Terry Matusyk shared her collection of Iskin pieces with us at the B'sue Boutiques Creative Group at Flickr
Sterling, sterling look, and vermeil pieces like these are easily found:
This is a gold-filled piece with the strong ISKIN mark.
There were many companies that made this sort of jewelry, but for some reason, there are MANY afficionados of the Iskin-marked pieces. I checked out Etsy and quickly found that they go anywhere 25-225.00 each. Once in a bit you can find a real bargain in a market, even at Etsy. The marked pieces have resale value, they will usually sell well if you put a reasonable (but not necessarily cheap) price on them.
There are lots of pins made like this one, but there are also large, substantial styles. You might want to check out this Etsy link:
To learn more about Harry Iskin, the designer, you might want to read the article written by Carolyn Davis and housed at Dotty Stringfield's Illusion Jewels Website
In a nutshell, Iskin was born in London in 1886 of Russian-immigrant parents. He came to the US in 1908, when he was 22, and became an American citizen. As his wife, Leah, was born in Pennsylvania, they settled in Philadelphia. He listed his occupation as a jewelry engraver.
By 1930 his occupation is registered as a manufacturer of wholesale jewelry. It took a little while to get his business 'off the ground' but by 1936 he moved to larger quarters and by 1938 he acquired more space on the West Side of Manhattan, NYC.
Between that time and 1953 he remained in business. Sadly in 1953, there is a bankruptcy sale recorded in the New York Times classifieds. Everything from the Iskin business was sold at auction in their Philadelphia facility in 1954.
Most of the jewelry made by Harry Iskin is gold filled, sterling, or vermeil (sterling with a gold plated top). The following photos of Terry Matusyk's collection will give you a general idea of their 'look':
As I look at these pieces, I feel creatively inspired. How might YOU reprise such forties style pieces with perhaps 18-20 gauge copper or goldfilled wire? I'm thinking copper wire and some of our Old Rose Ox flowers from B'sue Boutiques....maybe some old stones or no hole pearls?
When I get a bit of time, I'd like to study over that Etsy page and see what I come up with.....No way would I break up these pieces, I'd sell them to the appropriate collectors. At the same time, I'd like to see what I could do with modern and vintage style components to come up with a very cool 21st century 'throwback' style.
Five and Dime Style jewelry, anyone?
BY THE WAY....save that link to Dotty Stringfield's site. She has done an amazing amount of research at Illusion Jewels, and it will help you in your quest to learn more about vintage jewelry.