Hobé: “Jewels of Legendary Splendor”

Some believe that it was Florence Ziegfeld who coined the term ‘costume jewelry’ when he collaborated with William Hobé. He used the term to describe the magnificent jewelry worn by gorgeous ladies in the Ziegfeld Follies show. The connection between Ziegfeld and Hobé set the course to the huge success of Hobé jewelry that not only graced the upper class woman but also dressed Hollywood.

Ziegfeld Follies

The Hobé (Hoe-Bay) Company was founded in Paris in 1887 by master craftsman Jacques Hobé. He was a jeweler to the French court who created affordable jewelry using fine jewelry techniques with non-precious materials. When his son, William Hobé, moved to the US, he started out as a sales rep for a German theatrical costume maker. In the mid 1920s, William provided the costumes for the Ziegfeld Follies Broadway productions. During that time, Ziegfeld commissioned William to create inexpensive but realistic-looking jewelry to accessorize the costumes. This launched William’s prestigious career as a jewelry designer and led him to open American Hobé Cie jewelry company in 1927.

Hobe advertisments

Hobé jewelry was featured on stage and screen. William worked with costume designer Edith Head on many movies, capturing the elegance and glamour of the period. Leading Hollywood actresses, such as Bette Davis and Ava Gardner not only modeled for Hobé advertisements but they also commissioned jewelry pieces. The popularity of costume movies, such as Gone with the Wind, showcasing grand ball gowns and evening dresses fueled the trend of antique style costume jewelry. Women could purchase these high-end pieces in boutiques and upscale retailers. They were advertised as “Jewels of Legendary Splendor”.

From the 1930s to the 1970s, aside from jewelry designed by Lou Vici, the jewelry was designed by members of the Hobé family. Hobé is known for high quality and unique designs, some replicas of European royalty pieces. Their creations included beading, tassels, enamel, woven meshes or filigrees of expertly crafted twisted wire. Some of the materials, in addition to more commonly used costume metals, beads and rhinestones, included vermeil, platinum, sterling, 14K gold, and semi-precious stones. They also artistically carved cinnabar and ivory pieces that looked to other cultures from around the world for inspiration.

Hobe Jewelry

In the 1960s, William’s sons Robert and Donald took over the business. Then in the 1980s, his grandson, James continued on in the business. The Hobé family sold the original business in the early 1990s, but Hobé jewelry marked with the Hobé symbol is still being produced today.

In our Etsy shop, we have three spectacular Hobé pieces, an elegant Hobé Black Crystal Necklace, an exotic Hobé India Inspired Necklace and Earrings (sold), and a glamorous Hobé Pearl and Gold Mesh Necklace and Bracelet set (sold). I bought the Pearl and Gold Mesh set from my antiques teacher, Karl Gates. He’s a certified appraiser and runs his own estate sale business. He purchased the awesome Hobe jewelry set from a lady who had inherited C.D. Peacock’s daughter’s jewelry. C.D. Peacock is a fine jewelry maker in Chicago. The set is splendid!

bunnys trunk show

I’m already dreaming about the next Hobé jewelry I’ll find. It’s spectacular! Some of the photos used in this blog are from the inpsiring costume jewelry book Costume Jewelry (DK Collector’s Guides).

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Jewelry Repairs

There are a couple of jewelry repair shops in Chicago that we recommend. Frank’s Jewelry is a family-owned business that has been around for decades. I brought in bracelet for repairs, on a recommendation from another vintage dealer, and was very satisfied with the service. The lady who helped me said that they had a ton of vintage replacement stones and beads. Then there’s the Costume Jewelry Repair House on jewelry row in Chicago. We haven’t used their services, but comes highly recommended by a friend who is very particular about her jewelry. So I trust that it’s great!

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Jewelry Stone Replacements

If you’re looking for replacement stones, jewelry repair kits or supplies, we recommend Mr. Stones. We’ve purchased beads and rhinestones along with glue and have found that they have a ton of replacement beads to choose from. Minimum order is $10.

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Smudging Vintage Jewelry

bunnys trunk show

Would you buy a vintage wedding ring? This was a recent poll on a radio show. They asked listeners to call in with their answers. It was mixed, about half saying they would and others saying no way. Why would someone not be interested in a vintage wedding ring? The main reason was that they felt that the ring would have bad ju-ju or negative energy. That definitely could be true because objects, just like people, carry different energies. But there are ways to clean up that energy. Tanya and I do this by saging or smudging all our jewelry. The way we smudge jewelry is by lighting a smudge stick (bundle of dried herbs, most commonly white sage) and run the smoke over it.

