A 14k Gold and Ruby “Sunday’s Child” Hair Comb, by Ruser, circa 1960’s
Mondays child is fair of face,
Tuesdays child is full of grace,
Wednesdays child is full of woe,
Thursdays child has far to go,
Fridays child is loving and giving,
Saturdays child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay
William Ruser was born in Philidelphia in 1908. At the tender age of 17, he began his jewellery career with reknowned jewellery firm, Traebert & Hoefer Mauboussin. He soon climbed the ranks to become general manager of the company’s Los Angeles branch. While working there, he purchased several boxes of baroque and textured Mississippi freshwater pearls from a button maker.
In 1947, Ruser started his own retail store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills with his wife, Pauline. They soon had a faithful following of Hollywood stars. Celebrities such as Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Loretta Young and Ava Gardner wore Ruser’s pieces both on and off screen. While the firm was widely known for its platinum and diamond jewellery with subtle graduations of form and structure, it was also immensely famous for its brooches made of Mississippi fresh water pearls. Ruser altered the way people perceived freshwater pearls with his artistic renditions of birds, flowers, angels and poodles, all ingeniously composed out of pearls of varying forms and hue. His “Monday’s Child” series, depicting curly haired cherubs or babies, was very popular amongst the Hollywood set.
Ruser retired and closed the doors to his store in 1969. He sold the property to Van Cleef & Arpels, who still operates there today.