The Coro Jewelry Company was established in 1901, by partners Emanuel Cohen and Gerald Rosenberg, and the company’s first name was Cohen and Rosenberg. In 1943, Cohen and Rosenberg incorporated and the company’s named changed to Coro (“Co” for the first two letters in Cohen’s name and “ro” for the first two in Rosenberg’s name.)
Coro produced jewelry in the United States until 1979, then the company operated in Canada until about 1998.
Coro was a successful company, in part because Cohen and Rosenberg worked with highly skilled designers to finesse the designs, and an army of workers who actually produced the jewelry. By the 1920s, Coro jewelry was sold in dime stores all over the country.
An excellent jewelry designer, Adolph Katz, began working with Coro at about the time the partners built a new production facility in Providence, RI, in 1929.
Katz did not actually design the Coro pieces, but he selected the designs of other well-known designers, such as Gene Verecchia and Oscar Placco. Verrecchia was the head designer at Coro for about three decades and he created many of the best-loved Coro pieces, although patents have credited Katz. Jewelry from this period in Coro history (the 1930s and 1940s) is highly sought and collected.
Unique pieces from this era include the Coro jelly belly pins, which were figural pins depicting many animals, all with a clear acrylic center stone (resembling a jelly bean) placed in the creature’s belly. (Trifari produced jelly bean pins first, Coro later.)
Coro Duette pins were also very popular and highly collectible today. Coro trademarked this unique brooch which had a fastener, trademarked by the company, which locked two separate dress pins together. The pins could also be detached and worn separately. Some Coro Duette pins are fairly simple, in geometric designs. Others are much more complex, featuring whimsical flowers or birds. Sometimes, these pins are signed simply “Duette,”
In 1937, the Coro company began producing jewelry signed Coro Craft and in 1944 the company started its Vendôme line (named after the city in France). These two lines were considered higher-end Coro lines. A designer named Helen Marion created beautiful Vendôme pieces featuring crystals, which were particularly popular.
Coro vintage costume jewelry was signed in many different ways over the years, including:
- “Coro” written in script at an angle, sometimes with a Pegasus, or a script “Coro” without the angle
- “Duette” or “Coro Duette” in script with a patent number (the innovative fasteners that locked the two pins together was patented).
- “Coro Craft” in script
- “Coro” in script with “Craft” printed, with a Pegasus
- “Corocraft” in script, at an angle, with the Pegasus and also without.
- “Coro” in thick script (1940)
- “Vendôme” with a large “V” or “Vendôme” etched into the metal
For the most part, Coro pieces that are in excellent condition and in the original box are the best investment for collectors. Also very collectible are the Coro Duettes and jelly belly pins (although not any pieces described as recast, as these are modern reproductions of jelly belly pins). All Coro figural pins, in general, are highly collectible.
Preston Reuther is a "Master Wire Sculptor" and Cameo Appraiser and has been collecting and selling Vintage Jewelry for over 30 years. He is a jewelry instructor and has produced over 100 jewelry making videos and owns two vintage jewelry stores WWW.CAMEOJEWELRY.COM and WWW.ANTIQUECAMEOS.COM You may reach him at either store.