Buying Guide to Hobe Vintage Costume Jewelry

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The Hobe company created costume jewelry with extreme care and craftsmanship. With a nod to the past, these pieces are both historical and classic. If you are looking to add some Hobe vintage costume jewelry to your collection, you have come to the right place. Here you will learn about the history, designs, materials used, most collectible pieces, how to identify, and tips on how to buy.

History of Hobe Jewelry

Hobe et Cie was founded in 1887 by Jacques Hobe, a goldsmith, in Paris. His goal was to use fine jewelry techniques, but with non precious materials. His pieces were geared towards the middle class and even some of the wealthy.

Jacques’ son, William Hobe, really helped to catapult the company into fame. William came to the United States in the late 1920's. He started his career working for Florence Ziegfeld, a New York City Broadway producer. Ziegfeld asked Hobe to created pieces of jewelry for his shows. It is said that once Ziegfeld saw the creations Hobe made for them, he described them as costume jewelry. This could be the origin of the term, costume jewelry!

Though these first pieces Hobe made in the US were not technically part of the Hobe company, those he made after, were. He established the American branch of his father’s company, in 1927, after his first start with costume jewelry.

All of the Hobe designs were handcrafted by Hobe himself. His work was meticulous, something he became known for. He did have some help during 1930-1970, from a Lou Vicky. Due to his fortunate start with Ziegfeld, Hobe continued his career with other Broadway and Hollywood stars. Opening up a showroom in Los Angeles, Hobe was able to grow his celebrity clientele list. Many people in that world described him as the ‘choice of Hollywood.’

During the 1940's and 1950's, we see Hollywood stars such as Bette Davis, Carole Lombard, Barbara Stanwyck and Ava Gardner wearing his jewels. Ava Gardner is even seen on the cover of Photoplay, an American film fan magazine, wearing a Hobe necklace and earring set. A great advertisement for Hobe, the cover states, “Introducing Jewels by Hobe.”

Hobe’s pieces were relatively expensive, which makes sense given him celebrity clientele. His pieces were either made for custom production or sold in exclusive boutiques and leading department stores.

It seems as though William Hobe didn’t create jewelry past the end of the 1950's. Instead his sons Donald and and Robert began running the company. In the 1980s the company switched hands to a grandson named James. The company was sold in the late 90s or early 2000s and here is still a Hobe company out there producing jewelry, but it is not the same family.

Most of the pieces produced by Hobé Cie were designed by the family from the 1930s through the ’70s. Jewelry produced between 1935 and 1955 is highly collectible.

Watch the Following Video to See Five Things you Need to Know About Hobe Jewelry

Hobe Costume Jewelry Designs 

Many of Hobe’s pieces were replicas of historical antiques pieces, such as those worn by royal families. His work is also very Art Deco inspired, with some Modern flair to it. We’ve seen lots of florals and animalism as well, such as many floral pins with enamel and rhinestones. 

Hobe liked to replicate Victorian pieces as well. You’ll often see the use of filigree and cameos. You can see this in a Victorian revival bracelet and earring set. The adjustable slide bracelet is made in a typical Victorian mesh design, with a long tail of fringe. On both the bracelet and earrings, there is a carved female portrait cameo. The cameos are encrusted with a halo of topaz, peridot and rhinestones, creating quite the glamorous look.

Hobe’s pieces were often very colorful and glittering, especially those he made for celebrities. You’ll find necklaces covered in white rhinestones, or gold colored pieces decorated with brightly colored rhinestones. 

Hobe Victorian Revival Cameo Bracelet Available on Esty from Vintage Imagine

Hobe Costume Jewelry Materials

Hobe mostly used semi precious stones such as chrysoprase, lapis, garnet and amethyst. We see lots of rhinestones, paste, as well as enamel. The metal was most often vermeil, gold plated silver, but we sometimes see platinum pieces.

You’ll also find quite a few Hobe piece with pearls. These pearls are most likely all Majorica pearls, which are a brand of imitation pearls made in Spain. They are man-made glass balls coated in layers of lacquer. 

Most of Hobe’s earrings had clip backs, with a built in cushion roller. You’ll often see adjustable neck chains with crystal beads, even if the item was mostly designed with rhinestone. 

