Dress and fur clips first appeared in the 1920s, when the concept of costume jewelry was taking the world by storm. Before then, only royalty and celebrities had access to opulent, ostentatious fine jewelry bedecked with precious stones like diamonds and emeralds, and so most women's adornment was subtle and tasteful.

But in the Roaring Twenties, Coco Chanel introduced the idea of wearing less-expensive costume jewelry as art, as opposed to wearing fine jewelry to indicate status and wealth. Jewelry then became a subject of experimentation as designers created all sorts of large, bold, and inventive pieces for women looking to spice up plain or neutral items of clothing.

Similar to brooches and pins, dress and fur clips were worn fastened to dresses, furs, and other items of clothing, often to accentuate an alluring detail such as a well-cut lapel or deep neckline. They were made out of the same materials as brooches—sterling silver, bronze, rhinestones, enamels, and plastics like Bakelite—and in similar styles, from Art Deco geometric patterns to floral and figural designs.

Eisenberg Originals, which started out as a clothing company in 1914, came up with the idea of embellishing dresses and sweaters by sewing in large, glimmering Swarovski crystals. But the rhinestones were so tantalizing, especially in the aftermath of the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929, they were ripped off of the clothing in department stores. That's why, in the 1930s, Eisenberg launched its own line of jewelry, mostly brooches and dress and fur clips in clear high-quality diamante.

Fine jewelry and wristwatch designer Louis Cartier came up with the concept of the double dress clip, which he patented in 1927, a clever device that let two twin clips attach to each other and worn as one brooch. The pieces could also be worn separately as matching dress clips, for example, on either side of a neckline. This versatile design, known as "clip-pins," was such a huge success that in the 1930s, fashion jeweler Coro premiered its own double clip called the Coro Duette.

Trifari also made its own popular spin on the concept, which were known as Clip-Mates. Collectors should note that sellers will often mislabel Clip-Mates as Duettes. Eisenberg, Miriam Haskell, Leo Glass, Fred Block, Mazer, Boucher, Nettie Rosenstein, Hattie Carnegie, and Vogue all made their own versions of clip-pins.

Early Coro pieces were usually Art Deco style with pavé-set clear rhinestones. But the company’s biggest hit was its figural Duettes, which were shaped like flowers, animals, and human characters, decorated with brightly colored enameling and crystal rhinestones, and often sold with matching earrings. Especially popular with collectors are more complicated pieces such as the “Quivering Camelias” Duette, which features trembler flowers on springs...

Worn well into the 1950s, vintage clips seemed to embody the whimsical and creative spirit of costume jewelry, as they could be worn in myriad ways. They could be attached to collars and labels, worn near the throat or off to the side, or at the cleavage. A matching set might be attached to either side of a sweetheart neckline, or to the breast pockets of a jacket. They could be used to hold a scarf in place, or gather the folds of a Grecian-style goddess dress.

Clips were also attached to ribbons to make elegant chokers and necklaces, and one or more could be used to compliment a rhinestone belt buckle or add whimsy to a plain leather belt. Clips were used on clutches and purses to dress them up for an evening out on the town, while shoe clips gave plain pumps a bit of glitz. They even adorned cloche hats and berets. Glamorous celebrities like Joan Crawford, Hedy Lamarr, Esther Williams, Lana Turner, Betty Grable, Ginger Rogers, and Barbara Stanwick often led the way, employing clips in new and interesting ways in their fabulous ensembles.

While many people nowadays use the terms "dress clip" and "fur clip" interchangeably, they are actually distinguished by very different clipping mechanisms. Fur clips, also known as "double-pronged clips" or "pin clips," were long, with a back mechanism featuring two sharp prongs attached to a spring. This design let them pierce the fur without wreaking havoc on it. Fur clips were often adorned with rhinestones or semi-precious stones, or metalwork like repoussé. Coro, Eisenberg, Trifari, Boucher, and Kenneth Lane made fur clips that are among the most coveted  today.

Dress clips, on the other had, have a wider and shorter clasp, whose teeth are meant to cling to thinner dress or shirt material. Miriam Haskell, Trifari, Coro, Eisenberg, and Hattie Carnegie were all known for their dress clips. Scarf clips, meanwhile, have stronger hinges but no teeth, while shoe clips are also specialized.

The most valuable dress clips are the ones that come in pairs like the Coro Duettes and the Trifari Clip-Mates. Clip-pin devices that incorporate more than two dress clips are particularly rare. Vintage fur clips with clear stones and high-quality metal finishes are also collectible. Scarf and shoe clips are more common and less valuable, but ones by designers such as Musi are worth collecting.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Researching Costume Jewelry

Researching Costume Jewelry

Jewelry lovers, venture through this amazing database of vintage jewelry articles, catalogs, and brochures, as well… [read review or visit site]

Emerald City Vintage Costume Jewelry

Emerald City Vintage Costume Jewelry

It looks like we're not in Kansas anymore with Elizabeth Rowlands' site on vintage costume jewelry from the 1940s a… [read review or visit site]

