Shiny green Christmas trees, perfectly unique snowflakes, jolly Santa faces, and button-nosed snowmen are among the most popular Christmas jewelry designs. Decorations for your clothing at Christmas time has been popular ever since the Victorian age but became very popular in the 1950s after Stanley Hagler created a business as a jewelry designer selling Christmas jewelry. The clothing décor became more complex and beautiful as time went on and other designers such as Larry Vrba, Trifari, and Eisenberg came out with Chirstmas jewelry as well. Everyone was wearing small Christmas trees adorned in little gems of green and red on their clothing. This post will explain the growing industry of Christmas Jewelry in the 1950s and what designers made the look famous. Where did we get red and green as the primary Christmas colors? Where did we get an idea of Christmas trees? Keep reading to find out!
Christmas Jewelry was stated in the Victorian era. The people of those days were known to decorate both their homes and their clothing rather extravagantly. Although the first known use of a Christmas tree was during the 1500s, the Victorian people were the first to make the Christmas tree famous. They thought bringing a large tree in your house, decorating it with fragile ornaments, and laying presents beneath I would be a good idea. Who knew it would become such a staple for the holiday?
But where did the idea of red and green come from? Well, the constant use of evergreen, holly, ivy, and mistletoe was frequent during the winter times. It was a way to brighten up the freezing winter wonderland that occurred every year. It was found that the Romans used to exchange evergreen during the winter time as a way to wish luck to someone. The Chinese culture sees it as a symbol for longevity and the Christian world sees it as a symbol for eternal life. And in the Egyptian culture, the color green is seen as a way to new life and regeneration. Overall, the color green was most likely adopted because of its popularity among evergreen, ivy, and mistletoe during the holidays. It is a way to celebrate the winter but also welcome the spring. Red on the other hand was a symbol of original sin coming from the red apples of the Paradise tree. Also, red holly berries were a symbol for Jesus Christ’s blood. So, this represents the fall of man and his salvation. Red was also the color of St. Nicholas, which influenced the modern Santa Claus’ red suit.
When Christmas jewelry became famous in the 1940s, the most famous design of all was the Christmas tree. It was mainly crafted with red and green rhinestones and gilt metal. They became both a way to express your Christmas joy as well as a way to showcase your style. The man who made the Christmas tree pin famous was Stanley Hagler. A once business advisor, he left his job with Miriam Haskell to start his own jewelry business on a whim. He was described as “Picasso” of jewelry. His work could be called colorful and maybe a little outrageous at times. His unique talent gained him the attention of many rich and famous at the time. Although he used faux pearls, he often strung them individually in order to showcase their beauty while many other designers clumped them together to hide any flaws. Hagler loved to combine both the modern style with an antique twist. However, the thing that set Hagler’s jewelry above everyone else’s was that he created multipurpose designs. A clasp of a necklace could be used as a pin. his innovating thinking an use of good materials are what made him go far. He went on to create jeweled swimming flappers, wigs, and luggage.
Another designer famous for his Christmas tree pins was Larry Vrba. He was also employed at Miriam Haskell Jewelry in the 1970s, a while after Stanley Hagler. However, he quickly became an asset to the company. His work was bold and much like Hagler’s, slightly outrageous. One company, Trifari, was known for its more traditional pins. It was started by Gustavo Trifari in 1910 after entering from Italy onto Ellis Island in 1904. He originally started the company with his uncle, calling it “Trifari and Trifari”, but later broke away to only be known as “Trifari”. His tree pins were quite minimal at times, compared to the bold outlook of Vrba and Hagler.
Overall, Christmas buttons/jewelry has been used since the Victorian era for both fashion and showing the Christmas spirit. The people in this day and age were known for their excessive decorating of both their homes for Christmas and their clothing. They were the era to familiarize the popular practice of cutting down Christmas trees. We often see the colors red and green everywhere around Christmas time because of their origins. Green is from the popular evergreen, ivy, and mistletoes that are hung with care around the holiday season. They are a symbol of eternal life for Christians, longevivity in the Chinese Culture, and new life and regeneration in the Egyptian culture. Red is a symbol for the fall and salvation of man. St. Nicholas, which Santa Claus is based off, wore a red robe, also influencing the color red around the holidays. Designers like Stanley Hagler and Larry Vrba made Christmas jewelry popular again from the 1940s-1970s. They were most famous for the Christmas tree design, one of the staple traditions of the holiday season.
Dean, Tonya. (Why Red and Green? The History of Holiday Jewelry Colors). ThingsGrandmaKept. Accessed on November 26, 2018. Retrieved from https://thingsgrandmakept.com/holiday-jewelry-colors/