Marvin Hime, 69; Beverly Hills Jeweler

Times Staff Writer

Marvin Hime, whose expertise in jewels was used by police departments needing to establish authenticity and by Hollywood stars seeking the perfect gift, died at his Beverly Hills home Friday of a heart attack.

The owner of the longest-established jewelry shop in Beverly Hills was 69 and over the years had designed and sold jewelry to such celebrities as Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Sylvester Stallone, Julie Andrews and many more.

Hime belonged to the prestigious Diamond International Academy and was a four-time winner of the Diamond International Design Awards, while his designs have been the focal point of museum displays.


He started his relatively modest-appearing shop in 1948 shortly after service in the Air Force.

He had $2,000, he told The Times in 1968, no job and a wife to support.

“I started looking through the Yellow Pages trying to find a business to get into. Between janitor and junk I found jewelry. It cost me $1,700 to open a showroom and with the $300 I had left I invested in novelty jewelry.

“Of course I was stupid. I should have sold cars or cigarettes or refrigerators--things people had gone without during the war.”

Despite his “stupidity,” Hime managed $24,000 worth of business his first year, doubled that his second and doubled that again his third.

He had opened his shop originally in downtown Los Angeles but with his new-found success moved to Beverly Hills.

Modest Ways

But he kept modest ways. Rather than displaying a single stone in a single tray, Hime crowded expensive diamonds into cases that might more appropriately belong to a dime store.


Over the years, Hime’s creations have included such diverse trinkets as 1,000 heart-shaped key rings for Frank Sinatra, who used them for a benefit in Palm Springs, to the crest ring worn by Richard Boone as Paladin in television’s long-ago favorite, “Have Gun Will Travel.”

In the 1960s, he began sharing his expertise with law enforcement, teaching officers and customs agents how to evaluate stolen property, to see if a stone being brought into the country at a “declared” $10,000 might be worth 10 times that, or if a victim had paid $5,000 for a piece of glass.

He had many unique policies, loaning jewels to stars for Oscar night or to their studios for filming. Customers who received jewelry as a gift but did not wear jewelry could exchange it for future credit for their wives or husbands. Customers who received jewelry they did not like exchanged it for something they did, regardless of where it was purchased.

He operated at minimum profit (Louella Parsons called him “Hime the honest jeweler”) but earned enough to become a major donor to charities and managed to make friends out of most of his customers. Many of them became the source of some of the better stories around town.

Like the man who ran into Hime’s store one day, put $500 cash on the counter and said, “Hurry up, give me something worth $500. Maybe she’ll like it.”

When Hime asked why the rush, the man explained he only had two cents in the parking meter and didn’t want a ticket.


Survivors include his wife, Ann, a son and three grandchildren. Services were private.