Monday, October 12, 2009

Today's Featured Designer - BSK

One of the most fascinating area of collecting vintage jewelry is recognizing the look of the various designers who produced the lovely pieces that we like to collect and wear. Today's featured designer is BSK.

BSK is a designer about whom very little information seems to be available. The company was founded in New York in 1948 and did business until the mid 1980s. (I've seen one reference book listing the 1970s as the end of production, but most researchers seem to agree that they closed their doors in the mid 1980s. )The letters BSK stand for the first initials of the three owners: Benny Steinberg, Slovitt and Kaslo.

Their designs vary from simple silvertone and goldtone pieces to some particularly stunning designs with rhinestones. Overall, their designs are of average style, although very good quality. The jewelry sold well in the 1950s, when the demand for affordable jewelry boomed after the war time period. The BSK line was reasonably priced and was sold in department stores such as Woolworths.

It was normal during this period for mothers and teachers to receive BSK designs as gifts because of the competitive price point. One particularly interesting series that the company did was called My Fair Lady, and this is featured in many vintage jewelry reference books at better than average book values. Consider this a real find if you come across one of these highly collectible pieces!

The design characteristics of BSK pieces are the use of colorful enamel designs, with the base metal often dipped in the enamel. They made some whimsical designs. Their rhinestone pieces often used Aurora Borealis Rhinestones, in combination with enamel. Many of their designs featured a feaf style of overlay.

BSK designs had very little variation in their markings. Most pieces were signed just with the letters BSK in block lettering, either directly on the metal, or on a metal cartouche added to the design. The collectible My Fair Lady designs were marked BSK © My Fair Lady .


My Fair Lady photo courtesy of Ruby Lane seller The Vintage Princess

Here are some pictures of BSK designs which show both the simplicity and elegance characteristic of their designs.


BSK jewelry is not particularly expensive to buy and is still relatively easy to find. Don't buy pieces with flaws, since they will not warrant repair costs to fix them. If possible buy sets instead of single pieces. BSK is prized by some collections of vintage jewelry for the lovely combination of enameling and rhinestones, so the pieces should slowly rise in value.

22 comments:

  1. Thank you for this information. I inherited a few pieces of BSK. My grandmother worked for Woolworth's for a few years so maybe that's where they came from. Always interested in learning more about the pieces I have.
    Beverly

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  2. I literally "found" a BSK poodle while taking a walk today. It is a pin-on. As you look at it, it faces to the left. The body of the poodle is covered with black chips of some sort with a matching hat, or headpiece. It has only one eye made of a red chip (it has no right eye as it would be against the wearer's clothing). The poodle is wearing a "necklace" comprised of "diamond" chips. I assume that all of the stones are glass. Anyone have any idea of the value of this piece?

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  3. It would be hard to determine the book value of this piece, since it may or may not be featured in any one of many books. As far as I know, there isn't a reference book for just BSK pieces.

    Retail prices on BSK figurals vary greatly and depend completely on condition. You can find them ranging anywhere from $5 to $65 or more.

    Carol

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  4. I have a pair of BSK "My Fair Lady" cuff links. There are two of the rhinestones missing, but otherwise they are in great shape. Any idea of their value? Thank you for your comments.

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  5. The BSK My Fair Lady brooches are the easiest to find. Cuff links are a bit more scarce. Condition is the most important factor, so missing rhinestones would affect the value greatly.

    In perfect condition from a top online retailer, they might be worth $100 or so.

    Carol

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  6. Note to Carol re. My Fair Lady cuff links. Does it make sense to try to replace the rhinestones before trying to sell them? Thanks again for your insight.

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  7. It depends on where you are planning to sell them. Any replaced rhinestones should be mentioned since this also can affect the value.

    Also, if you replace, the stones would need to be vintage stones.

    I've seen My Fair Lady pieces listed on ebay even with faults, so there is a market for them in any condition. The value is whatever anyone will pay at any given time who might be looking.

