian crystals and rhinestones to add luxury to their collections. Many pieces from this era featured military-inspired motifs, resonating with the times. Monet was also the first costume jeweller to produce spring-ring charms in the late 1940s, allowing people to mix and match charms, a trend that gained further popularity in the 1960s.

1950s and 1960s: Bold and Functional Designs

Post-war prosperity in the 1950s led to larger and more ornate designs. Figural pieces like poodle dog pins, bow pins, and charm bracelets adorned with bows and charms became popular. Gold-plated jewellery (both rose and yellow) with link designs featuring a centrepiece were highly sought after. The 1950s also saw the introduction of the Monettes collection for younger clients, featuring smaller, sportier, and more affordable pieces. The 1960s saw an explosion of charm bracelets featuring everyday objects and nature-inspired designs, catering to working women with stylish yet practical jewellery. The successful Menagerie collection introduced detailed animal motif jewellery, including brooches, pendants, and earrings.

1970s to 1980s: From Disco to Pop Culture

The 1970s marked Monet's venture into fine jewellery with the introduction of the "Ciani" collection, featuring luxurious pieces crafted in gold, gemstones, and sterling silver. The disco and pop culture movements of the 1970s and 1980s influenced Monet to create loud, colourful designs that matched the vibrant fashion trends of these decades. In 1970, Monet added pierced earrings to their line, alongside clip-on earrings, and introduced collections focusing on fine jewellery with semi-precious gemstones. Innovations such as the seamless bangle and detachable charms for chain link bracelets also emerged during this period.
1990s and Beyond: Collaborations and Luxurious Expansions
In the 1990s, Monet collaborated with high fashion houses like Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, and Christian Lacroix, creating bespoke pieces that combined couture with accessible jewellery. The new millennium saw Monet acquired by Liz Claiborne in 2000, ushering in an era of elegance with designs featuring opulent materials like green opal and coloured crystals. Despite a decline in business during the 1990s due to the popularity of real gold and silver jewellery, Monet remained an important brand in the costume jewellery market.

Authenticating Monet Jewellery

Monet jewellery is known for its high-end appearance at an affordable price. The pieces often feature faux gemstones such as glass and are gold or silver-plated, giving the illusion of expensive jewellery without the high cost. The craftsmanship and style have earned Monet a loyal fan base over the decades. Signature characteristics include the Monet mark, meticulous gold-plating, and collaborations with renowned designers like Christian Lacroix and Yves Saint Laurent. Monet was also responsible for many leading developments in the jewellery field, including the barrel clutch for pierced ears and the friction ear clip for non-pierced ears.
To determine if a piece of Monet jewellery is authentic, look for the Monet mark, which could be Monocraft, Monet, or Monet©. Authentic pieces also have triple plating on necklaces, a hallmark of Monet's quality. Collaborations with designers like Christian Lacroix or Yves Saint Laurent can also indicate authenticity.
The following marks have been used over the years:
1927-1937: Monocraft
1937 and after: Monet
Monet Jewelers
Monet Sterling
Monet (jeweller's tag)
Monet with copyright symbol used after 1955


    Introducing our latest arrivals - an exquisite collection of vintage jewellery from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Our new pieces include statement necklaces, bold earrings, chunky bracelets, and more. Shop now to add some vintage glamour to your wardrobe.

    Contact us for more information


    Learn more about designer vintage jewellery


    No more products available for purchase

    Your cart is currently empty.