If you are looking to add some vintage Bogoff jewelry to your collection, you have come to the right place. Here you will learn about the history, jewelry marks, materials used, most collectible pieces, and tips on how to buy.
Henry Bogoff’s jewelry is known for its sophistication, excellent construction, superior rhodium plating and top-of-the-line materials. He was especially fond of incorporating heart, crescent and lace designs into his creations. All of his jewelry came with a lifetime warranty—he was that certain of its quality.
Brief History of Bogoff Jewelry
Before he was “Henry Bogoff,” he was “Moszek Boguslavaka,” a native of Poland who immigrated to the United States in 1922. In 1929, he married Russian immigrant Yvette Glazerman. The couple moved to Chicago where they opened the highly successful Spear Novelty Company that manufactured belt trimmings, buttons and other fashion accessories. Many of the items were made with rhinestones, so the transition to costume jewelry was a natural transition. They opened Jewels by Bogoff in 1940 and soon were among the country’s leading designers and manufacturers of costume jewelry. In fact, they eventually became the third largest costume jeweler, surpassed only by Trifari and Coro.
Henry used only the finest quality and most vibrant imported rhinestones for his delicate and colorful jewelry: bracelets, earrings, necklaces and brooches. The pieces were made to last, which is evident still today with the pristine condition of the metals and the clarity and sparkle of the rhinestones. Even though Bogoff jewelry was affordable for most people, it was worn by those in the upper echelons—and it still is!
“Jewels by Bogoff” were sold in middle market stores such as Sears as well as the most luxurious stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman. With the end of World War II and the resultant demand for luxury merchandise, the Bogoffs eventually had showrooms in New York City and Los Angeles in addition to their home base of Chicago.
Henry died in 1958. Yvette, who was always in charge of marketing and sales, tried to keep the business going, but closed in a few years. Certainly Henry’s talents were missed, but there was a drastic change in fashion taste with the advent of the revolutionary 1960s.
Bogoff Jewelry Designers
Henry was the sole designer. Some of his designs were original creations, and some were replicas of high-end jewelry. Henry had a prodigious memory. He would visit the premier jewelers in New York City and, without sketches or notes, recreate their designs or translate them to his own vision.
Bogoff Jewelry Marks
Only two marks are evident: “BOGOFF” and “jewels by BOGOFF.”
Materials Used in Vintage Bogoff Jewelry
- Rhinestones, clear and colored
- Navette (or marquise-shaped) rhinestones
- Swarovski (Aurora Borealis) crystals
- Molded art glass
- Poured glass
- Glass cabochons
- Diamante stones
- Faux alexandrite
- Faux pearls
- Baroque pearls
- Rhodium-plated silver-tone metal
- Gold-tone metal
- Gold plate
- Bijouterie alloy
Most Collectible Bogoff Jewelry
Henry manufactured his jewelry in relatively limited quantities, so that (1) it will take some searching around to find collectibles and (2) once you find a piece, it is unlikely that you will see it at every turn.
- Blue Tulip Poured Glass Rhinestone Necklace & Earrings
Henry followed the Art Nouveau tradition in creating this necklace and earrings in the 1940s. He rarely used the poured glass that we see in these delightful blue tulips. The brilliance of the rhodium plating and the vibrancy of the white rhinestones are examples of how his materials and workmanship have held their beauty and value through the years.
- Faux Pearl and Pave, Baguette and Round Rhinestone Brooch
We are used to seeing Henry’s breathtaking necklaces; we come across his brooches less often. This exquisite brooch rivals ones adorned with the finest precious gems. The sparkling rhinestones in different sizes and shapes provide an elegant background for the subtle gray tone of the faux pearls.
- Peridot Colored Rhinestone Earrings
Both the design and peridot color of these elegant earrings are rarely seen. The rhinestones are brilliant, as dazzling as any precious gem, and the design makes a statement.
- Couture Crystal Parure - Necklace, Bracelet and Earrings
This vintage set features citrine and topaz rhinestones accented with clear rhinestones, all set in complimentary gold-toned metal. The necklace is secured with a hook closure; the bracelet with a clasp and safety chain; the earrings are clip-ons.
Tips for Buying Vintage Bogoff Jewelry
- Always work with a vendor you know or who comes highly recommended by someone you trust (See our favorite costume jewelry sellers).
- Due to high-quality materials and meticulous workmanship, most Bogoff jewelry has held up exceptionally well.
- Check the back of the piece. The backs on Bogoff jewelry are smooth. A rough back indicates pieces made during the 1970s and later.
- All Bogoff earrings are screw-backs or clips. Screw-backs may not have a mark on them, but clips are more likely to.
- From studying vintage jewelry first-hand, you will learn the difference between old and new, real and fake. New jewelry is not made as well; there is not the same detail in the design.
Just a thought:
There is no doubt that a designer’s name on a piece adds value. Some collectors are only interested in a certain designer, and that’s fine. But if you come across a strange or unusual piece, regardless of the designer, as long as it is marked, it would be wise to add it to your collection. Style counts in vintage jewelry, and you could be happily surprised to find that it is quite valuable.
To browse through the various designers of vintage jewelry, see the Etsy website: www.etsy.com. To visit the Bogoff pages, click here. You can also have a look at our list of the best costume jewelry shops on Etsy.
eBay is also a wonderful place to shop for vintage Bogoff jewelry.