Most Collectible Hobe Pieces

Some of Hobe’s most well known pieces are his tasseled, fringed and beaded necklaces. These bold pieces would be gold in color, but likely gold plated silver. The long fringes and beading created for a dramatic, yet elegant look. Often you will see rhinestones throughout the necklace, creating an overall stunning look. You are sure to stand out in one of these necklaces!

hobe vintage tasseled necklace

Hobe Vintage Tasseled Necklace Available on Esty From Bright Gem Treasures

Collectors of vintage Hobe jewelry will find plenty of selection of jewelry that is in great condition, because it was so well made. Older rhinestone pieces and also sterling silver pieces are avidly collected. 


How to Identify a Genuine Hobe Piece

For the most part, Hobe pieces are signed. Often we will see an Art Deco style script or a block design, when looking at a Hobe signature. These dates are approximate, but here is what we’ve found most often for these signatures:

  • Pre 1900: Hobe inside a crown or Hobe under crossed swords (the crossed swords is rare) See examples of these marks.
  • 1903-1917: Hobe inside an oval with an accent mark
  • 1918-1932: Hobe inside a house shaped outline, in addition to the words Design Pat.
  • 1933-1957: Hobe inside of a triangular frame
  • 1958-1983: Hobe inside of an oval frame

There are some unsigned Hobe pieces out there, but be sure to do your research to make sure it seems logical that it actually is a Hobe piece.

*Note - Hobe did not produce Jelly Belly jewelry, so if you see a jelly belly labeled Hobe, it is a fake. 

Hobe maker marks

Buying Hobe Vintage Costume Jewelry Online

Purchasing Hobe can be done just like other costume jewelry, at estate and vintage shops and even online. Etsy and eBay are by far my favorite places to buy vintage jewelry, their websites offers a great user experience and there are many knowledgeable sellers.  

Some tips for shopping for vintage jewelry online:

  • Make sure you search within the Vintage section or include vintage in your search terms. 
  • Look for shops with lots of positive reviews.
  • Read the shop's "Shipping and Policies" tab before making a purchase decision.  
  • Read reviews and buyers feedback, only buy from shops with consistently happy customers.
  • If you find a shop you like, add them to your favorites so you can find them again.
  • Be specific in your search keywords.

On Etsy we like these shops:

Conclusion

Costume jewelry is a great way to purchase a jewelry style that may not normally be affordable to you. Hobe has some amazing vintage replica pieces that perfectly fit this bill. Their high craftsmanship and impeccable design make them highly collectible costume jewelry.

[Learn more: The Best Vintage Costume Jewelry Brands]

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments below, I always answer!

Happy Hunting, 
Andrea 

Share the Knowledge

30 thoughts on “Buying Guide to Hobe Vintage Costume Jewelry”

  1. Hi! I have a Hobe Necklace and earring set. The earrings are marked ‘Hobe’ but the necklace isn’t. Is that normal?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Is it a matching set? It should be marked on both items, but I have occassionally seen Hobe necklaces that are not marked.

      Reply
  2. Hi
    If I were to send you a photo of a brooch I have with the back ‘hallmark’ might you be able to tell me if it was genuine Hobé?
    Many thanks
    Rachael

    Reply
    • I can’t guarentee that I will be able to tell, by i will try my best! You can find my contact info on the contact page 🙂

      Reply
  3. I have a Hobe’ rhinestone collar necklace 1960’s. If I sent you pics is there any way you could tell me its worth? I’m on fixed income and I am in need of funds, so I guess it’s time to sell. I just don’t have any ideas of where to begin.
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Denise, thanks for stopping in. Most of the Hobe rhinestone necklaces I see on Etsy sell for around $150 Cad. Hopefully, that helps you out. Let me know if you have any other questions!

      Reply
      • Dear Andrea,
        Thank you for your reply. The necklace is a 6 rows, 3 with rhinestones and 2 rows that look like a topaz color. I just don’t want to look dumb by asking too much for it.
        Should I send you a pic?

        Reply
          • Andrea,
            I went to the contact page and I couldn’t see how to put a pic on there. Am I not seeing it correctly?

          • Hi Denise, sorry about that! I see that my contact page did not have a spot to upload a file, but I have now added that option 🙂 You can now upload a jpg file (max 2mb size) along with your email 🙂

            Let me know if you have any issues!

