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Tuesday, July 1, 2008


With gold currently running at $944 an ounce, silver seems like a weak cousin to investors. But as an investment or in jewelry, silver is definitely more affordable. And there are some of us, myself included, who love the look of silver. If you're one of them, and if you like vintage jewelry as well, then let me introduce you to Am Lee Sterling Silver.

The Am Lee name was first used by a company in Providence, Rhode Island in 1946 and appeared on their brooches, bracelets, pendants and earrings.

If you haven't seen a lot of Am Lee jewelry, that's because it's quite scarce, especially the pieces in Sterling Silver, like the one shown here. But it's reasonably easy to recognize. The pieces I've owned are so similar: they all had clear rhinestones and absolutely beautiful and detailed filigree in their designs. Their logo, as shown in the second picture always reads "Am Lee Sterling".

But there are other designers whose designs are so close to Am Lee you really have to look for a signature. I have one on my site at VINTAGE JEWELRY SHOWCASE that bears such a striking resemblance to the design of the Am Lee above, but this one is made by "Espo". It's a lovely piece too. Slip over and take a look. It's only $25.

The thing about Am Lee that makes it valuable to a collector is its scarcity. I once read in a book on vintage costume jewelry that if you come across a piece signed Am Lee Sterling, snap it up. They are so hard to find. Well I've proved that for myself: each time I found an Am Lee Sterling piece ... and I've only found 3 ... they were sold within days of my listing them in my Ruby Lane Shop. The one shown here is the only Am Lee Sterling set that I have left. With matching screw-on earrings, it's just been reduced to $28! Go grab it before someone else does. It's a rare beauty in great condition! Click any photo to go there now.


Dmitriy said...

I have an Am Lee Sterling piece. I absolutely love the design! I had a very odd feeling though about the look and feel of the metal that it is made out of -- it did not feel silver to me. Well, recently I used a simple magnet test on it, and guess what -- it clings to the magnet! And not just the lock, but the chain and the pendant-piece too! Some "sterling" that is! "Sterling what?" - is the question. Some claim that the pieces marked "925" or "sterling" may display ferromagnetic properties because of the nickel used in the alloy (92.5% Ag + 7.5% Ni)... Well, to this I say: "why doesn't all silver items cling to magnets then?". Looks like the An Lee jewelry is, albeit beautiful, is only plated costume jewelry. It doesn't tarnish, it has an unusual for silver luster and has a grayer more nickel-like appearance that regular jewelry silver. What a pity. I guess, I'll only be using it to make a cast at my jewelers to make beautiful work out of a real noble metal.

Pia said...

I own a delicate 12KGF pair of Am Lee screw back earrings with a real pearl and a tiny blue aquamarine each. A very beautiful set of earrings! I never came across anything like it. Am Lee jewelry is really unique and special and I'm so glad I could add at least one piece to my collection of vintage costume jewelry.

Margie Hillebrecht said...

Am Lee pieces are rhodium plated to keep from tarnishing and scratching. The Sterling Silver is given a nickel under-plate prior to Rhodium plating. The nickel is magnetic and causes a magnetic attraction. Hence magnetic silver!

Maggiescornerstore on Etsy


Thanks for contributing to our knowledge of Am Lee Maggie. As I no longer sell costume jewelry and very little silver, if any, I'm sure this will be helpful for others who do buy and sell it.

Pinky Passionista said...

Yes, AM LEE is extremely rarer to find as I have been dealing for 20 years and just came across my very first piece yesterday. I own a brick and mortar antique-vintage jewelry store. Remember, in 1946 they were still using the metals for warfare during the WWII era and sterling was being used for costume. Eisenberg, Coro, Miriam Haskell, and Trifari are to name a few.

It was much more expensive to use during the war and they had a time adding the rhinestones to the sterling, although it kept these companies from going under in such a deep, dark era.

In my research it only shows AM LEE in 1946 and only for sterling. If you find one, hold onto it...they are quite lovely pieces of history!