So popular was the style of jewelry produced by Miriam Haskell that it spawned a whole new style in itself, and this we call the "School of Haskell". It is not fair to call the designers who were inspired by Haskell copiers, as they were very proficient designers and jewelers in their own right. Among these are included designers such as Robert, De Mario, Eugene, and Stanley Haglen Very little is known about the first three, but the production history of Stanley Hagler's work is better known.
The Stanley Hagler Jewellery Co. was founded in 1953 by Hagler himself and Edward Nakles. According to legend, he designed an extravagant bracelet for the Duchess of Windsor, who was said to have worn one on each wrist. The fashion magazine Vogue was a great champion of his designs and brought him the publicity he deserved. Orders kept flooding in from department
stores and Stanley Hagler won more renown by winning the Swarovski "Great Designs in Jewellery" award eleven times. Stanley Hagler's jewelry was characterized by its scale and complexity. His jewelry employed not only the faux pearls he became known for but also a myriad of other materials, including many semiprecious stones and remarkable "art glass" stones from the Italian island of Murano.
For many years, the designers of the School of Haskell were thought of as belonging one rung down from the Grande Dame herself, but now they are becoming increasingly well regarded and respected in their own right. Prices accordingly have shot up and where in the past one could buy pieces from these designers for a fraction of the cost of a Haskell, one must now pay comparable prices.
Robert Baroque Pearl & Pink Crystal Necklace & Earring Set, late 1940s early 1950s
The similarities between this set and the style of Miriam Haskell are immediately apparent. The quality of production and finish is very high, though it could be argued that the lustre of the faux pearls is not of quite the same caliber. Nonetheless, the attention to detail is excellent in this collectable and desirable set of jewelry.
Stanley Hagler Necklace & Earring Set, late 1950s early 1960s
Stanley Hagler jewelry is, as may be seen from this set, a step above the norm. Where Haskell was intricate, Hagler was exuberant. The amount of work required to produce a piece such as this is staggering. Hagler jewelry is known especially for its rich use of colour, unusual materials, and attention to detail it is often evident that parts of a piece that are normally hidden from view are still finished to an impressive level of detail. Such jewelry demands attention.
Robert Enamel Flower Pin, early 1950s
Although Robert may be best known for its Haskell-inspired jewels, the firm also produced costume jewelry in other styles. It was particularly well known for its enamel work, producing not only flower pins, such as the one illustrated here, but also a large range of cold-enamel painted pieces, from flowers and animals to cartoon characters. These are however, quite unusual and rare and so are a great field for collecting. The signature on the reverse of this beautifully detailed brooch (valued at £40-65/$70-110), which has a great sense of depth, should read "Original by Robert", as opposed to the plain "Robert" signature on most of this company's Haskell-style jewellery.
Writer – Steven Miners