How failed auto makers created an iconic jewelry brand: Monet Jewelry
How failed auto makers created an iconic jewelry brand: Monet Jewelry

The Monet jewelry brand, launched in the late 1930s, revolutionized jewelry design. Rejection of precious stones and inlay in favor of minimalism, clean and laconic forms, revolutionary technologies, the latest designs of fasteners and fasteners, collaboration with Yves Saint Laurent and the world's first line of jewelry for teenagers … Surprisingly, everything could have turned out differently, if not for The Great Depression.

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In 1926, the enterprising brothers Michael and Joseph Chernov (in some sources - Chernov) set off to conquer New York. They dreamed of starting their own car corporation - hey Henry Ford, move over, Blacks are coming! They even came up with a name for their future brand - Monocraft. Only their plans were not destined to come true - on October 24, 1929 in the United States there was a stock market crash, which gave rise to the global economic crisis known as the Great Depression. Dreams of creating the perfect car had to be abandoned. There is a theory of "lipstick" in behavioral economics. Its essence lies in the fact that in times of economic crises or social instability, consumers replace the purchase of expensive goods with more affordable “luxury goods”. This is what played into the hands of the brothers. In difficult times, people whose resources have not yet been depleted often invest in jewelry - they are more affordable than a new car, delight the soul and give hope for a brighter future. Perhaps this is what the brothers thought about when they opened their new business.

Monet clips and necklace

They began by creating gold-plated monograms for handbags, but soon began producing pins, earrings, bracelets and necklaces. There is a legend that the Chernow brothers were big fans of the work of the impressionist painter Claude Monet - and their company was named after him. However, it appears that Monet is simply an abbreviated and more "French" Monocraft.

Monet sets in gilded jewelry alloy

The brand quickly gained prominence. All decorations were made exclusively by hand and were distinguished by the originality of the design - the engineering vein of the Chernow brothers played a role here. It was they who invented … the clips. Yes, yes, these familiar clip-on earrings (especially loved by children and teenagers) are an innovation of the Monet brand, of course, patented. The barrel clasp, which consists of two parts, one of which is screwed into the other, was also invented by these failed car moguls. Edmond Mario Granville, who previously worked for Cartier, became the main designer of the brand in the mid-1930s. He would give Monet almost forty years of his life until death do them part. Granville decisively abandoned multicolor, relying on metal - its brilliance, texture, shade. Sometimes these simple and laconic forms were complemented by Swarovski crystals, but the brand produced relatively few inlaid products. From an artistic point of view, Monet's creations were close to the style of Art Deco and modernist painting - strict geometry, verified rhythms, large elements. For the production of jewelry, high-quality jewelry alloys with gold or silver plating were used.

Monet's style is laconic and strict geometry

Monet quickly became trendsetters in jewelry fashion - and, of course, they began to steal ideas, and sometimes even pass off their mediocre counterfeits for the brand's products. This significantly damaged the reputation of the brainchild of the Chernow brothers.For the first time they put the Monet brand on their products in 1937, and since 1955 all jewelry came out with a copyright badge and a special stamp of Monet, Monet Sterling or Monet Jewelrs.

Monet bracelets

Speaking of Monet Sterling, an innovative line of sterling silver jewelry. This metal was the only material available during the war. During this period, the company of the Chernov brothers worked for the good of the country and was engaged in the production of ammunition, but they did not leave their main occupation - the creation of jewelry. From a high-strength alloy of copper and silver, they made pins for hats and collars with a "patriotic" design - "Victory Pins". They were worn as a sign of solidarity with those who sacrificed their lives on the fronts in the fight against fascism.

Monet necklace

In the post-war period, the whole world tried to quickly forget about the horror experienced. Designers created more and more feminine, elegant, even luxurious clothes - remember Christian Dior's New Look! The skirts are getting fuller, the necklines are getting deeper … These deep necklines greatly contributed to the popularity of the Monet necklace, seductively wrapped around the open neck and descending to the chest. Numerous rows of chains, large pendants and medallions, textured surfaces, ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian motifs … For an evening out, of course, they save jewelry with precious stones - and in the daytime it is quite allowed to wear costume jewelry.

Monet necklace Monet necklace

In the 50s, Monet actively developed new jewelry models, for example, charm bracelets. They open a youth line that is, in fact, oriented towards adolescents - and in this they become pioneers. Very young girls could now adorn themselves with thin delicate chains with slightly infantile pendants - angels, hearts and flowers. The brand supported the hippie movement by releasing pendants with the words love and peace, began to produce accessories - belts, buckles, handles.

Monet necklace and set with earrings On the right is a charm bracelet

In 1981, Monet began a collaboration with the fashion house Yves Saint Laurent, and then began to manufacture jewelry for Christian Lacroix. This brought the jewelry brand huge profits and worldwide fame - from a small family workshop, they turned into a real industrial giant, as the founding fathers dreamed of. Today, the Monet brand lives and thrives, despite the constant change of owners. Their style has remained largely unchanged since the 1930s. Vintage jewelry Monet, in which every woman turns into a fatal beauty from an old movie, is especially valuable. Earrings and necklaces, created more than half a century ago, look like new - they do not fade, do not darken, do not get chips and cracks. Let Monet be jewelry and not “high jewelry art”, their bold design, quality and ingenuity set the standards for the production of democratic jewelry for many years to come.

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