  4. Hi Andrea,
    I have some Hobe’ jewelry pieces and wish to sell. I’m new to selling online. If I sent a picture to you, would you be able to help me price it? If not, I understand, thank you.
    Rosie

    Reply
    • Hi Rosemarie, Have you tried having a look on Etsy for similar Hobe jewelry? I often do that to gauge the value of costume jewelry. See what other people are selling pieces for. You can send me a photo of the jewelry if you like and I can try to help you out. Check out my contact page to send me a message 🙂

      Reply
  5. There is an inconsistency in this article regarding the period that Hobe created jewelry.
    You stated: “William Hobe didn’t create jewelry past the end of the 1950’s.”
    Then, you describe and provide pictures of the Hobe signature marks through 1983.
    I’m confused.
    Are the marks shown for 1958 – 1983 made by the company Hobe that is not of the same William Hobe family?

    Reply
    • Hi Tina, thanks for pointing that out! I have done some more research and have found out why there was that inconsistency (researching costume jewelry history online can be difficult and some information out there is vague). I have found an answer to this conundrum. I will edit the article to include the new info, but basically William Hobe stopped designing jewelry in the 1950’s. This is when his sons Donald and Robert began running the company until the 1980s. After that a grandson named James takes over. The company was sold in 1999 or the very early 2000s and the mark is still in use. I hope that adds some clarity!

      Reply
  6. My dad worked for Hobe in NYC in ther 60’s. I am selling a lot of pieces on Ebay now especially some really rare one. The reason I am writing you is I have doubles of pins and one says sterling while the other says HOBE. So some of their pieces ARE unmarked. In the late 60’s or early 70’s when silver went high they unfortunately melted a lot of their older pies for their silver content. How stupid. Beautiful Art Deco and even real old pieces of Sterling were melted. I have some pics of the soubles but you do not provide a place to put them

    Reply
  7. i have a Hobe signed setooks lile jade and diamonds gold plated
    my father bought it for my mother in the 60s
    never seen a set like this before and im terrified to wear it because i dont know what its worth if anything

    Reply
    • Hello Losa, if you love it, wear it! Hobe didn’t use diamonds, so the stones are most likely Rhinestones. Some of Hobe’s jade pieces are quite collectible. You could have a look on Etsy for similar items to get an idea of what yours might be worth.

      Reply
    • Hi Aubrey,

      As you probably know, Jacques Hobé founded his jewelry workshop, Hobé et Cie, in France in 1887. He started out making sterling silver jewelry decorated with colorful stones. Around 1920, his son, William, brought the Hobé brand to the United States establishing the Hobé Button Co. first and then Hobé Cie Ltd. which made costume jewelry.

      If you send me a picture of your brooch, I’d be happy to help you figure out its age. However, if you’d like to get it appraised, here are some websites we recommend: whatsitworthartappraisals.com, valuemystuff.com. or drloriv.com.

      All the best!
      Susannah

      Reply
  8. I have a Hobe’ piece and would like to know it’s value. Thank you!!

    It’s a larger necklace brooch silver piece with the patent stamp on it.

    Reply
    • Hi Sheila,

      Authentic Hobe silver brooches are well worth collecting. Without seeing yours, I would say the approximate value is around the $100 mark, but if you would like a more accurate appraisal, we can recommend the following websites:
      whatsitworthartappraisals.com, valuemystuff.com. or drloriv.com.

      Good luck – and thank you for commenting.
      Susannah

      Reply
  9. Upon going to your contact page, it just says:
    Contact
    [contact-form-7 id=”3372″ title=”Contact form 1″]

    Are you serious? For the regular jewelry collector that is like saying, “I really don’t want you to contact me, so I’m making it super complicated. Ha Ha”

    Reply
    • Hi Carol,

      We’re sorry you find our contact page difficult to access. Please get back to me if you have any jewelry questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.

      Susannah

      Reply
  10. Hi! Great article! I have a Hobé mixed metal mesh necklace with a slide. I can’t figure out if the slide is supposed to be part of the necklace or of it was added. Would love to send some photos also to verify age and value. Not sure how to send photos here?

    Reply
  11. Hi. I have a set that includes a brooch a bracelet clip earrings and locket in a cameo design. Having a set does that increase the value versus individual pieces?

    Reply
  12. Hi. Researching A pair of what appear to be copper clip back earrings marked with the Hobe mark with the little circle above the o and the accent over the e. But I can’t find any earrings in copper on websites and the design looks like African or Native American and nothing I’ve seen looks like this kind of design either. They are about one inch square, of brownish stone? with an intaglio band above and below two rows of triangles. The bands and triangles look like they may have been blackened in at some time but have worn off a bit. Plus they have that funny round, grooved “button” that must be the easy slide off for the clips. What do you think? I’m not very ‘send a picture’ savvy but can try if you want to see them.

    Reply

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