Hobé Cie was founded in 1887 by goldsmith Jacques Hobé, but when costume-jewelry collectors think of Hobé, they picture the tasselled and beaded necklaces made by Jacques’ son, William, who established an American offshoot of the company in 1927. That put Hobé at the beginning of the American costume-jewelry boom between the two world wars.

In fact, some scholars believe that Hobé actually had a hand in the phrase “costume jewelry” itself. After the younger Hobé landed in New York, but before he started his company, one of the his first assignments was to make costumes and jewelry for the "Ziegfeld Follies." According to some historians, Florenz Ziegfeld described the jewelry that accompanied Hobé’s costumes as costume jewelry.

Hobé’s showbiz origins served the company well. By the 1940s and ’50s, Hollywood stars such as Bette Davis and Ava Gardner were wearing Hobé. Especially prized today are the floral pins of that era, which featured tight clusters of vermeil petals. Earlier Hobé pieces that remain popular with collectors include filigreed bracelets and pins, some of which featured Victorian-style portraits or Japanese netsuke-like figures as focal points.


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