History Of Tura Eyewear

On one of the forums we participate in, the question came up who started the whole luxury eyewear bit. In one of the forums, it was asked who started the Luxury Eyewear Market. Whilst they were naming various companies from the 70’s and 80’s, in actuality, luxury eyewear started back in the stone ages! HaHa, but in the 1500’s anyone who wore glasses or had glasses- well then it was considered a luxury item. Until the advent of the printing press and books became more common, is when eyeglasses became mainstream.

The first real luxury eyewear in our lifetime probably came from Tura. Back in 1949 an optician, Monroe Levoy on Madison Avenue in New York started an eyewear company called Tura. His optical shop was named The House of Levoy, the name Tura came from Futura Mirror. Ever the father of invention, in the 1940s Levoy introduced the “Turanette,” a double tiara design on a lightweight metal frame that held hair in place.

Tura Tiara

Tura Hair Accessory And Eyewear, dual functionality!


In 2011 Alain Mikli launched his ‘Comb Eyewear’ Not jeweled, but as you can see, the same concept. He is creating this in conjunction with John Paul Gaultier

Back to 1949, the Levoy family ran an ad for their business which said: “Because women who wear glasses realize that there is no such thing as inconspicuous glasses, spectacle frames assume their logical place as a fashion accessory.”

The date on this November 14, 1949, Introducing Color and multiple pairs and eyewear as a fashion accessory. Back then women work hats and gloves.

Colortura Kits

Tura was one of the first to include Leather as a temple adornment. Eyewear became an important fashion accessory for men. Love the case, it is all part of the presentation.


Tura became known as the top fashion eyewear  (and luxury eyewear companies) in the United States. Women and Men were encouraged to have a wardrobe of eyewear to match their clothing. Tura even sold matching jewelry and frame sets for women and matching cufflinks and frame sets for men.

Tura was also one of the first to use aluminum in eyewear. Aluminum was also used by Neostyle (1970’s)  and Revue (1980’s)


Tura was known for their jeweled eyewear- women should have a special and fancy pair for evening wear. They also used Sterling Silver. Tura vintage frames today sell for up to $200.


In the 1970′s -1980′s Tura sales reps (all women) working on a Mary Kay type of model were leader in setting up Eyewear Trunk shows in which they matched color scarves to the wearers clothing and accessories. Remember Color Me Beautiful?

Tura had many first’s in the optical industry, they were one of the first to use leather, they had wood eyewear, they were one of the first to offer real diamonds and gemstones in eyewear. (in our lifetime)

Tura 1986

In the 1980′s one of the most famous Tura Frames was the double circle


The 1980′s- 1990′s brought about a couple of their best sellers. The Facet Frame and the Tura 311 which came in a million colors.

Tura was one if not the first eyewear companies to advertise in consumer fashion magazines such a Vogue.

Tura In Vogue Magazine

The Classic Tura Faceted


In 2009, Tura and Eschenbach Eyewear merged. The Eyewear brands Tura distributes  are Bogner, Brendel, Crush, Goldfinch, Humphries, Lulu Guiness, Ted Baker, Marco O’Polo, Tura, Titanflex, Tourneau;

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  1. When I was a boy growing up in the ’60s, my father would go on and on about Monroe Levoy. In my dad’s estimable opinion, Mr. Levoy was a genius far, far ahead of his time. According to my father, Mr. Levoy had written a book as well. Does anyone know of this book? Might someone have a copy?

  2. Thanks Cathy for posting such an incredible article! Tura laid the foundation for the modern fashion eyewear movement without question. When I started as a rep in the 80’s, I had the good fortune of coming across a box of “Tura tapes”. These conversational training cassettes were amazing. Bart Levoy and his sales manager at the time Selena (last name escapes me-help me people) had these in depth conversations about topics like selling eyewear wardrobes, color, accessorizing, dealing with price objections, empowerment and “going for the gold”. I listened to those tapes 100x at least and frankly borrowed a lot of their ideas. To this day, (today, 3 hours ago included), I expand on these concepts in an effort to build sales of eyewear wardrobes
    Sadly, the industry has regressed tremendously since Tura’s hey day. The truth is that multiple pair sales are an anomaly in most practices. The single pair mentality is a total cop out from professional responsibility. Come on industry, wake up and start selling again, like Tura advocated, back when. You Can Do It!

  3. Cathy,
    As someone who sold a boatload of Tura 311’s in the 90’s, I loved this article and the comments from both Bill and Robert.

  4. What a fabulous article, so much interesting history, I want those tiara glasses!

  5. Teri Johnson says:

    Thanks, Cathy! I am a Tura rep in Dallas, Tx. I appreciate Tura’s rich history in the eyewear industry. I, myself have been in the industry since 1984. I was an optician for many, many years before becoming a Tura rep 7 years ago. I have sold many of the Turas pictured above. Oh, those facets! I could not keep them in stock! People adored them!

    Thanks for the reminder on what an awesome company I represent. I am so proud to be a Tura rep!

  6. Brian K. Stewart says:

    Robert, the name of Mr. Monroe Levoy’s book is “The Art of Positive Dispensing”. It was published in 1968 by Official Publications, Inc. New York, NY. The only copy that I have is signed by Monroe. Written in the book it says ” To the one, the only “Saleta” who knows all these questions and the answers with my everlasting confidence.” He of course was referring to Saleta Stewart, which answers Bill’s question.

  7. Bob Levoy says:

    Thank you all,
    for your kind words about my father.

  8. Fred Zola says:

    When I began selling frames in 1977, we were called Frame Salesmen. There was no such thing as women doing this job. Tura was the first. That is when we changed our title to Frame Rep.

  9. Are we considering advertising in Vogue in the future?

  10. Elise Oren says:

    I loved reading this article and everyones comments. The history of Tura is fascinating! I am going to my first interview with this company in a few hours. I love eyeglasses and I think everyone should have at least 10 pairs! Sarah Palin wore eye wear that everyone had to have.

  11. Jolinda says:

    Tura is our vendor of the month here at Vision West. Love the history lesson about them.

  12. Michelle Skibbe says:

    I have a pair of pink Tura Turannette. 1950s
    Does anyone know how many are around
    They are so fun looking

  13. They do show up on vintage eyewear sites and etsy and ebay.


  1. […] reviewing Tiara Eyewear, it seems they first made their appearance in the late 1940′s.Tura’s Turette was probably the first.. although the styling did not have the up in front of the face […]

  2. […] reviewing Tiara Eyewear, it seems they first made their appearance in the late 1940’s.Tura’s Turette was probably the first.. although the styling did not have the up in front of the face […]

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