by Patricia Gostick

© 2006

Barclay bird brooch Brunialti and Brunialti explain that, after a split in the Rice-Weiner Company in 1946, Barclay Jewelry was formed, “but didn't have anything to do with Rice-Weiner or McClelland Barclay.” (A TRIBUTE TO AMERICA, p. 39) The authors further explain that the Rice-Weiner Company continued in the retail trade until 1950, and then produced jewelry for wholesalers, presumably using anonymous designers.

There obviously was some cross-pollination among the designers and owners of these companies, as Mr. Mark formed the Barclay Company with Alvin and Robert Rice and was its chief designer. He could not help but bring with him some of the ideas and designs used at the Rice-Weiner Company. Even the name chosen for the new company is deliberately confusing, it seems!
Referring to the McClelland Barclay name, Mr. Rezazadeh remarks that “The Jeweler's Circular” lists this trademark as belonging to “Rice-Weiner & Co.”, although he does not state the year of the Circular. He suggests that Rice-Weiner “may have been the producer or acquired the trademark after Barclay's death.” (p. 111) If this is true, for how many years after his death were his designs, or those attributed to him, produced? The Barclay Company was apparently in business until 1957. Did it also use the McClelland Barclay name on any of its designs? Is it possible that the production of McClelland Barclay jewelry lasted several years longer than the five year span normally cited? These questions require a lot more sleuthing on my part! McClelland Barclay horses brooch
McClelland Barclay bracelet

McClelland Barclay bracelet back
The fourth group of McClelland Barclay jewelry is comprised of those pieces with no signature. Sometimes the impressed signature is very faint after years of wear, but in some cases, it is non-existent. I have a sterling lamb bracelet that is unsigned, although the matching brooch is fully signed. (And Jane Clarke, owner of the website, , informs me that her identical bracelet is signed in the usual way: “STERLING SILVER/McClelland Barclay.”) I also have a pair of Art Deco earrings and a small Deco crest-shaped clip that are unsigned. Of the four medium-sized maple leaf clips that I own, three are unsigned; the fourth has the full signature on an applied plaque. As well, I have seen Art Moderne parures, both on Ruby Lane and eBay, which were unsigned, and which looked like authentic McClelland Barclay items.

On the whole, though, I would be wary of buying unsigned pieces, because much of what I have seen offered online, does not appear to be genuine McClelland Barclay jewelry. The colours of the rhinestones are not right - McClelland's were limited to one shade of blue, red, green, purple, golden yellow (amber) or clear - alone or in combination. Pretty turquoise, peridot, lavender, pink and other pastel shades are Barclay signature colours, and not McClelland Barclay's. Sometimes, the design is not close enough to his, although I am amazed at how many new Art Deco and Art Moderne variations keep popping up on eBay! McClelland Barclay jewelry does not contain pearls, lacy filigree or enamel work, and although different chains and clasps were used during the period in which his jewelry was produced, here too, the range is limited and recognisable. So why were some authentic pieces unsigned? Did they mistakenly leave the factory unmarked, or is there a more sinister explanation? Again, further detective work will be required!
I have endeavoured, in this article, to expand upon the information contained in most costume jewelry books, about the ways in which McClelland Barclay jewelry is signed - full signature, surname only, partial signature and no signature I will be intensifying my research into his life and would welcome any anecdotes or information that readers might have about McClelland Barclay. As for the who, why, where, when questions that I posed about the production of Mac's jewelry, I feel that I am a bit like Steve following Blue's clues (a children's TV show!) A review of the pertinent issues of Women's Wear Daily and other period magazines should provide some answers. By putting all the clues together, I will have a clearer understanding of the mysteries surrounding McClelland Barclay jewelry! McClelland Barclay dove brooch


by Patricia Gostick

© 2008

McClelland Barclay pearl fish pin

The interesting thing about researching vintage costume jewelry, is the constant learning that occurs. In 2006, when I wrote this article about McClelland Barclay jewelry, I stated that no pearls were used in his pieces. And, until about a month ago, I believed this to be true!
In August 2008, Andy Brown sent me photos of a double fish brooch, signed McClelland Barclay. I have the exact same brooch, but Andy's had pearls in the holes representing the bubbles from the fishes' mouths, whereas mine did not. But when I checked my brooch closely, I discovered that the empty holes had glue residue in them, and I believe that, because of the shape of the cavities, pearls, rather than rhinestones, were originally in my pin, as well. And in one of those wonderful coincidences that sometimes happen, shortly after receiving Andy's email, Dorothy Bickmore sent me photos of a fabulous cuff bracelet. It was signed McClelland Barclay, and it had pearls in it, which appeared to be part of the original design. If I had any lingering doubts about pearls in authentic McClelland Barclay jewelry, the cuff bracelet convinced me of the need to revise my opinion. So, thanks to Andy and Dorothy for sharing their photos, and adding to our knowledge about McClelland Barclay jewelry.

**Fish Brooch photos courtesy Andy Brown.

I always welcome any comments, enquiries or information about McClelland Barclay's creations. -- Patricia Gostick
McClelland Barclay pearl fish pin back McClelland Barclay signature

For information on the findings used by Barclay, read this article:


Barclay, McClelland. “I'm in the Navy Now!,” in Coronet, March 1942, pp.17 - 25.
Brunialti, Carla Ginelli & Brunialti, Roberto. AMERICAN COSTUME JEWERLY: 1935-1950. Milan: Mazzotta, 1997.
Brunialti, Carla Ginelli & Brunialti, Roberto. A TRIBUTE TO AMERICA: COSTUME JEWELRY 1935-1950. Milan: Edita, 2002.
Rezazadeh, Fred. COSTUME JEWELRY: A PRACTICAL HANDBOOK & VALUE GUIDE . Paducah, Kentucky: Collector Books, 1998.
Todaro, Sandra. “MCCLELLAND BARCLAY the artist who went to jail,” in Vintage Fashion & Costume Jewelry, Volume 11, No. 3, Summer 2001, pp. 10 - 13.

Patricia Gostick lives in Toronto, Canada and can be reached by email at .

See additional information on McClelland Barclay jewelry at Researching Costume Jewelry - B.

Page 1: McClelland Barclay

Researching Costume Jewelry Home      More Jewelry Designer Articles

Copyright 1997 to present -- -- All Rights Reserved.

Background courtesy Pat Hamm of Granny's Jewelry Box

Vintage Costume Jewelry