About the Artist:
The Florenza jewelry manufacturing company, once a major industry player in New York, was represented by Larry Kasoff, son of the founder, Dan Kasoff. Florenza operated under the name Dan Kasoff, Inc. as a manufacturing industry, and did not start marking its own production jewelry Florenza until around 1949-1950. It is important to note that the Dan Kasoff Corporation came into being about 1945 and before that it was a company without the incorporated name. The jewelry was not marked until Dan Kasoff found out that he could submit an application for "Original Sculptural Expressions" to the Washington, D.C., copyright office. It may have been earlier than 1948 when he began filing. There were three marks used: Florenza in script outside a circle, as well as Florenza in block letters in an oval or rectangle depending on the room, style of the piece and finish that was used.
All of Florenza jewelry was sold through wholesalers who then resold them to the retailers. The name Florenza has nothing to do with city of Florence, Italy, but was an embellishment of Dan Kasoff’s mother's first name, Florence.
Since the company’s inception, Dan Kasoff‘s Florenza designs had a distinctive look, one that belonged to his company exclusively. Thus, the name stuck among collectors: Fabulous Florenza. Dan Kasoff personally oversaw the designs before approval of production, and designed many of pieces himself as well.
Florenza-made products appeared under many other names since Dan Kasoff, Inc., was contracted by various jewelry clients, including Estee Lauder and Revlon. Estee Lauder was quality conscious and only wanted products that had style and class, which is what Florenza always produced. These cosmetics giants carried Florenza’s solid perfume containers. Other famous clients of Florenza were Coro, Weiss, Hattie Carnegie, Capri and Kramer. Florenza-made and Florenza-marked jewelry and boutique items, such as vanity dresser products and decorative accessories (for example, key chains, lipstick caddies, picture frames, jeweled vanity boxes, nodding animal pin cushions and saccharin holders) were sold in fine department stores throughout the United States, including Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdales, Sax Fifth Avenue, and Bonwit Teller.
Florenza produced wonderful Victorian revival examples in ornate brooches, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Only the finest stones were used from Austria, Germany and the Orient; many were made especially for Florenza. Its cameos had two styles — hand-carved shell made in Italy and Wedgwood mocha — all were mounted in ornate 24-karat gold-plated settings. Other exclusive finishes used in its jewelry was termed Florenza Gold, French Gold and French Rose. The famous cheetah brooch with a moveable tail is one example of Florenza’s innovative creations.
His son Larry carried on a tradition that in today’s market has become almost extinct. In 1981, Larry Kasoff was involved in a very bad automobile accident that almost took his life. This forced the company to close its doors. At that time, Florenza was about to introduce a new line of jewelry that was nothing less than magnificent, but that jewelry never made it to the market.
From the mid-1950s comes this vintage brooch depicting a 17th-century garden scene on faux black onyx stone. This unique brooch has a filigree look on a Russian gold-tone metal frame. The traditional “Florenza” hallmark appears at the bottom on the reverse side.
The onyx cameo is in good vintage condition. Only a tiny nick appears in the woman’s billowy dress. The pin and clasp mechanism is in good working order.
This rare garden scene cameo brooch adds great value to any costume jewelry collection or make a great gift for someone who loves cameos.