Friday, July 31, 2009


Head to Vallejo Street in San Francisco—and hope that Susie is in town and her shop is open! Marvel at her vintage jewels. Chanel! Ciner! Yves Saint aurent! And Barovier & Toso and Seguso Venetian glass. Susie Hoimes’ vases and elaborate bowls and urns dazzle in Technicolor dream hues of lollipop pink, zesty lemon and bright orange. Delicious candy!

Retro Ultra-Glam
Since she opened her chic vintage shop, MDVII, in Polk Gulch six years ago, San Francisco antiques dealer Susie Hoimes has attracted a devoted insider following of top California decorators and vintage jewelry connoisseurs.

Arrayed in her tiny and ultra-chic cabinet of curiosities are shelves of vintage Venetian glass, Chinese cloisonné, German porcelain, Venini chandeliers, and French and English furniture, as well as top-secret drawers of designer vintage jewelry from around the world.

Hoimes has become the source among San Francisco, Montecito, and Los Angeles fashion trendsetters for her superb collections of rare and elegant vintage jewelry. Among her recent treasures are early Chanel necklaces and cuff bracelets, Tony Duquette necklaces, Miriam Haskell pearl earrings and necklaces, and Elsa Schiapparelli necklaces.

“My clients love the fine craftsmanship, drama, rarity and character of really fine vintage jewelry,” said Hoimes, originally from London. “The pieces I sell are classic and glamorous, never trendy. California women today wear and mix vintage Chanel or Yves Saint Laurent with their favorite diamonds, just as the Duchess of Windsor wore Kenny Lane jewelry with her precious jewelry.”

Also in the velvet-lined display drawers at MDVII are sixties Christian Dior and Pierre Cardin dazzlers, early Lanvin and YSL pieces, and hard-to-find Coppola y Toppo forties to sixties beaded necklaces and bracelets.

“Everyone is collecting over-the-top Kenneth Kay Lane Egyptian-revival pieces, and they love Boucher, William de Lillo, Goossens, Schreiner, and Hobe,” said Hoimes, who has international sources and is ultra-discreet about her clientele. No name-dropping.

It’s not all costume. Hoimes also sells gorgeous antique Indian handcrafted gold and enamel jewelry in the Kundan style, along with exquisite rare pink conch pearl necklaces and earrings.

“After Hermes showed Indian-inspired fashions and jewelry in Paris, I’m expecting an increased interest in Indian styles,” said Homes. (Susie Homes collections priced at from $200 for a pair of sixties Cartier-style Ciner earrings.)

Hoimes started collecting antique Venetian glass vases and bowls when was growing up in London.

“I love the theatricality and ebullience of Venetian designs,” said Hoimes. “There’s a magical, ethereal quality that is very addictive. I’m mesmerized by the virtuoso techniques of the Venetian glassblowers.”

Graceful twenties Salviati Champagne flutes, glitter beside dramatic fifties Venini latticino glass lanterns, bravura contemporary designs by Carlo Moretti, and thirites Seguso gold-flecked columnar candlesticks.

Prices from $50 for pink Barbini glasses to $1,500 for glamorous Salviati ruby compote from the late nineteenth century.

1507 ½ Vallejo Street
San Francisco


Brillante Interiors said...

Being very fond of vintage jewellery (custom or real)I was fascinated by this post. We don't have much of this in Vancouver but of course when I am in Italy I know all the best places.
Coppola e Toppo, Donatella Pellini, Meru' were trendy Milanese custom jewellers when I grew we are all vintage!
Years ago I bought in a garage sale in Vancouver a brooche for $ 1.50 with its original box and back home I could see the signature:a beautiful vintage Coro.
Venetian glass? you said everything already.

Thanks for a trip back in time.

Scot Meacham Wood said...

what is it about beautiful glass always make me salivate . . . there is just something so wonderfully 'sugary' about them. colours twisting around each other . . .

the tart citrus yellow, the bright lime, and that amazing pomegranate red.

totally yummy!

Marcy Carmack said...

Being a stylist, Susie is indispensable. I have chosen many a piece for my clients and me too! She and her collection are so much fun!

Thank you Diane, love your blog!

Clarity said...

Beautiful. After observing Venetian glassblowers from up close, I can understand her fascination with the artistry.

I especially like the first picture of the vintage jewellery. They are bold, international in flavour and very elegant. I ought to find out more about it.

Unknown said...

Dear Diane
Wanted to thank you for these unique and beautifully written "reports" from afar. I usually pick them up on Saturdays, wherever I find myself, this week in Sonoma County, next week in Buenos Aires, they cross borders very well! Always a delight!

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

Both the costume jewelry and the glass appeals. I love that snakelike coiled coral necklace(?) and the turq and coral ear(bobs)love that- in the center with the heart shape drops. glorious. la

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Deat Brilliante and Scott, and Gaj (wherever you are) and Little Augury and Marcy and Clarity-

So happy you love Susie's delicious Venetian glass--and her fabulous vintage jewelry. She has such a fantastic eye--and I always see pieces at her jam-packed shop that I've never seen anywhere, including in Paris (jewels) or Venice (glass).
It is definitely time to take another look at fine Venetian glass. For a few years, when mid-century modern was raging, it looked a little fussy. Now that we want a more eclectic and nuanced feeling for interiors it looks just the ticket. While Venetian glass has always held its prices, I think it can be found for a bargain.
Good and ultra-fine vintage jewelry of course is the rage-but Susie has both the witty and costumy pieces--and the superfine Chanel and Ciner that just look rich and compelling and authoritative.
Watch for next week: I have a fantastic blog coming up. You'll love it.

Swedish Interiors said...

So wonderful to read about Susie Hoimes - total eye candy!

Even more wonderful was our surprise to find the author of some of our favorite books in our design library leaping off the screen at us -posting a comment on our new blog! Thank you for visiting, Diane. We will be listing you as well!

All the Best,

Edie & Rhonda

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Hi Edie and Ronda-

Thank you for your kind comments.

So happy to hear from you. I love your blog. It's so fresh and chic.

Your new book looks great and will be extremely successful.

If there is anything I can do to help you with your new book--please send me an email.
I know it is going to do well. The cover's compelling and everyone loves--and wants to learn more about--Swedish design.

home before dark said...

My husband's great grandfather had a glassworks factory in New Jersey. All that remains of his own work is a glass horse. Being a romantic I say his breath remains. My mother-in-law loved all manner of glass. She said in was in her genes. Is it the magpie in us that loves light on glass or something even more primitive? Beautiful post.