ALICE CAVINESS was a lovely petite blond with a
southern drawl and a dynamic but feminine personality. Beginning her career
as a fashion and glove model, she decided to widen
her horizons and move into the jewelry business in the mid- to late-1940s. Jules
Junquerra, her husband and a
second generation Spaniard, had been in the lamp and shade business, but as
business began to grow, he joined her there instead. From the very
beginning, Alice Caviness' feminine charm and sense of quality showed in
every piece she made.
Walter Smith, my source for the history of the company, began
working for the Alice Caviness Jewelry Company right out of high school in
about 1960. Like many others who worked there, he met Alice and her husband
Jules and became like a member of the family. Walter worked his
way up in the business, becoming one of the sales representatives, and
continued his affiliation with her until he joined New York Police
1973. Even then he and his wife continued working for the company until
1982. Walter says Alice and Jules were one of the most generous, honest
and charismatic couples
he ever knew, and still speaks of them today with great fondness.
From the very beginning, a portion of the Caviness jewelry
was produced in their own factory, but they also imported and commissioned
pieces as well. The jewelry itself was designed by Alice or Millie Petronzio,
her designer. Millie, who later became head
designer at Miriam Haskell Jewelry, worked at Caviness until 1982. They
often worked together by exchanging ideas, examining beads, rhinestones and
findings and selecting color combinations. As far as Walter remembers, they
did not work from sketches.
The first Caviness showroom was at the corner of 5th Avenue and 34th Street
in New York City, but by the mid-50s they had moved to 435 5th
Avenue, where they occupied the fourth and fifth floors. DeMario Jewelry was
on the 6th floor and across the street was Lord & Taylor's. In addition
to the New York showroom, Caviness
had showrooms in Dallas, Texas; Raleigh, North Carolina; Miami, Florida;
Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California, as well as showing at the
trade shows. Her best jewelry sales were in the southwest, and her Dallas
salesman was John Arnolds. Caviness Jewelry was sold only in high-end
boutique and department stores and fine jewelry shops in United States, and
they were very selective as to who carried their jewelry.
In the early 60s in Europe, Alice and Jules found
manufacturers of superb sterling and gold-on-sterling jewelry, cloisonne enamels and
filigrees. Those pieces became a staple in the line, and along with
the "fashion" line, which consisted of rhinestone and bead costume
jewelry, comprised the Caviness collection. Some of the European pieces can
be seen in the 1970 catalogue
by clicking HERE.
As far as Walter knows, only two catalogues were ever produced.... one in
about 1965 and one about in 1970. These catalogues were used in multiple
years, with the prices being updated by inserting new price sheets. All
Caviness jewelry was signed on at least one piece of a parure, but there was never a catalogue done for the
fashion jewelry. Caviness
Jewelry did their major lines in Spring & Fall, bringing many buyers to
the NY showroom during these times.
Walter remembers certain pieces that remained in demand for many years.
Millie Petronzio, head designer for 25 years, made a line called the "Cleopatra"
which included a bib
necklace of aqua oval cabochons joined by antiqued gold tone filigree
diamond shapes. (Millie Petronzio was later the head designer for Miriam
Haskell Jewelry). While it was also made in other colors, the aqua was by far
the most popular and sold for several years. Another set that was very
popular was the lovely green and pastels rhinestone set shown below, item
#C28642. Groups from the fashion line could be run for many years if they
continued to be in demand.
Both Alice Caviness and her husband had a strong sense of style, an honorable attitude
toward business and high ethical standards. In about 1957, Alice Caviness was joined by Lois Steever.
She was originally a sales representative who, about 25 years later in 1982
bought the business from the Cavinesses. Although Ms. Caviness retired to
Florida in about 1980, and died in 1983, Lois Steever carried on with the line until about the year 2000.
Caviness Jewelry is distinctive and unusual,
which explains why it remains so popular today. Since it was a special line
of jewelry with many fewer pieces made than companies like Coro and Trifari,
it is difficult to find today, and very collectible.
