The Lisner family came to the United States from Germany in 1864, and were merchants of fine goods in New York City by about 1869. The D. Lisner Company was founded in 1904, by David Lisner, his father, Selig, and brothers Abraham and George, and operated until about 1985, merging with Richelieu in 1979.
During the company’s early years, D. Lisner imported a large variety of fine goods from Europe, such as jewelry, clocks and crystal. For the most part, until the 1930s, the imported jewelry was sold wholesale.
But in the 1930s, as unrest grew in Europe, it became more difficult to import jewelry and also rhinestones. The company found manufacturers in Providence, R.I. to produce jewelry, and Lisner began selling the jewelry line on a retail basis.
Lisner vintage costume jewelry was signed “Lisner,” written with a long “L” and the “isner” in small print; “Lisner” written in script with a letter “L” in an oval logo; and “Lisner” in block print letters.
Lisner jewelry often incorporates elements of nature and was not overly fancy. For example, some designs featured plastic leaves (such as oak leaves). These leaf pieces are highly collectible and sell very well. Experts believe that these molded plastic leaf pieces were not made for very long, probably for about five years during the 1960s.
Lisner pieces were often made of molded glass rhinestones, as well, and the company also incorporated aurora borealis rhinestones in some pieces. Collectors try to find sets, especially interesting ones that include several pieces.
Victor Ganz served as president of Lisner for many years, and he spent time in Providence, traveling there from New York, to oversee production. When Sidney Welicky, a designer, retired, Ganz began helping in the design of pieces and was an important creative force at Lisner.
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.