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An Introduction to DeLizza & Elster (Juliana) Jewelry
Juliana - a collectors nickname given to pieces made by DeLizza & Elster - jewelry was originally marked with only paper hang tags, and only on select pieces made in the 1960s. Most of those tags were discarded when the original owners wore the pieces leaving the jewelry unmarked today.
Through research and making contact with one of the original owners of DeLizza & Elster, Frank DeLizza, jewelry collectors and authors have been able to learn to identify characteristics of these pieces.... Many glitzy costume jewelry styles formerly classified as simply "unsigned" have now been identified as "Juliana" or DeLizza & Elster.
Attributing Juliana jewelry allows collectors to more easily search for jewelry designs made by DeLizza & Elster, and marketers to reach potential buyers seeking this type of jewelry.
The following slide show will walk you through some of the varied characteristics, construction techniques, and materials used by DeLizza & Elster to help you identify this type of jewelry. Many of the identifying clues are found in examining the backs of the jewelry as well as the appearance from the front.Continue to 2 of 11 below.
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Juliana Five Link and Band Construction
While DeLizza & Elster made a number of styles of bracelets to accompany what collectors know as Juliana sets, the most easily identifiable is the five link and band construction shown here. Many Juliana pieces are recognized as mates to these bracelets once a five link and band piece is identified. These were made with both gold-tone and silver-tone plating, and range in style from fairly simple to elaborately encrusted with rhinestones.
Bracelets with similar construction can be confused... with these, and some copies are now being imported as well. It is wise for novice collectors to do further research to make sure the bracelet they suspect to be made by DeLizza & Elster is authentic.Continue to 3 of 11 below.
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DeLizza & Elster used a specific type of rivet in the construction of their jewelry, as shown here. These were often used to hold clusters of rhinestones in place and can be found on necklaces and earrings in addition to the company's popular bracelets. These rivets are very sturdy and used sparingly in comparison to other heavily riveted pieces from the same era. If you find a brooch containing dozens of rivets when the back is examined, it's likely that is not a Juliana piece.Continue to 4 of 11 below.
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Juliana Bead Dangles
Many DeLizza & Elster pieces, also nicknamed "Juliana," incorporate dangling elements such as colored or clear glass beads, simulated pearls, or art glass beads. These dangling elements were used on many bracelets, necklaces, and matching earrings. Necklaces can be elaborate like the one shown here, or more simple with just a few dangles. Other manufacturers also used dangling elements during the same era so looking for additional clues to identification such as riveted construction... is also helpful when examining a potential Juliana piece.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Juliana Ring Component in NecklacesSome Juliana, made by DeLizza & Elster, necklaces incorporated a distinctive ring into the construction as shown on the back view of this piece. This ring isn't exclusive to Juliana pieces, but can be one factor to consider when identifying this type of jewelry.Continue to 6 of 11 below.
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Juliana Specialty Stones
Colorful specialty stones were often used in DeLizza & Elster designs. In addition to margarita stones, like the scalloped edge bi-color examples in this piece, they also incorporated rivoli stones, "cat's eye" foil-backed cabochons, and stippled cabochons nicknamed "Easter egg" stones by collectors, among many others. Pieces containing these types of specialty stones are among the most popular with collectors. Keep in mind, however, that other makers also used specialty... stones in jewelry from the same era so looking for other identifying clues is imperative when identifying these styles.Continue to 7 of 11 below.
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Juliana Elongated Marquis Stones
DeLizza & Elster prolifically used elongated marquis, also known as navette, rhinestones in their designs. Some pieces, like the brooch shown here, are comprised primarily of these stones while others have them interspersed among other varied stone shapes. These stones were manufactured in dozens of colors in both foil-back and unfoiled varieties. Many of those used in Juliana designs are unfoiled and many are set into open backed stone cups.Continue to 8 of 11 below.
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Juliana Open Backed Settings
Many unsigned pieces made by DeLizza & Elster, also known as Juliana jewelry by collectors, exhibit open settings when examined from the back. These are almost always noted when larger stones, such as high dome cabochons or stippled cabochons, are present. Some smaller unfoiled stones are set with open backs as well, which allows light to shine through thus intensifying the brightness. Many costume jewelry manufacturers employed open backs to cut down on the cost of plating, however, so... it's wise to examine other attributes of a piece to confirm the origin of manufacture.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Juliana Oval Glass Cameos
Some DeLizza & Elster pieces, nicknamed Juliana by collectors, incorporated oval glass cameos in their designs. These range in motif from floral, as shown here, and other motifs such as butterflies, to the traditional woman's profile associated with the cameo. The rhinestone colors surrounding these cameos vary, but the necklace styles are usually fairly simple similar to the one shown here. Bracelets incorporating matching oval glass cameos are usually "clamper" hinged cuff... style (rather than five link and band construction), and can be very elaborately encrusted with rhinestones.Continue to 10 of 11 below.
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Juliana Figure Eight Puddling
When examining the backs of Juliana by DeLizza & Elster pieces, this type of construction may be present. "Figure eight puddling" refers to the appearance of stone round cups that were soldered together while the piece was being made and then heavily gold plated. These can be joined together in groups of two (those look most like a figure eight), three, or more.Continue to 11 of 11 below.
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Juliana Wire Over Construction
Many pieces of Juliana by DeLizza & Elster pieces have "wire over" construction. That is, wires that come over the top of a piece of jewelry holding decorative elements that give dimension to the design. Sometimes the wires hold a simple floret or cluster of accent stones. Other times they have metal elements along with rhinestones like the example shown here.