    Carol

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  8. Carol, I bought a large gold collar necklace that is signed BSK with the copyright mark. I tried to post the pic but it won't do it. I would like to email you a pic. Send an email to me cajunsteph2003@yahoo.com
    This is an unremarkable piece. I was wondering if you could give me some more info on the necklace. I will email you a pic. Thanks, Stephanie

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  9. Hi ,

    I don't do any appraisals of specific pieces.

    I don't really have detailed information on individual BSK pieces. When I get in a new one that I haven't seen before, I check on Google in various ways to see if I can find it for sale on various online stores and auction sites. This gives me a bit of an idea about value.

    Generally, the pieces that are worth quite a bit from BSK are the My Fair Lady designs as well as more ornate rhinestone pieces or unusual enamels.

    Plain gold tone and silver tone pieces of any type hold only nominal value.

    Carol

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  10. Hi Carol!! My grandmother was given 3 piece set as a gift in 1951(choker,bracelet,ear rings she never wore them, and have been in a box since then.Its green and has gold and whites and has a lot rhinestone and has a leafs.Do you have any idea When it could have been made and where we could find out roughly how much its worth!!

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  11. I'm not familiar with your set. Anytime I find one that I haven't seen before, I check on Google in various ways to see if I can find it for sale on various online stores and auction sites. This gives me a bit of an idea about value.

    Carol

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  12. Hi Carol, I'm really enjoying purchasing vintage brooches.Just buying what my eye catches,and just bought a BSK pin and earrings.Havent seen anything like them.The pin is a ivory textured rose as well as the earrings.The pin also has a beetle on the stem with small rhines. Can you tell me anything abou them?

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  13. Have decided to sale much of my old jewelry. Raided two old jewelry boxes in the basement. Found a piece marked @BSK. It was a pendant about 1 & 1/4" in diameter. Sort of a swirled design and featured a green stone in center held by large clampy arms. Believe I actually received it as a young girl as a gift at school, when we did gift exchange. I'm 61. Usually check these things out but didn't take the time. Put 5.00 on it and it sold the first day. Wish I had seen this first. The finish looked a little dulling however as it's been in a damp basement storage. Did I mess up? Could I have gotten more?

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  14. $5 seems very low. It is always a good idea to do a Google search of the maker of the piece you plan to sell to see what other sites are selling similar pieces in similar condition for.

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  15. I Have an unusal pin. It was given to me in 1965 for graduation. It is a man, (I guess ) with a headdress and crown. He is holding scales to weigh in. He has red eyes and fax diamonds in crown. He is layered being dipped many times. Can you tell me anything about this pin

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    Replies
    1. I am not familiar with the pin so I can't help you.

      Delete
  16. I AM GOING TO TRY TO SELL MY SWAN BSK BROACH THAT HAS A RUBY COLORED STONE IN HIS EYE. IS THIS A RHINESTONE OR RUBY? HOW MUCH SHOULD I ASK FOR THIS PIECE?

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  17. The eye is likely a rhinestone, not a ruby. I don't do appraisals, but a quick search on eBay will give you a high low range of prices for a similar piece.

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  18. Hi, I have a set of BSK that my great grandmother left to me. It is a set of earrings with three Aurora borealis rhinestones in a triangle form wrapped in in a vine/leaves. Then a brooch with multiple large and small rhinestones with a fern twards the top with two of the blades falling in the stones. I would just love to know year this piece came about and the price when bought if possible.

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    ReplyDelete
  20. Hello, my grandma gave me a B.S.K. gold toned bracelet years ago. Since then I have done several google searches to find out which one it is and to no avail. It is several different plates all pieced together. Every third plate going down the middle has a star or astrisk shape on every third plate, 7 total "stars" or astrisk shapes. It is a thick cuff but, bends at every tiny plate, does that make sense? It has a clasp, with safety clasp on it as well. Any help to the name or value would be so great! It is of course signed B.S.K.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not familiar with the set but one of my readers may have some information on it.

      Carol

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