Ciner Jewellery & Compact Mirrors History & Heritage

Ciner Jewellery & Compact Mirrors History & Heritage

In 1892 Emanuel Ciner established his jewellery firm. Ciner specialised in making fine jewellery / jewelry. The premises were located on Maiden Lane in Lower Manhattan. A small and highly skilled set of jewellers, artisans & artists created pieces that would have been described today as high jewellery.




This remarkably inventive team sought to fine tune jewellery making. One of their patents was for an “Improved Ear-Ring” (1890).

COMBINED MATCH-BOX AND CIGAR-CUTTERCiner, New York. Filed Feb. 8, 1908. Serial No. 414,873. 1. A match-safe, comprising of a cigar cutter.


Ciner was a remarkable man and his work ethic propelled the company to be one of the most well known in America. Emanuel Ciner was still working until 1958 when he was aged 92.

In the 1920s Emanuel’s sons, Irwin & Charles joined the business as apprentices.

Their children would go on to follow in their footsteps. 

Techniques and skills such as enamelling, rubber moulding and casting were perfected by Irwin Ciner until he was completely happy with the results.

Charles Ciner’s forte was marketing and he proved to be an excellent team leader of the sales department.

The Wall Street Crash in 1929 affected almost all of Ciner’s clientele and the business suffered badly. Irwin & Charles made the difficult but necessary decision to switch from crafting fine jewellery to costume jewellery. They sought to create jewellery with the look of the high end pieces, without the cost. The techniques involved were no less rigorous and their new designs were very popular. It is said that Ciner was the only luxury jewellery company to make this switch. By 1930 the Ciners had designs made from silver ready for sale. 

Then once modifications had been made to the type of vulcanized rubber used in the moulds, the team continued to craft appealing jewellery made from white metal, which would be even more affordable for their customers. The white metal looked like sterling silver and was as malleable as silver, as well as being highly durable. When problem solving became extremely technical the Ciners enlisted help from their network of contacts. Irwin wanted to develop a much higher quality moulding method and he sought help and advice from his dentist, who was an expert in moulding perfectly smooth inlays. 

Normal business could not continue during WWII, as along with many other issues that arose from the war, metals were very hard to procure, being needed for the war effort. This lack of raw materials severely affected the business and almost bankrupted Ciner. The only way to survive was to join the war effort and the Ciners offered its unique moulding technologies to the US military. The firm joined the munitions business, along with many other American companies. 


                       CINER VOGUE ADVERTISEMENT 1946                          

 After the war Ciner placed glamorous advertisements in Vogue and other prestigious publications with the tagline “Look for the sign of Ciner.” The address of Ciner Mfg. Co. was located at 15 W. 36th ST, New York 18. The advertisement above gives the listed prices as 'RING. ABOUT $50. EARRINGS. ABOUT $40. PLUS TAX'




Ciner knew that their limited edition lines would make their jewellery sought-after and eventually more collectible. The fish brooch shown above was limited to only 100. It was crafted from gold plated sterling silver set atop with simulated pearls. It retailed for $50 plus tax. 




© Metro Goldwyn Mayer 1953


When browsing at the Mariko boutique in New York Elizabeth Taylor chanced upon a delightful Ciner creation. She became a lifelong collector and customer.

By the middle of the twentieth century Ciner was well known for producing vanities which included the matching compacts and lipstick cases for which they are still famed today.





Hollywood stars and starlets were engaged to promote these exquisite creations in lavishly illustrated advertisements. The “Nobody has to make jewelry this exquisite” advertising campaign was launched in The New Yorker and Vogue. It is said in those days that actresses and stars were paid with the products or make-up they were advertising. This could be true…..maybe a year's supply of face powder and a couple of Ciner powder compacts was the fee. Who knows? 

In 1966 a Ciner necklace was featured on the cover of Vogue. By the mid-1960s Ciner were to be found in the most prestigious department stores in America. These included Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, and Lord & Taylor. Ciner also allowed specialty stores around the world to stock their fancy goods. Select stores in London, Paris, New York and Tokyo displayed these exquisite pieces perfectly presented to tempt ladies whilst out shopping. Ciner have a huge following more than half a century after the creation of its luxury vanities and jewellery.

Ciner is still in business today. 

More Ciner, Elgin American, Volupte, Stratton and Kigu compact mirrors.