Staret was a costume jewellery business about whom little is known today. They were in business briefly in the early 1940s and are known for pot metal pieces, often overscale and enamelled and rhinestone set. This 1942 torch brooch is their most well-known design – but mine is a fake, which I knowingly bought as such. The real deal costs a lot (last time I checked, in the vicintiy of $1,000-$1,500) and I really just liked the design and was happy to have it, even if it isn’t the one made by Staret.
This piece is in a lot of collector’s books and web sites; the wonderful jewellery site Morning Glory Antiques has a great array of Staret pieces and the real thing, whose photo I show below. Note the subtle differences in the shape of the flame, the rhinestones on the base of the torch, the nails and the shape and angle of the hand itself. It’s easy to be fooled – even noted costume jewellery historians Carla and Roberto Brunialti used the fake torch in their noted book “A Tribute to America”.