CAVINESS green glass with white swirl unusually shaped glass
stones surrounded by blue with gold flecked cabochons, blue, lavender, rose and
yellow rhinestones and artificial pearls 2-1/4" brooch.
glass with white swirl unusually shaped glass stones surrounded by blue
with gold flecked cabochons, blue, lavender, rose and yellow rhinestones
and artificial pearls 14" to 16" necklace, 7" by 1-1/3" bracelet, pearls
2-1/4" brooch and 1-1/4" earrings. See other pieces in this series in
Carole Tanenbaum's "Fabulous Fakes" on page 144.
CAVINESS rhinestone, glass
leaves and artificial pearls hinged bangle, 6-3/4" inside size and 2" across
the face. See other pieces in this series in Carole
Tanenbaum's book "Fabulous Fakes" on page 147. View
CAVINESS brooch of a blue unfoiled rhinestone center with tendrils of
blue, green and clear rhinestone flowers overlapping it, all set into
silver tone, 2-1/4".
ALICE CAVINESS pineapple brooch with dichroic glass peacock eyes and
clear rhinestones, glass leaves, marked on the back "Alice Caviness", 3-1/8"
by 2". I have also seen these crescent-shaped glass elements on German
amber and topaz rhinestones and poured glass brooch, 2-1/3".
and blue cabs and rhinestones 13-16" necklace, 6-1/2" hinged bangle and
copper-colored and iridescent art glass cabochons, yellow and topaz colored
rhinestones with clear rhinestone accents set in gold tone earrings, one
faceted glass bead replaced, 2-1/8".
CAVINESS faux pearl and
blue, yellow and red rhinestones 14-16" necklace, 7" by 1-1/4" bracelet and 1-1/2" earrings.
CAVINESS aqua art glass and
rhinestones 16" necklace, 3-5/8" brooch and 1-1/2" earrings.
CAVINESS white givre and artificial pearls brooch, 2-7/8" by 1-5/8".
tan and yellow glass bead necklace, 21" to 23" long.
CAVINESS green and pink unfoiled
marquis, art glass, black cabochons and clear rhinestones set in antiqued silver
tone 1-5/8" earrings. View
CAVINESS green and pink
unfoiled marquis, black cabochons and clear rhinestones set in antiqued
silver tone 2-1/8" brooch and 2-1/2" earrings.
3-dimensional set of clear rhinestones and faceted crystal beads that
dangle on stems 2-5/8" pin and 1-1/4" earrings all in japanned settings.
ALICE CAVINESS enameled sterling
and marcasite butterfly brooch, marked on the back "Alice Caviness sterling
Germany", 1-1/2". View
ALICE CAVINESS lavender
aurora borealis dangly necklace and button earrings with lavender
faceted glass beads, all set in gold tone, necklace 16-18" wearable
length, clip back earrings 1-1/8".
ALICE CAVINESS Germany sterling bug pin with aqua and blue enameling on the
wings, brown and yellow enamel on the body, marcasites head, red rhinestone eyes
and all in excellent condition circa 1960, 1" by 7/8".
CAVINESS Germany sterling enamel
and marcasite peacock pin, 2-1/2". This can be seen in the
Caviness Catalogue HERE.
GERMAN sterling enamel and
marcasite peacock pin, darker, 2-1/2". It is exactly like the Caviness
piece, but not signed.
sterling silver and enameled rooster pin with marcasites, 1-1/3".
This can be seen in the Caviness Catalogue
CAVINESS sterling enamel
and marcasite basket pin with marcasites, 1-3/4". This can be seen in the
Caviness Catalogue HERE.
ALICE CAVINESS enameled flower
brooch with a butterfly on the top. #C20256 View #C20256
CAVINESS cobalt blue cabochon
and blue, smoke and purple rhinestones brooch with aqua accents.
CAVINESS blue and green rhinestone and faceted bead necklace, as is,
|| CAVINESS aqua green and
black rhinestone kitty pin, 2-1/8".
rose pink, tan and gold tone glass bead earrings, 1-1/4".
aurora borealis swirl brooch.
pink art glass bead earrings, 1-5/8".
CAVINESS green aurora borealis
earrings set in gold tone, 1-1/4". #C62851
ALICE CAVINESS aqua moon
glow rhinestones and aurora borealis necklace and earrings set in gold tone,
necklace 17-1/2" by 3/4", clip back earrings 1-3/4" .
CAVINESS gold tone
pineapple brooch with aqua beads and clear rhinestones, as is.