Friday, June 26, 2009

Featured Vintage Jewelry Designer - JJ - Whimsicals, Figurals, Artifacts and More!

Collectors of figural jewelry, particular lovers of cat jewelry will be well aquainted with today's featured designer - JJ (Jonette Jewelry Company.)

The company was founded in 1935 in Providence, Rhode Island, under the name of Providence Jewelry Company. The owner was Abraham Lisker. Abraham was originally trained as a physician, but gave up this career to begin what would become his life's work. His brother Nathan joined the company in 1937 and the company became known as Lisker & Lisker.

Because of the popularity of some early mother of pearl figurals and ballerina pins, the company decided to focus on making figurals. Their designs are of above average quality and so whimsical and fun to wear.

The second world war interrupted the production of the company when Abraham closed the doors of the company and enlisted in the army for a two year tour of duty. He returned to Providence and renamed the company Jonette Jewelry Company - JJ for short - which was a combination of his father's name John and his mother's name Etta.

J.J. Designs are hallmarked simply with the letters JJ on a rectangular cartouche. I've also seen the letters placed directly into the metal itself as well. Most of the designs all had two things in common - great detail and whimsical designs. This is a photo of the hallmark:

The owner, Abraham, retired in 1972 and his son Gordon took over. In 1986 Lisker trademarked the name "Artifacts" which was an ethnic line with an antique finish, designed to look like historical artifacts. Another line at this time were those with a Southwestern motif such as coyotes, cacti, etc. The company closed in 2006.

Cats and dogs were popular subjects, but the company also did brooches and pins in a wide variety of other animal shapes. They also made a range of very interesting sports jewelry with bar pins and charm dangles featuring the sport.

JJ jewelry has always been widely collected by lovers of thematic motifs. Expect the pieces to raise in value with other collectors now that the company has ceased production.

Here are some photos of a few pieces to give you an idea of the whimsical quality of the JJ designs. All pieces are available in my online stores. Just click the photos for more details. Prices range from $9.99 to $14.99.


  1. I, too, share in your love of this jewelry. I have been collecting it for longer that most. In fact all the jewelry that I owned before beginning my actual collecting was from jj. I have a very many of the pieces and expect I will have more. Thank you for the detailed information one jj and Lisker and Lisker. Very informitive.

  2. I just want to echo the previous writer with a grateful thank you from this reader. I am a hobby jewelry maker, so I make most of the jewelry I own and the pieces my family have received. Since the medium I work w/ are silver, gold real pearls and gems. I rarely purchase costume jewelery except when I see what I believe are well made interesting pieces. Several years ago I found an interesting outlet for upscale vintage clothing and jewelry. The pr of jj, earrings she had were not considered to be up to snuff with the lines she carried. So I purchased the lady bug earrings in the lower case for $5.00. I rarely wear them but do enjoy seeing them in my jewelry box.

  3. Hi, this is Jim Anderson again, I wanted to up date my last submission to this site. I am now the owner of over 600 pieces of Jonette Jewelry. As I said before, I have been collecting for a long time. It is important to know that while the "doors closed" on the company Jonette Jewelry, the line is still alive and well. It is operating under a new name with all the rights to use the makers mark JJ (in arial). So collect to your hearts content but, if you want the real McCoy do your due diligence and know an old piece from a new one. As in all reproductions the quality is not the same.

  4. I started designing jewelry in late 2009 but life took an unexpected turn with aging parents. I painfully packed my supplies & beloved components up in boxes not sure if I would ever be able to come back to creating. Tragedy & pain take an awful toll on the creative juices, it's like I was reprogrammed & no longer able to dream of new designs. Having to clean out my Mother's & Grandmother's personal items I found a new love for Vintage. I found that even in tragedy a blessing can be found. I tweaked my Etsy shop from all handcrafted to now Vintage & Handcrafted items. It leaves the door open for me to come back to creating If in fact I can get my creativity back. Vintage has been an amazing journey over the past year. Even though I lost thousands of Facebook & Twitter Followers during my year leave I hope to be able to regain new ones. Most importantly I want to belong to communities that make this vintage journey even more interesting! Sorry for the long post. Blessings ~Tracy~