Tuesday, November 16, 2010

History Repeating

Joseff of Hollywood

This week we take a look back into the beginnings of one of the most fun, and most collectable designers of costume jewelry. Eugene Joseff, also knows as Joseff of Hollywood.

Born in Chicago in 1905, Joseff had charisma and personality that would take him far in life. In 1930 his jewelry business began to take shape. This was also the time when Joseff met his friend Walter Plunkett. Walter produced a movie in 1934 titled "The Affaris of Cellini" and to Joseff's surprise there on screen was the lead actress in meticulously dressed 16th century costume wearing 20th century jewelry! Joseff thought this was an enormous disservice to the industry and told Walter he needed to do something about it. Walter then challenged Joseff, saying "If you think you can do better, go ahead!" So he did!

From this point on Eugene Joseff's career took off. He was the premier jewelry designer for the film industry from the 1930's and beyond. He designed jewelry for films such as Gone with the Wind, The Three Musketeers, The Wizard of Oz, and many, many more. Contrary to normal business practice of the times, Joseff never sold his jewelry to the studios, only leased them out as they were made. Thankfully for us, because now we are able to collect, wear and enjoy his pieces today!