From humble beginnings in a small NYC shop Coro grew to become the largest manufacturer of costume jewelry. Coro proudly describes their manufacturing facility in Providence, RI...
"The lighting is perfect, and shining glass windows provide excellent ventilation. A large cafeteria and a parking lot are provided for the convenience of employees. Musak is another feature and rest periods relieve the afternoon hours".
In 1951 Coro produced a History and Sales Manual in honor of the company's 50th anniversary. The photographs and quoted text on this web page are taken from this handbook, which was generously shared by Stacey Rosoff.
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enlarge 35KB, 639x266 1 Coro Factory in Providence, RI - 1951
By 1951 this world class factory, constructed in 1929, occupied 172,000 square. It was looked upon as the most modern jewelry factory in the world and was equipped with the most modern machinery geared to turn out a tremendous volume of quality merchandise, which made Coro the manufacturer of the largest volume in the industry.
Coro was acquired by Richton International in 1957 and continued to produce costume jewelry out of the Providence factory until 1979.
In 1951, this was the only other Coro factory mentioned in Coro's 50th Aniversary handbook. Reportedly a Coro factory had been opened in England in 1933 but it is unknown if it was still in operation in 1951. After Coro ceased US operations in 1979, Coro jewelry continued to be made in this Toronto factory until the late 90s, producing Coro, Vendome and Oscar de la Renta lines.
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enlarge 78KB, 640x470 4 DESIGNING
"Coro's corps of expert designers are men whose experience has been in the real jewelry field, working with diamonds and platinum. They have found a wider field for their creative talents in Fashion Jewelry."
In "Jewels of Fantasy" Deanna Farneti Cera writes "As in fine jewelry, the more original the designer employed by a firm is, the more his name is kept secret." Presumably this protected their competitive positions. Coro was no exception. Virtually all of Coro's design patents were secured in the name of Adolf Katz, Coro's chief designer. Although it is unknown if these were free-lance or Coro employees, the following names also appear on a very limited number of Coro design patents - Gene Verrecchio, Oscar Placco, Sidney Pearl, Robert Geissman, Lester Gaba, Charles Pauzat, Carol McDonald and Victor di Mezza.
enlarge 88KB, 640x450 5 SAMPLE AND MODEL MAKING
"These artists draw the original design which, after approval by the chief designer, is passed along to a model maker who hand carves the model from which the mold is made..."
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enlarge 82KB, 640x447 7 TOOL ROOM
"Styles of ornamenting metals: CHASING - surface of metal is carved or engraved for decorative effect. FILIGREE - fine wire or beading bent into openwork designs PIERCED - openwork all cut out of one piece of metal EMBOSSING - consists in building up a design in metal above the surface..."
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Syles of metal cont'd... "CASTING - molten metal poured into molds in which designs have been formed. INLAY - consists in filling engraved areas with a contrasting metal so that the surface of the metal lies even with that of the surrounding area HAND HAMMERING - is used to achieve a textural look on the surface of the metal ENGRAVING - consists in carving a design down into the body of the metal"
enlarge 74KB, 640x442 9 STAMPING
"Most Fashion Jewelry is made of brass or white metal bases. Practically all brass pieces are made with dies by a stamping process. The die has two parts - front and back."
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"The brass is inserted between the two parts and by use of a drop hammer the brass blank is converted into a design which is later pierced and trimmed. It then goes through a series of operations: Soldering, Polishing, Plating, Lacquering, Stone Setting"
enlarge 82KB, 640x446 11 POLISHING
"Polishing increases the highlights of the design - eliminates scratches and rough edges, and brings out the natural lustre of the base metal."
enlarge 67KB, 432x640 12 POLISHING
enlarge 96KB, 640x459 13 PLATING
"A heavy coating of copper is plated on the struck piece and then a heavy coating of bright nickel is added. This is Coro's preventative plate to insure against tarnishing. The final plating is then given in any desired color - gold, silver, old English, antique."
enlarge 141KB, 530x640 14 PLATING
"1. A "bright finish" is a high polish with a smooth mirror-like shine. 2. A "satin finish" looks burnished, or without lustre. 3. An "oxydized finish" is a dark finish achieved by treating the surface with acid or chemical salts. This gives an antique look. 4. A "rhodium finish" is one which gives the metal a high silver effect polish and prevents tarnishing. Is one of the rarer metals and is used because of its hardness and lasting qualities."
enlarge 88KB, 640x452 15 LACQUERING ROOM
"To give additional durability, the pieces are sprayed with lacquer and baked in an oven at more than 250 degrees."
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enlarge 79KB, 640x447 17 STONE SETTING
"This is the final operation and the finished jewelry is now passed along to the inspection department where each piece is carefully examined."
"Rhinestones or chatons are sparkling round bits of a special glass composition which simulate real diamonds. These are cut and faceted and backed with foil to give them higher lustre and added sparkle."
enlarge 102KB, 640x547 18 STONE SETTING
"Styles of stone setting: CUP - a hemisphere of metal in which stone is placed; closed at bottom PRONG - small fingers of metal which clasp stone CLAMP - same principle as prong setting but the metal fingers are larger BEZEL - a band of metal worked decoratively around the stone; open or closed at bottom GYPSY - metal is hammered around entire edge of stone. Especially popular for men's rings."
enlarge 85KB, 640x436 19 PEARL ROOM
"Simulated pearls are beads made to resemble real pearls in a most striking manner. In 1656 a French rosary maker named Jacquin discovered that a lustrous substance found in water in which a certain species of fish had been washed could be used to give a pearl effect to beads..."
enlarge 98KB, 462x640 20 PEARL ROOM
"...Ever since, men have experimented with, and finally perfected this coating called "Pearl Essence". The quality of the simulated pearl is determined by the fineness of the essence used and the number of coats applied. Hand polishing of the beads, and knotting between the beads also add to the price of the finished string of pearls."
enlarge 80KB, 640x443 21 SHIPPING
"Stores in practically every city in the world proudly display and sell Coro jewelry. Every season buyers from all over the world come to the New York showrooms."