"Collectors of vintage fashion jewelry have nearly all heard about Sarah Coventry jewelry, a favorite brand that was sold for several decades. But did you know that Sarah Coventry was just one of the lines produced by Emmons Jewelry, Inc.?
"Lyman K. Stuart, son of Charles H. Stuart, founded Emmons Home Fashions in 1948, naming the company in honor of his mother, Caroline Emmons Stuart. Soon afterward, the company's name was changed to Emmons Jewelry, Inc.
"Many references credit Charles with founding the company, but the most reliable sources name Lyman as the company's owner.
"Emmons Jewelry was sold at home parties, a retailing practice that is still popular today to market jewelry and all sorts of other items. You may have attended a home party where a hostess invites friends to attend and products are showcased, from jewelry to housewares. Hostesses typically earn products in exchange for their efforts, and the dollar value of their earnings increases as attendees make purchases.
"Emmons Jewelry was sold by the original company until about 1981 when it declared bankruptcy. Several markings were used throughout the life of the company. Marks include:
"Sarah Coventry jewelry was introduced not long after the Emmons brand was born and was also sold through jewelry parties. The newer line's name honored Lyman Stuart's granddaughter, Sarah Coventry Beale. Coventry jewelry was typically less expensive than the Emmons-branded designs and also marked with a variety of symbols throughout its existence.
"The Emmons company did not design or manufacture its jewelry, choosing instead to contract with jewelry manufacturers to provide the styles the company felt its customers would purchase.
"Costume jewelry for both brands was often sold in matching sets, such as a coordinating necklace, bracelet, and earrings. It is more difficult to find complete sets today, but collectors watch for pieces to complete their collections when they scour flea markets and antique shops.
"Sarah Coventry jewelry is easier to find than pieces marked with the Emmons brand since it was somewhat less expensive and sold for a longer period. You'll find pieces made from both silvertone and gold-colored metals, often set with large faux pearls and other gemstone simulants.
"Sarah Coventry jewelry was most popular during the 1950s and 1960s and continued to be offered at home parties for a few years after the company's 1981 bankruptcy. The jewelry brand passed through a few more owners, including a Canadian company, but never regained its former popularity and has disappeared from today's market."