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Coro Rockfish
An open question -- did Coro make both a close-finned and open-finned version of its famous design -- the Rockfish?

We have assembled a series of pictures of several versions labeled (CG), (SK), and (JLE) in the hopes we can provide enough detail so that we can get some answers.

The final 3 pictures are courtesy of Bobye Syverson and are reproductions of the fish in both silver and gold colored metal.  These repros were never intended to deceive a buyer looking for the real thing!

UPDATE:  I received this reply to our questions from Gene and Ron Verri:
Dear Cathy,
My father and I have examined the Rockfish pictures on your website.  First, I want to compliment you on your diligence and interest in ascertaining as much of the story as possible.  My father's first recollection on the Rockfish was that Mr. Roy Marcher asked him to make a pin with an open mouth fish.  The very first version is the one in which the stone holes have open backs.  This treatment was used to reduce weight and save on cost. You might ask "Why were other styles developed?"  Several reasons (1) When an item sold well there was always interest in making a low cost version.  Note: that the rockfish with the closed fins has fewer stones.  It would have sold at a lower retail price. (2) Sometimes a catalogue or store would ask for an item on an exclusive basis.  A "kissing cousin" would be made to satisfy this need.  We do not believe that any of the pictures you have shown represent counterfeit pieces.  With regard to a pot metal or base metal version of the rockfish, after WW II ended and production shifted from back to base metal from sterling, it is likely that the rock fish was offered in base metal.  I hope this has been helpful.  Again, thank you for your interest.

Ron Verri
Gem-Craft, Inc
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Cathy, thanks for your diligence on this! The information I previously presented in my 'fakes' presentations on the rockfish - now invalid. Additionally, the information from Ron Verri puts a different perspective on Coro and its manufacturing philosophy . . . they were in business to make money, and so of course they might recycle a popular design or make differing versions at different price points. A good thing to keep in mind when looking at, and researching, any particular Coro piece.

I am lucky enough to own one of the oldest of the Coro rockfishes, and I also have the version provided by Bobye.
Deb Kosnett | www.retro-jewels.com, Sun, 14 Jul 2013 6:44AM
Wonderful pictures of this gorgeous creature. I'd love to own one of my own.
My compliements go out to you.
karla, Mon, 28 Sep 2009 1:50PM
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Enlarge photo 1
(CG) Coro rockfish -- front view.  Largest loop of fin on left is bent.

Enlarge photo 2
(SK) Front view of rockfish.  Note that the rhinestones on the fish's body are in groups of 4 and the fins are all rhinestones.  Prior fish's fins are rhinestones interleaved with gilt metal.

Enlarge photo 3
(SK) Front view of rockfish.

Enlarge photo 4
(JLE) Front view from Jennifer Lynn's friend.

Enlarge photo 5
(CG) Coro rockfish -- side view showing gilt metal scales on left side.  Note prong setting for large rhinestone in mouth.

Enlarge photo 6
(CG) Coro rockfish -- view of rhinestone setting and style and closed fin.  Note how the rhinestones and gilt metal alternate on the fin.

Enlarge photo 7
(JLE) -- Closer view of fin and mouth.

Enlarge photo 8
(CG) Back of Coro rockfish showing placement of signature plaque, rivets on fins, texture and color of plating.  There are a number of breaks in the metal, showing the fragility of this piece, particularly on the thin fin "loops."

Signature is Sterling CoroCraft with the Pegasus.

Enlarge photo 9
(SK) Back of open fin rockfish.  Note Coro Craft Sterling plaque has rounded ends, but this is consistent with this plaque style.  

Some similarities:
- Both the main fins and the tail fin have the same number of loops
- the fin on the left is similarly asymmetric
- the placement of the rivets appears to be the same

Some differences from the closed fin version:

- metal back shows marks where rhinestones are set
- mouth stone is foiled
- more metal at base of tail fin
- top of the tail fin is smooth rather than having the fin bars extended above
- plaque is on different fin and marked Coro Craft Sterling

Enlarge photo 10
(SK) Another view of the back of the open-finned version.

Enlarge photo 11
(JLE) Back view. Note 3rd location of signature plaque.  Also, this fish is smooth metal with no rhinestone holes.

Enlarge photo 12
(JLE) Close-up of signature.  Wonder what the hole is above the rivet on the left?

Enlarge photo 13
(CG) Signature plaque and more metal details.  Also note how the ends of the tail fin metal extend beyond the edge.

Enlarge photo 14
Signature plaques from the Coro Willet series.  The birds are two different colors and each has a different Coro Craft Sterling plaque.  

Plaque sizes, using digital caliper:
- Oval: 0.41 " x 0.198"
- Rectangle: 0.446" x 0.209"

Enlarge photo 15
(CG) Coro Craft Sterling signature plaque for reference purposes from another Coro piece (not the fishies).  These are soldered to the metal.

Enlarge photo 16
(SK) Signature plaque close-up.

Enlarge photo 17
(CG) Pin stem from front on.  Typical Coro mechanism with two pronged thumb-thingey.

Enlarge photo 18
(SK) Pin closure from Sande's fish -- appears to be a replacement.  Definitely different in shape as well as attachment point.

Enlarge photo 19
(CG) Pin stem -- side view.  You can also see the back view of the metal where the large rhinestone is placed.

Enlarge photo 20
Reproduction Coro rockfish in silver metal.

Courtesy of Bobye Syverson.

Enlarge photo 21
Reproduction of Coro rockfish in gold metal.

Courtesy of Bobye Syverson.

Enlarge photo 22
Back of reproduction Coro Rockfish.

Courtesy of Bobye Syverson.

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