Smudging is an ancient Native American tradition used to cleanse and purify negative energies or spirits. Some religious ceremonies use incense in their services for this same reason. I use a smudge stick throughout my house and furniture, particularly if someone in a negative mood has stopped by. I don’t want that hanging around my house and affecting my mood! You can buy smudge sticks at health stores like Whole Foods or on etsy.com. I also use a palo santo stick to raise the vibration of an object or my house.

I’ve recently gone to see an intuitive healer, Melissa Tierney who is amazing! When she realized that I sold vintage jewelry, she said that by holding the object, I could get a read on the jewelry. It would tell me its story. As a reiki practitioner, I also know that you can tap into the energy of an object at a distant. This actually isn’t as woo woo as it might seem. We all have the capability to do this. Pick up the book How to Rule the World from your Couch and you can learn how. I have yet to sit still enough with an object to do this but when I do, I’ll let you know what it says!

P.S. I just watched the movie Wake Up for the second time. If you haven’t seen it, yet, watch it! It’s fascinating.

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Beach Photo Shoot

bunnys trunk show

We spent last Saturday morning at an outdoor photo shoot. Sarah from Zzouzi Vintage asked if we could accessorize her vintage clothing (and custom made hats) with our jewelry. The photo shoot was at the 12th Street Beach, near the Planetarian, in Chicago. Tanya and I played assistants to photographer Melinda Myers – I wrangled the lighting thing and Tanya took these photos and held the blankets for the models. It was a beautiful morning although a wee bit chilly because of the wind off Lake Michigan. We enjoyed being apart of the fun!

bunnys trunk show

bunnys trunk show

bunnys trunk show

bunnys trunk show

bunnys trunk show

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Scarf Ideas

Imagine gift wrapping a present in a patterned scarf. Or packing a lunch for work in a colorful scarf. You’d know it was yours in that overcrowded work refrigerator. What a great idea! I’m stealing these ideas from the traditional Japanese eco-friendly, wrapping cloth called furoshiki. A reusable wrapping cloth can be used to carry almost anything from groceries to books (or Kindle and cell phone). It even makes a nifty covering for a wine bottle that you bring to a dinner party.

Anyway, I have scarves for sale, so I thought I’d share them since they aren’t online. These ones are only $5 each. If you see one you like, email me lisa@bunnystrunkshow.com and I’ll send you additional photos with the sizes – some are square and some are long (rectangle).

bunnys trunk show

These polka dot scarves are from designer Vera, so they are $10 each. The brown polka dot is square and the white polka dot is long. I plan on writing a blog about her, but for now, here’s what wikipedia has to say about the talented Vera Neumann.

bunnys trunk show

Below are super cool ways to wear your scarf, some inspiration. These are images that have been borrowed from the internet.

bunnys trunk show

Check out additional ideas for your wrapping cloth at furoshiki.com. Here’s an interesting blog about the history of furoshiki.

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Photo Shoot

bunnys trunk show

I recently came across these photos. It’s from a photo shoot in Chicago by Alexis Alma a couple of years ago. He used Bunny’s Trunk Show jewelry and gave us a few shots from that day.

bunnys trunk show

Alexis a super talented photographer that we met through the Chicago Art Department. But he’s since moved back to France. Check out more of his photos at www.almaphotos.com.

bunnys trunk show

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The Vintage Bazaar Gettin’ Hitched Market

In less than two weeks we will be popping up at the Vintage Bazaar’s Getting Hitched Market.  The show will be at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Avenue, on Saturday, January 21, 2012 from 11am-4pm ($5 entry fee).  We will be bringing all of our glamorous bling and gorgeous jewels to the show.  Come and check it out!

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North Shore Flea

Fun vintage sale last weekend at the North Shore Flea. Thanks for shopping with us!

See more photos of the sale from Pure Vintage and Dethrose Vintage.

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Shop vintage this weekend!

Start out your Halloween weekend with a vintage sale! Bunny’s will be there along with a variety of fun vintage sellers. You’ll find cool vintage jewelry, clothing, accessories and housewares along with good food. This event will benefit Animal Care and Control, so there will be dogs for adoption. If you see jewelry in our shop that you’d like to see in person, please email us at bunny@bunnystrunkshow.com.

Friday, Oct. 28th, 5pm-10pm
Saturday, Oct. 29th, 11pm-6pm

Chicago Party Animals
1133 W. Fulton Market
Chicago, IL

Don’t miss it! Check out The Hot Diggity Dog Vintage Sale for details.

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