It was the father Jaques Hobe’, a master Goldsmith, and Silversmith, who founded the Hobe company in 1887, in France, but it was the son William who put the Hobe’ company on the map and transformed Hobe’ into a recognized name, that people still view as a high-quality Jewelry maker, even today.
Hobe Jewelry History
It took 40 years between 1887 and 1927 to change the direction of the company, where costume jewelry collectors think of those tasseled and beaded necklaces, and those sparkling floral, rhinestone pins, as a symbol of the finest costume jewelry, to reach the marketplace.
It is rumored that Hobe’s Jewelry was so exquisite, and recognizable that the term “Costume Jewelry” originated from the Hobe company. The tagline for Hobe’s Jewelry was Jewels of Legendary Splendor.
Hobe’s Jewelry Reaches Broadway
Hobe’ reached the stars, literally and figuratively. In the 1920s, Hobe’ was commissioned to create jewelry pieces for Flo Zeigfield for theatre work on Broadway. Soon, many theatre and movie productions commissioned Hobe to produce more Hobe pieces, for the stars.
Many of the Broadway stars of the 1920s embellished their on-stage fashion with custom-designed pieces of Hobe Jewelry. Hobe became known as the originator of high-end costume jewelry. Gemstones that sparkled and dazzled with glitz became trademarks for Hobe designs.
The Hollywood stars of the 1940’s and 1950s glamoured fashion with Hobe pins and brooches. Betty Davis and Ava Gardner were two of the most famous stars of the post-war era to wear Hobe’s Jewelry. Marilyn Monroe was known to own several dazzling, Hobe Jewelry pieces in the 1950s.
Hobe’ High End Quality Designs
Hobe’s Jewelry was sold to high-end retail stores. Sometimes the artistic quality was crafted from glass that looked like rhinestones, and other times he used semi-precious gemstones and integrated them with glass. Often the jewelry pieces were encased in silver, and sometimes sterling silver. And always, Hobe’s jewelry featured the trademarked Hobe’s name.
In the 1940’s many of the Hobe designs were patented, and many of these designs originated from William Hobe’ or his wife Sylvia. Many were considered expensive for the time and sold to boutiques featuring expensive jewelry.
While Hobe first crafted costume jewelry in Germany, and France, when he immigrated to the United States, Providence Rhode Island became home. Museums exist there today, exhibiting the works of William Hobe’, his wife Sylvia, and his father Jaques.
As the decades passed, the Hobe family continued designing and making jewelry. After the 1950s the designs became broader in style and appealed to the masses. Williams, late son Don moved to Florida and established operations there.
Today, Hobe’s Jewelry is highly collectible. Amazing brooches and earrings with finely cut glass stones are very much in demand as vintage jewelry designs. Hobe created many pieces with an Asian theme in design in the 1940s. After the 1940s Hobe designed more jewelry for the masses, and the most collectible pieces are prior to the 1950s, although Hobe is a symbol of the finest costume jewelry in the world, and all of it is increasing rapidly in value.
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