“I think you’ll like this, Tom. . . . Oh, if my family knew I was showing you. . . . They can’t wait to get their hands on this!”
-- Hepzibah Smith to Tom Marvolo Riddle (Lord Voldemort) (HBP20)
Hepzibah Smith was an immense, “very old, very rich witch” who collected magical antiques antiques and befriended Tom Marvolo Riddle in his role with Borgin and Burkes. Hepzibah lived in a grand house filled with so many possessions that it was difficult to walk through. Tom Riddle killed her for a relic of Helga Hufflepuff’s, a “small golden cup with two finely wrought handles,” and the heavy gold Slytherin locket that Tom’s mother sold to Caractacus Burke. Tom Riddle was never suspected of the murder; he made sure Hepzibah’s house-elf Hokey was convicted of the crime (HBP20). Riddle used her murder to turn the cup into a Horcrux (BLC).
Called "Madam" by her house-elf, Hokey.
Physical description: “an immensely fat old lady wearing an elaborate ginger wig and a brilliant pink set of robes that flowed all around her, giving her the look of a melting iced cake” (HBP20)
Her antiques and artifacts: “There were cabinets full of little lacquered boxes, cases full of gold-embossed books, shelves of orbs and celestial globes, and many flourishing potted plants in brass containers. In fact, the room looked like a cross between a magical antique shop and a conservatory." (HBP20)
Claimed to be a descendant of Helga Hufflepuff. Possible relation to other wizarding Smiths, though it is a very common surname: Zacharias Smith, Mr. Smith, and Sally Smith.
Collecting magical items, including many of great antiquity and value.
Hepzibah="My delight is in her" in Hebrew. She was a queen in the Old Testament (BtN).
cf. the descriptions of the character Mrs. Manson Mingot in Edith Wharton's novel The Age of Innocence. -BB