Barclay Jewelry – Providence, Rhode Island (1947 -1957)
Barclay Jewelry Inc. formed November 17th 1947.1 By Alvin Rice, Robert Rice and jewelry designer Louis Marks, after deciding to split off from Rice and Weiner. As many other articles have stated, there was no direct link between Barclay and McClelland Barclay. However, to say McClelland did not influence the Rices and Marks would be untrue.. As Rice and Weiner produced McClelland Barclay designs prior to his death.2
Whether the Barclay name was chosen to capitalize on McClelland’s name or rather out of respect is a debate which could easily go either way. Yet it suffices to say designer Louis Marks demonstrates the influence, especially in the early Barclay designs.
Simply marked Barclay in a script font during the early years. Louis Marks eye for detail produced excellent jewelry. Barclay designs during the 1940’s into the early 50’s were extremely high quality. Incorporating 12 karat gold to heavily gold fill their pieces as well as some sterling silver. In May of 1948 Barclay began using the trademark shown in Photo:1C on their jewelry 3 to protect their brand.
Early in 1950 Barclay received one of the first copyrights for a jewelry design. Shown in Photo: 1A the Barquet series received a copyright labeled “Barclay; fresh as a breath of spring in the distinctive Barclay finish.” on February 27th, 1950.4
Following marketing successes realized while at Rice and Weiner. Barclay first issued lines which mimicked jewelry worn in popular movies. Photo: 1B shows one such series. A mail order advert for “Jewels of India”, advertised as “From the Land of Mystery and Romance”.
Issued the trademark name “Peltanium” in 1953. Barclay stated the first uses as January of 1953.5 However this trademark appears to have rarely been used. While I have done many searches for examples of jewelry with this mark I am yet to find a single piece with the label.
Barclay Jewelry the Final Years
I have seen many articles claiming Barclay’s jewelry was sold at various department stores (Sears, and Marshall Fields). Yet I have not found any proof searching vintage catalogs or wish books through the years. However, (and this is just an assumption) if Barclay was contracting their designs to these stores. It could explain the drop off in quality and the reason Barclay didn’t sign their jewelry the last few years.
First of all contracting the designs out could have been very competitive. Causing Barclay to cut corners to lower cost. Then there is the fact that most department stores were looking for brands they could label as their own.
At any rate there was a remarkable drop off in quality for Barclay jewelry, and they did stop signing their designs the last few years before closing in 1957.
1: Rhode Island Department of State Historic Corporation Catalog
2: September 1941 Mademoiselle magazine advert “Barclay’s newest creations- wings of gold and silver plate- reach a new high in jewelry designed exclusively for Rice-Weiner.”
3: Collecting Rhinestone & Colored Jewelry 3rd edition by Ellen Tischbein Schroy page 43
4: Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 4, Parts 7-11 A, Number 1 page 117
5: Collecting Rhinestone & Colored Jewelry 3rd edition by Ellen Tischbein Schroy page 138
Photo: 1A Vogue, March 1950
Photo: 1B Ebony, December 1953 – Vol. 9, No. 2
Photo: 1C Collecting Rhinestone & Colored Jewelry 3rd edition by Ellen Tischbein Schroy page 43