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Dorothy's Designer Notes

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Dorothy has been taking notes on some of the talented designers, makers and design styles of vintage costume jewelry while she's been skipping down the yellow brick road in Emerald City Enjoy this information and the jewelry examples!

 

~ Hollycraft ~

This company began in 1938 as Hollywood Jewelry, but the mark was soon changed to Hollycraft because of possible confusion with Joseff of Hollywood.  Known for its quality pieces, Hollycraft is very popular with vintage costume jewelry collectors.  Hollycraft designs were sold to jobbers who were then responsible for the production and distribution of the actual pieces. 

To the delight of present day collectors, Hollycraft pieces from the 1950s were often, but not always, marked with the date of the design.  In fact, there are some costume jewelry enthusiasts who collect Hollycraft jewelry only from a specific year!  This lovely set from features iridescent aurora borealis stones.

Some of the most popular designs from the 1950s are those using pastel stones of amethyst, aqua, citrine, pink, olivine, etc. in rich and complex patterns.  These pieces are nearly always done in goldtone metal findings.  This brooch and earring set, dated 1950, is a good example of this luscious style and features central alexandrite stones that change color from light blue to lavender depending on the light source. 

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Because coordinating sets of jewelry were so popular in the 1950s and early 1960s, Hollycraft created wonderful complete sets, or parures, which included necklace, earrings, bracelet, brooch and sometimes a ring.  Matched sets are more difficult to come by as pieces get lost or become damaged over the years, therefore they often have an increased value to collectors.

A particularly mysterious piece from this time period is the so called Christmas Tree Pin.  This pastel brooch from 1950 is shown in several Christmas jewelry reference books.  Yet, the alignment of the pin mechanism seems to suggest that it was actually  meant to be worn inverted, in a shield shape.  (The back of this piece was used for the background of this feature page.)

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Not all the Hollycraft pieces of the 1950s were done in pastel colored stones and goldtone metal.  This unusual free-flowing brooch is rhodium plated and is done entirely in dazzling clear crystal stones.  It's marked Hollycraft Copr. 1953.

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This dazzling star brooch is a very rare piece and dates from 1951.  Note: information and date confirmation kindly provided by Joyce Chorbajian.]  Interesting crackled cabochons were used in some pieces creating a mysterious look to the design.  The swirling motif of these 1956 earrings with these "cat's eye" cabs really draw the eye to the stones.

And this stunning set, from 1956, features darker purple-black aurora borealis stones along with crystal AB stones.  With this amount of variety, there's something from Hollycraft for nearly everyone!

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The company was sold by founder/designer Joseph Chorbajian in the early 1970s, and manufacture of Hollycraft jewelry ceased sometime in the late 1970s.  But with the excellent craftsmanship and designs, the legacy lives on.

Click here to see more Hollycraft in the Signed/Designer section of Emerald City.

 

 

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This website was designed and created by Elizabeth M. Rowlands, proprietor of Emerald City Vintage Costume Jewelry

      Copyright 1998-2014  Elizabeth M. Rowlands    All rights reserved.