Find great Renoir jewelry in Goodwill's online stores

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
September 23, 2016

More often than not, jewelry types have an interesting back story of how they became popularized, and Renoir—an ultra-collectible costume jewelry—is no exception.

We can all thank Brooklyn, N.Y. native Jerry Fels for creating the Renoir line. Fels’ journey to becoming a jewelry pioneer is compelling. Growing up, he was steered toward fine arts by his parents and joined the National Academy of Design in New York where he developed painting, sculpture and design skills. Fels worked as an Art Director before joining the Air Force and becoming a fighter pilot during World War II.

Fels—drawing off influence from the Arts and Crafts Movement during the late 1800 and early 1900s—created his company, Renoir of California, in Los Angeles in 1946. Renoir of California specialized in copper jewelry in geometric forms.

Copper jewelry was extremely popular during the 1950s and 60s, and Fels expanded upon his Renoir line by creating Matisse jewelry. Matisse introduced a sparkling enamel to the copper jewelry that attracted celebrities, movie stars and the who’s who of Hollywood. Fels produced his copper jewelry until 1964 when Renoir and Matisse closed business thanks to an evolving fashion industry and lower demand for copper jewelry.

Although, Fels is no longer churning out beautiful Renoir jewelry, that doesn’t mean you can’t hunt down some of his copper pieces at Goodwill. 

What to look for

In the quest to find authentic Renoir copper jewelry pieces, there are a few distinguishable marks. The Matisse line has the Renoir copyright mark in cursive and the Matisse mark on the back of each piece. Early pieces marked with the signature “Hand Made, Renoir California” date 1948-51. Afterward pieces were marked “Renoir.” Prices vary, but usually fall in the $20-$70 range.

Goodwill’s online stores—eBay, ShopGoodwill and Etsy—are all great places to find the perfect Renoir piece, and many will be available during Goodwill’s annual Glitter Sale on Nov. 6-7.


Andrew is a Content Specialist for Seattle Goodwill and has a wealth of writing, communication and digital media experience. He loves all things sports related and owns a treasure trove of memorabilia. He also enjoys storytelling, the outdoors and sugar is his kryptonite.

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