In my blog post about vintage Featherweight, Featherlite, Bubbleite circa-late 1940s/1950s jewelry I discussed the various brand names found within this genre. However, I recently discovered that a number of online sellers are attributing certain clip back earrings in this style (both with and without rhinestone and/or faux pearl enhancements) as having been produced produced by Coro. These earrings are all signed “Featherweights” on the clipbacks.
Upon contacting each of the sellers to ask if they could direct me to a published source for this connection, they all told me that they had obtained the information from another online seller’s listing and had not personally encountered any reference book or vintage advertisement linking these items to Coro. That was enough of a red flag to make me embark on a mission to try to answer the question “Coro or not?” for these items bearing this mark.
An exhaustive online search turned up no connection between “Featherweights” earrings and Coro other than a number of extremely similar online seller listing descriptions. The vintage jewelry makers’ mark database maintained by the experts at RCJ (Researching Costume Jewelry) likewise does not list Featherweights as an associated mark or name for Coro in their page devoted to that maker. Neither did any other book or online list that I could find. Hmmmmm….
When I directly enlisted the help of Pat and Dot at RCJ, they checked their official US trademarked names list and the only entry for a “Featherweights” mark is a company called Florida Featherweights (1966-1984)… much later than the circa-1940s/50s mark on the earrings. And the Florida Featherweights mark is completely different from the one on the earrings discussed here and in my other blog post; it is a script mark on a rising curve, whereas the one on our late 1940s-mid 1950s earring clipbacks is in simple block letters. The database also mentions that a flamingo is part of the registered Florida Featherweights mark.
One database did claim that the “Featherweights” mark (which was not illustrated) associated with a flamingo was used by the Greenbaum Novelty Company of New York, from 1947 onwards.
Update, June 2017: Many thanks to a helpful reader (see below) who has confirmed via a contemporary jewelry publication that the cursive Featherweights mark was indeed registered to Greenbaum!
Adding to the general confusion is the fact that Greenbaum DID in fact produce items during the late 1940s to mid 1950s in celluloid, in floral motifs, in a lightweight celluloid material. They were most noted for their celluloid belt buckles which were signed on the metal hardware “Greenbaum”. They made brooches to match some of their buckle designs but the brooches were not signed. It is possible that they also made earrings as well, but because they did not put their mark on the actual material but only on metal findings large enough to accommodate them, they would not have signed any necklaces or screwback earrings that they made. Whether they did produce clipback earrings that were signed (and whether they were signed “Greenbaum” or something else entirely!) is anyone’s guess. I will say though that the font used for the “Featherweights” clipback signature is identical to that of the “Greenbaum” on the buckles (many thanks to Beautifulliving on Etsy for the use of their excellent image). If Greenbaum stamped their own findings, perhaps that is a clue… but if they had a findings manufacturer do it, the matching font means nothing. 😦
One thing is certain, however: So far, in no known Coro reference book, or Coro section within a recognized reference book listing Coro marks, companies, patented designs or vintage advertisements, does any reference to these particular lightweight celluloid earrings appear. Coro did make some jewelry in a very lightweight soft plastic, enhanced with rhinestones, during the 1950s but the material and designs were entirely different: The flower petals were created in an openwork fashion and the clipbacks were actually signed Coro. My thanks to Etsy sellers Tintiara and lovebyleya for allowing me to use their listings to illustrate these genuine Coro lightweight plastic earrings:
Apparantly the attribution of the signed Featherweights earrings to Coro is merely a case of a single misattribution in a listing that subsequently went “viral” and has been picked up by numerous other sellers over time. There appears to be no official recognized source indicating that the Featherweights brand ever had anything to do with Coro.