The Napier Co.'s most famous bracelet, the “Mamie Eisenhower,” reportedly had only two copies in existence: one in the Smithsonian, and one in company archives. Jewelry historian Melinda Lewis exposes this myth and tells the real story (and number) of this historic bracelet.
Online PR News – 25-November-2012 – Benicia, CA – After nearly six decades, the mystery surrounding the Napier Mamie Eisenhower bracelet has finally been revealed. In December 1954, women’s editor Edyth Radom, of The Hartford Currant, wrote an exposé on The Napier Co. Featured in the article was Napier’s most famous bracelet, dubbed by collectors today as the “Mamie Eisenhower” bracelet. In the article, readers were told that only two bracelets existed; one bracelet worn by Mamie Eisenhower, and another kept secure under lock and key by The Napier Co. The caption under the detailed sterling bracelet read, “There will be no others.” This was a myth.
While doing research, Melinda L. Lewis, jewelry historian and author of The Napier Co.: Defining 20th Century American Costume Jewelry (Life By Design Publishing, 2012, www.thenapierbook.com), learned that in 1991, Barbara Bush also became a recipient of the famous bracelet. To find the true story about how many bracelets actually existed, Lewis engaged in over 10 years of research and spoke with over 50 ex-employees, from CEO's to jewelry designers to plant managers.
“When we are dealing with limited-edition collectibles, we have to be sure the provenance is correct. I had to question the 1950s marketing of this piece." said Melinda. "In the process, I not only resolved the mystery of the Mamie Eisenhower bracelet, I’ve uncovered lots of common misunderstandings about The Napier Co. and brought to light hundreds of previously unknown facts about the company’s product—especially the jewelry lines.”
It turns out that there were actually 25 bracelets made, which were not destroyed as the original story went. They were distributed ... 8 of the 25 are now accounted for, with several lucky collectors yet to find the remaining 17.
Lewis tells the whole story about the bracelet in her 1,000 page book on The Napier Co., which covers the company history decade by decade from the years 1875-2000. With over 4000 images, this visual encyclopedia is the authoritative reference on Napier jewelry, including sixty pages devoted just to findings and trademark history to accurately circa-date the jewelry.
"Forget about what you used to think about Napier. It’s a hidden treasure in the collectibles market of vintage jewelry," says Lewis. "If you go by name only and believe that Napier produced exclusively modest tailored pieces, you’re going to miss out an opportunity to purchase some phenomenal jewelry."
To learn more about the Mamie Eisenhower bracelet or Napier jewelry go to her website, TheNapierBook.com. Reserved copies of her limited edition book are available until December 31, 2012.