Ruby Lane's Past Times Newsletter for July 2010

In This Issue
  • New Ruby Plaza Promotion: Sell for Only $9/mo. Through 2010!
  • Amphora Pottery by Jack Becklund of The Pottery Nuts
  • Hobe Jewelry: The French Connection
  • Shop Sampler: Collectibles on Ruby Lane!


Are you looking for venue to sell your home decor items (both contemporary and vintage) ranging from furniture and accessories to lighting, bedding and window coverings? Or perhaps you, or someone you know sells new and vintage fashion and accessories, and/or jewelry. Maybe you are a crafter with items such as bath and beauty products, candles, handcrafted dolls, needlecraft, woodworking, toys, or supplies to sell. If so, spread the word - as now you can try out our sister site, Ruby Plaza, just launched in April - for only $9 a month through 2010 with no set-up fee!

From now until December 31st 2010, Ruby Plaza is making it easy and affordable for sellers to join Ruby Plaza. And the sooner you join the more time you have to sell for only $9 a month while you check us out. Already over 600 shops have joined us with over 130,000 items added to the site.

There are no contracts, no cancellation fees, and the only expense out of your pocket is $9 a month.

Spread the word!

For more information visit, then under SELL, choose Open A Shop. We hope you'll join us!


Rare Amphora Art Nouveau Pitcher About fifteen years ago we met a couple we liked and a friendship developed. Our first visit to their house, however, made us wonder how the friendship had ever happened. To my rural and conservative eye, their living room looked as if it had been designed as a movie set about French royalty. It was all ornate curlicues and gilded swoops with nary a straight line in sight.

"What do you call this wonderful look you've created?" my wife asked. I had to turn away because all I could think of was "gilding the lily". Our hostess, at no loss for descriptive frills, explained it all using words like "baroque" and "rococo". I filed away these terms as things to avoid forever.

The look of the furniture that fills our house today is the same as it was on that day. True to our heritage, we have mostly straight lined, tailored pieces, a few mission items mixed with mid-century Sears and late century garage sale. So it followed that when we started collecting pottery a few years ago, we stayed with the same look, mostly American art pottery and a lot of it within the general category of arts and crafts. We developed more than a nodding acquaintance with names like Rookwood, Van Briggle and Hampshire, to name a few. Eventually, our wall of shelves containing pitchers and vases came to include a few English items like Moorcroft and early Doulton, but nothing more daring.

Then one day we went to a country auction nearby. These local auctions in Maine generally have
firkins, trenchers, snowshoes and very little pottery, but we go anyway to socialize and sometimes pick up a pot or two. On this day, however, there was a vase on one of the tables that looked like it had dropped in from outer space. It was all twists and turns and although we'd seen pictures of similar vases while browsing through our ceramic guidebooks, we'd never actually touched one.

I went over to the auctioneer and pointed at the strange piece."What is it?" I asked.

He shook his head. "I have no idea. It says Austria on the bottom and that's all I know.

An hour later, he brought the vase up and, having begun to sort of like its looks, I bid $25. Nobody countered and so we now owned our first piece of Amphora pottery. Once we acquire something, we tend to study up on it, sort of like closing the barn door after the horse is gone. I know it sounds stupid but that's how we learn about what we have, bass ackwards.

Not long after, another nearby auction also had a piece of Amphora, even stranger looking, and we picked that up as well.

We started studying in earnest and even bought a ridiculously priced book devoted entirely to the subject. And the more we studied, the more interesting Amphora and its cousins became.

First, let me explain that Amphora pottery comes out of the Bohemian region of what was then Austria. After World War I it became Czechoslovakia. Not so far away was Transylvania of the Dracula legends and Hungary, where Zsolnay Pottery
originated. These are all in what we think of as eastern Europe and they are way out there on the fringe. Maybe it was something in the water. At any rate, almost any other pottery looks tame compared to the weird dragons, beasts, multiple spouts, gold, jewels and strange shapes you find in Amphora, Dresser, Royal Dux and other pottery that came out of that region from 1880 until about 1925.

Almost every antique guidebook has sections devoted to Amphora and its ilk. There are also very detailed and illustrated books on the subject. You can Google it to find these resources as well as examples. On Ruby Lane, you can go to Pottery, then type in Amphora, to find at least a few dozen examples in a wide range of prices and styles.

