One of the most famous costume jewelry brands in fashion history, Napier jewelry graced the wrists, necks, and earlobes of movies stars like Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelley. While most of the company's offerings were gold-plated or made of other metals like sterling silver, a few pieces were made of real gold.
Real Gold Napier Is Rare
Napier Jewelry is mostly known for its astounding array of lovely designs and striking styles instead of precious metals and gems, but according to Collectors Weekly, some pieces did include real gold. This was a very small portion of Napier's offerings.
Eras and Pieces
Napier Jewelry made 14k gold pieces on a very limited basis during the 1950s and 1960s, according to Illusion Jewels, a great resource on costume jewelry history and identification. You may encounter the following gold pieces from Napier:
- Simple, petite earrings in various designs
- Small brooches, sometimes with pearls and little diamonds
- Diaper-style pins, for use on kilts or scarves
Identifying Napier Gold Jewelry
If you suspect you may have a piece of gold jewelry from Napier, examine it carefully. It will feature the Napier mark, which will include the company name, often in block print. It will also be stamped with "14k" to designate the metal content. Any other stamp, such as "gold-plated," indicates that the piece isn't real gold.
Gold, but Not Real Gold
In order for metal jewelry to be sold as gold in the United States, it needs to be at least 10k gold. Anything less is not "real gold" jewelry. Instead of being real gold, many Napier pieces are gold-plated. Collectors Weekly reports that a large number of designs were crafted from gold-plated brass. This is how you can identify them:
- These will have the shine and overall appearance of real gold, but they actually contain only a small amount of gold on their surface. They may feel lighter than a similar piece crafted from gold.
- They will not feature the 14k gold mark. Instead, they may be marked with other FTC-approved identifiers like "14k gold plated," "gold filled," or "gold plated."
- Gold-plated Napier jewelry can come from any era in the company's history, beginning with its first production of costume jewelry in the 1920s.
- Many of these pieces will feature artificial gems and crystals, although they are often very fine quality.
Solid Gold Style
Whether a Napier item is real gold, it's a lovely piece of fashion history. The outstanding designs set this costume jewelry company apart from the competition and make them famous for their solid gold style.