Miriam Haskell's tale is one of passion, ambition, and ingenuity. Born on July 1, 1899, in the small town of Cannelton, Indiana, young Miriam's love for jewelry wasn't just a hobby. It was a calling. Guided by this fervor and supported by her father, a successful businessman, she set out for the bustling streets of New York. Here, she established her first shop in the McAlpin Hotel, signaling the start of an empire.<br><br> But every empire needs its leaders. While Miriam was the visionary, and commonly referenced as the sole artisan, she knew she needed a craftsman to breathe life into her designs. Enter Frank Hess. Under their combined talents, the brand burgeoned throughout the 1930s, not just domestically but on international shores too. Their secret? A fusion of impeccable craftsmanship, with pieces meticulously hand-wired, and Hollywood glamor as their jewelry adorned countless movie stars.<br><br> The Haskell brand is instantly recognized for its faux pearls. However, the company's offerings were vast, incorporating high-quality simulated pearls, imported glass beads, rhinestones, and more. Each Haskell piece, characterized by its meticulous hand-wired construction, showcased impeccable craftsmanship and finish. The 1940s, however, posed a challenge, during WWII, due to material scarcities, the company creatively utilized alternatives like wood, seashells, and plastics, while still maintaining its signature touch.<br><br> By the 1950s, as Miriam's health began its decline, the brand faced another shift. Control transferred to her brothers, and eventually, a carousel of designers—Robert Clark, Peter Raines, and the acclaimed Lawrence Vrba among them—joined, each infusing their unique touch, yet preserving the Haskell legacy.<br><br> And what of the pieces themselves? Initially, they lacked a signature. But post-1947, each bore the mark of its creator - from the early "Miriam Haskell" stamped in a circle, to the recognizable "horseshoe", followed by the more recognized Miriam Haskell oval cartouche. Today, genuine Miriam Haskell pieces are distinguishable by their unique design elements and meticulous craftsmanship, although there are similar styles in the market from former Haskell factory designers and workers.<br><br> Miriam Haskell's jewelry stands as a testament to a woman's journey from a small town to the pinnacle of the jewelry world. Each piece, whether adorned with faux pearls, rhinestones, or unique materials like Murano glass, tells a story. A story of ambition, passion, and undying artistry.