Focus on Designers - William Russer

A 4th of July brooch designed by the legendary William Ruser.

A 4th of July brooch designed by the legendary William Ruser. Click here for more details. Photo ©2018 EraGem Jewelry. 

Vintage designer William Ruser created this patriotic pin, likely to commemorate Independence Day. Crafted in platinum, the pin features six rubies, five blue sapphires, and five round brilliant cut diamonds.

 

William Ruser

William Ruser, born in Philadelphia, began his career in New Jersey, at Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin Jewelers. His skill propelled him into management and eventually into the role of vice president and general manager.

In the late 1930s, the company relocated him to their Beverly Hills office, where his reputation grew. World War II drew him overseas for a tour of duty. Upon returning home, he also returned to jewelry.

 

Ruser Style

During his career with T&HM, Ruser made a purchase of his own from a button maker. Several boxes filled with freshwater Mississippi pearls. He held onto the loose pearls for years, until eventually opening his own store.

Ruser Jewels opened on Rodeo Drive in the late 1940s. Post-war idealism paved the way for Ruser's trademark style. Elegant swans, butterflies, and hummingbirds frolicked next to whimsical poodles, skunks, and squirrels.

Cherubs and pixies played musical instruments and rode on clouds, while young children cast their lines for fish, played golf, and left for adventures like Huck Finn.

Of course, all of these small treasures had one thing in common - the inclusion of baroque freshwater pearls. Those plentiful pearls, saved for most of his career, became the foundation for Ruser style.

 

Hollywood Jewels

William Ruser and his wife Pauline served the elite clientele of Beverly Hills for more than two decades. Movie stars like Barbara Stanwyck, Marlene Dietrich, and Lana Turner wore his designs on film, on the red carpet, and on their own private time, as well.

In fact, just one year after their grand opening, Ruser Jewels created several pieces for Barbara Stanwyck's character in Sorry, Wrong Number. In particular, Ruser crafted an iris brooch and a pair of diamond ribbon earrings for the film.

Stanwyck also brought some of her own personal jewels to the set, including a diamond gardenia brooch which she wore as a pendant on a neck chain. She also owned a pair of earrings that matched the brooch.

Though he closed his salon in 1969, Ruser survived another 25 years in retirement. Van Cleef & Arpels relocated their Beverly Hills salon to Ruser's corner shop at 300 Rodeo Drive, where they still operate to this day.