I don't want to send you to snoozeland with a lot of heavy details about who, when and how. Better for you to take a look and see for yourself if you like what we have learned is pottery like no other. One more thing: Amphora in all its glory looks just great on a mission library table.

We invite you to visit The Pottery Nuts


HOBE Designer Signed 1940's Sterling Floral Spray Brooch The history of Hobé et Cie is shrouded in some mystery. This company is known for some great items that combined silver and gold-filled materials, as well as a wide range of other pieces. Stories of the origin of the company and of its current status vary. Th only indisputable fact is that they made pieces throughout the 20th century that collectors and jewelry lovers desire.

By 1887, Hobé et Cie had been founded in Paris. Jaques Hobé had allegedly made fine jewelry and moved into production of less expensive costume pieces by the 1887 date. Several marks, a Fleur-de-Lis and a crown with an elongated Hobé mark are associated with pre-1887 production. Another mark, with the elongated Hobé name and crossed swords, is thought to have been used during the later 19th and very early 20th century.

Hobe Goldtone Elephant Brooch To further obscure this somewhat cloudy history, there may have been two Jacques Hobés, probably father and son. William Hobé came to the United States in 1915, and has been described as the son or grandson of Jacques Hobé. This leads us to believe that both may actually be true, and that his father and grandfather were both named Jacques. William was actually working for a German theatrical costume manufacturer, and had the opportunity to supply costumes to the famed impresario Flo Ziegfeld. Ziegfeld mentioned the need for costume jewelry for his productions, items that had the look of the fine jewelry of the day. William Hobé met this request, but the timeline for
this is somewhat hazy. We do know that he founded Hobé Cie Ltd. NY in 1927 or 1930. Some say that the term "costume jewelry" was coined by Ziegfeld or Hobé, a result of their business dealings concerning the Ziegfeld Girls. The well-known Ziegfeld Follies ran from 1907 until 1932.

Some other variations of the Hobé story have William Hobé in California, recovering from WWI injuries, and doing independent manufacture of some pieces before starting the U.S. Hobé firm.

A number of Ziegfeld's productions were made into films before his death. Hobé is said to have worked with others on designing pieces for film, including some collaborations with Edith Head. The company made their pieces in Mt. Vernon, N.Y. but had a number of showrooms, including 2 in Los Angeles. A number of Hollywood celebrities of the time were known to wear Hobé pieces. Cecil B. DeMille was also said to favor Hobé pieces for film use.

Exquisite Hobe Enamel Locket Pendant Vintage Some of the more desirable pieces made include 1930's and 1940's figurals; the silver and gold-filled creations, which often are floral bouquets or bow-based designs; and the classic showy rhinestone creations of the 50's and 60's. Hobé pieces were extremely well made and many have withstood the test of time in very good condition. Marks vary, but almost all involve the stylized and elongated Hobé name. The marketing slogan, "Jewels of Legendary Splendor" appeared in print ads and on signage. The lucky collector may find a piece with an original hang tag. Various
styles were used, with "Costumery Jewels by Hobé" being one 1950's style. Marked boxes will be encountered. Unsigned pieces are known.

Hobé also was involved in purse production with Josef of Paris. These bags are most sometimes marked Josef, "hand beaded in the U.S.A.", or unmarked. It appears that Hobé did the bead work and some jeweled frames.

The current status of the firm is almost as unclear as its beginnings. William's wife, Sylvie, is also credited with some design work. William's sons, Robert and Donald, were actively involved with the firm, and Robert's son, Jim, also seems to have been involved. Various contemporary sources credit the brothers with current New York production, others credit the latest generation, Jim, as producing pieces in Rhode Island. Other sources say the family is no longer involved in the business.

One thing is clear. Hobé produced some pieces that were touched by the stars in the Golden Age of Hollywood, and brought fine quality costume jewelry to the general public.


Vintage Estate 14K Yellow Gold Sewing Thimble with Monogram Frantz Diamonds: Fine vintage estate jewelry for discriminating shoppers Welcome!

