Hollycraft (Est. 1938 – 1971) Originally founded in New York City in 1938 by designer Joseph Chorbajian as the Hollywood Jewelry Manufacturing Company. A year later, his cousin, Archie and friend Jack Hazard joined the firm.
After several years in business, the company name and its mark were changed to Hollycraft possibly to avoid confusion with Joseff of Hollywood, another well-known costume jewelry designer. The Hollycraft mark first appeared in 1948.
Hollycraft Jewelry displays intricate designs that scream, “Rich!” Stones are often multi- colored pastels and the pieces display an abundance of sparkle and depth. Some rhinestone jewelry is accented with enamel. The Company’s Christmas pins are very popular.
All Hollycraft’s work is distinguished by excellent design, workmanship, and execution. The rhinestones used in the Company’s jewelry are usually pastel in color with brilliant glows that rise from the stones’ depths. They are extremely difficult to replace.
Hollycraft Jewelry was first marked, “HOLLYCRAFT CORP. and dated. Beginning in the 1950s, pieces were marked, “HOLLYCRAFT with a copyright symbol.
In many cases, Hollycraft designs were sold to outside manufacturer who were responsible for producing and distributing the actual pieces. 1950’s Hollycraft pieces were often, but not always, marked with the date of the design. It’s been reported that some costume jewelry enthusiasts only collect Hollycraft jewelry from specific years.
Some popular designs of the 1950s used pastel stones of amethyst, aqua, citrine, pink, olivine, and others in complex patterns. The pieces are nearly always executed in gold tone metal findings. A good example is a brooch and earring set, dated 1950 that feature central alexandrite stones that change color from light blue to lavender depending on the light source. However, not all Hollycraft pieces from the 1950s were made with pastel colored stones and gold tone metal. In 1953, the company made a rhodium plated brooch in dazzling, clear crystal stones.
Because coordinating sets of jewelry were the rage in the 1950s and early 60’s, Hollycraft created complete sets, or parures, which included necklaces, earrings, bracelets, brooches, and occasionally even a ring. Matched sets are difficult to find since some pieces got lost or became damaged. Consequently, collectors deem matched sets more valuable. Hollycraft is very popular with vintage costume jewelry collectors.
The company was sold by Joseph Chorbajian in 1971. Among his legacies is Hollycraft’s huge Christmas tree collections. He continued designing jewelry until about 1980.
Manufacture of Hollycraft jewelry ended sometime in the late 1970s. Despite this, the excellent craftsmanship and designs preserve and enhance the reputation and desirability of Hollycraft jewelry.