Vintage Estate 14K Yellow Gold Sewing Thimble with Monogram

One can only imagine Ms. KGH sitting at her sewing with this fancy monogrammed thimble! Vintage estate 14K yellow gold has lovely scalloped design ...

HAND PAINTED Decorative ART NOUVEAU Victorian Style JAPANESE NIPPON Porcelain Vase with Pink Roses Circa 1891-1921 Japan Sterling Gallery: Beautiful Hand Painted or Crafted Antique Vintage Pottery, Porcelain, Art from around the world

HAND PAINTED Decorative ART NOUVEAU Victorian Style JAPANESE NIPPON Porcelain Vase with Pink Roses Circa 1891-1921 Japan

This gorgeous hand painted NIPPON vase is made of translucent porcelain and measures 9 1 2 in tall with a width from handle to handle of 5 1 2 inches ...

Jeweled Lorgnette Folding Glasses Star Lucite SHIMMERING Rhinestone Mid Century SIGNED 1950's UNIQUE COLOR Orange Blossom Vintage Treasures: Fine Vintage, Antique High End Costume Jewelry Unique Collectables Antiques Brought to You

Jeweled Lorgnette Folding Glasses Star Lucite SHIMMERING Rhinestone Mid Century SIGNED 1950's UNIQUE COLOR

You'll notice in the pictures that the shimmering Lucite reads different colors. That's because in person they do vary depending on the light it is ...

French Ormolu Petit Point Vanity Set Box Mirror Embroidered Hand Worked Fleur Delight Full Antiques: Collectibles from the 18th, 19th, 20th Centuries, Mid Century Danish Modern- Reasonable Prices

French Ormolu Petit Point Vanity Set Box Mirror Embroidered Hand Worked

Fine, Very Old, French Petit Point Set. The Set Includes (1) Long Handled Ormolu Petit Point Mirror, (1) Ormolu Petit Point Powder Round Box with ...

Brass Candelabra Candle holders Wall Sconces Pineapples Three Dogs Antiques: We fetch Unique finds from Coastal Carolina to Western New York Estate sales and Auctions

Brass Candelabra Candle holders Wall Sconces Pineapples

A beautiful set of brass candle holders for wall mounting. They measure 12 inches high and are a bit tarnished, but otherwise in good condition. Any ...

Vintage Shalimar eau de toilette Guerlain Paris 2 5 oz A VINTAGE WHIM Jewelry Collectibles: ~Offering Unique Treasures in Every Price Range ~

Vintage Shalimar eau de toilette Guerlain Paris 2 5 oz

Shalimar eau de toilette 2.5 oz bottle, measures 4 1 2 high. Vintage bottle in excellent condition. Has plastic screw on stopper, appears to be full....

Nesting Mother Kangaroo   Joey in Pouch Salt   Pepper Shakers Heads Up Vintage Collectibles: Head Vases, Figural Pottery, Vanity Items, Jewelry Fun Vintage Collectibles Antiques!

Nesting Mother Kangaroo Joey in Pouch Salt Pepper Shakers

This mama and her joey will make a statement in your collection or on your table—she is almost 6" tall! The joey fits sweetly in her pouch and is ...

Vintage French 0800 silver cherub angel   lily of the valley medallion pendant Aadi's petit anglaise treasures: Rare French petite anglaise antique vintage treasures, jewellery, charms

Vintage French 0800 silver cherub angel lily of the valley medallion pendant

From Northern France c1900 religious 0800 silver medallion pendant or charm. Possibly a Christening or confirmation pendant. One side depicts a 2 ...

Darling Baby Girl Head Vase Inarco Still Fabulous!: Fabulous pieces of the past for discriminating collectors!

Darling Baby Girl Head Vase Inarco

Another sweet head vase from my mother's collection. One I have never seen anywhere else. Darling baby girl with pink ruffled collar and bow in her ...

Vintage Walnut Poker Chip Chest with Playing Cards and Clay Chips Little River Antiques Collectibles: We Provide Good Value for Money with Complete Customer Satisfaction In Mind

Vintage Walnut Poker Chip Chest with Playing Cards and Clay Chips

This is a wonderful vintage, early 1930's, Walnut Poker Chip Chest in very good condition. It is made of sturdy solid walnut construction, contains a ...