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Jewelry collectors, feast your eyes on this internet gem! It's a goldmine of jewelry information featuring all styl… [read review or visit site]

All About Jewels Dictionary

All About Jewels Dictionary

This incredible reference dictionary on jewelry, from Enchantedlearning.com, is both beautiful and comprehensive. S… [read review or visit site]

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

With its vast galleries featuring clear images of jewelry and style, this site really covers it all! Divided up by … [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Art Deco Emerald Glass Fruit Salad Crystal Rhinestone Dress Clip PairRare Trifari Sterling A. Philiippe Angel Fish Fur Clip Jelly Belly VintageAntique Chinese Art Deco Brass Enamel Carved Cinnabar Flower Dress ClipVintage Art Deco Coro Signed Duette Rhinestone Silver Fur Clip Pin BroochVintage Art Deco Silver 935 German Large Dress Clip Stunning Paste Rare Piece Vintage Coro Craft Duette Horses Sterling Silver Brooch & Fur/pin ClipVintage Jewellery Sparkling Clear Rhinestone Duette Clip Dress Brooch/pinVintage Chinese Export Sterling Silver Art Deco Carnelian Flower Fur Scarf ClipVintage Trifari Faux Demi Lune Moonstones Crystal & Blue Rhinestone Fur Clip PinTrifari Fur ClipSigned Ora 1940s Vintage Duette Fur Clip Brooch Pin Deco Crystal Rhinestone N239Vintage Trifari Rhinestone & Ennamel Bird & Ribbon Fur Clip Pin BroochVintage Art Deco Coro Craft Glass Crystal Enamel Owl Fur Clip / Dress BroochTrifari Krussman Fishel Ktf Pin Brooch Fur Clip Early 1930's Beautiful Moghul ?Vintage Alfred Philippe 1947 Trifari Sterling Fur Clip Brooch Patent Num 147202Vintage 1940's Large Signed Crown Trifari Blue Enamel And Rhinestones Fur ClipColorful Ornate Vintage Art Deco Brass Enamel Dress ClipRare Antique Sterling Silver Designer Signed Corocraft Owl Fur Clip Pin Brooch Lovely Vtg Art Deco Garnet Diamante Glass Fx Pearl Dress Clip! Up44Vintage Art Deco Sterling Silver Marcasite Sodalite Dress Clip PairVintage Trifari Sterling Silver Art Deco Fur Clip / Pin / BroochVintage Art Deco Crystal Rhinestone Double Dress Clip BroochVintage Coro 1940's Enamel Chinese Lady With Fan Fur Clip BroochChatty Cathy Sweet Happy Easter Dress & Hair ClipVintage Art Deco Crystal Rhinestone Dress Clip PairVintage 1940s Fur Clip Crystal Marquise Rhinestone Flower Silver Tone N303Rare 3d Vintage Sterling Coro Jelly Belly Adolph Katz Ladybug Dress Clip BroochVintage Art Deco Rhodium Plate Sapphire Crystal Rhinestone Dress ClipAntique Vintage Dress Clip Set Tortoise Shell Lucite Horse Deco Unique! N152Vintage Coro Duette~emerald~sapphire Cabochons Rhinestones Fur Clip Set~broochSigned Coro Craft (pegasus) Sterling Silver Gold Plated Horse Fur Clip Set N304No Reserve Art Deco Czech Glass Neiger? Dress Clip Vintage Antique1 - Vintage Bakelite Deeply Carved Cherry Red Dress Clip "tested" Beautiful !!Vintage Art Deco Pot Metal Dress Fur Clip Buckle Rhinestone Brooch Repair LotAntique Art Deco 1920s Dress Clip Crystal Rhinestone Geometric Silver Tone N301Vintage Art Deco Rhodium Plate Enamel Rhinestone Flower Dress ClipAntique Vintage Art Nouveau Deco Dress Fur Clip Rhinestone Pot Metal Unsigned Art Deco Diamante Duette Dress Clip & Vintage Brooch X 3 Diamante Drop EarringsVtg 70p Antique Victorian Rhinestone Pearl Dress Clip Necklace Brooch LotStunning Antique Estate Flower Blue Beaded 1 3/4" Pendant/ Dress Clip!!! 3740sVintage Jewelry Lot Jade Hand Mirror 13 Pierces Jellybelly Dress Clip Bracelets Vintage Jewellery Art Deco Diamante/paste Suffragette Dress Clip (2)Stunning Antique Estate Cherry Red Grape Bunch 2" Dress Clip!!! 3739oVintage Art Deco Fruit Salad Glass Stones Scarf Fur Dress Clip Signed PjcVintage Rhinestone Brooches Lot Of 6. Coro. Fur Clip Sparkle!#2141 - Vintage Bakelite Deeply Carved Espresso / Auburn Dress Clip "tested" !!New Cosplay Halloween Party Anime Costume Faux Fur Cat Fox Ears Hair ClipIncredible French Art Deco Gripoix Glass Bead Rhinestone Dress Clip Pin BroochGorgeous Vintage Hattie Carnegie Molded Jade Glass Fur Clip Earrings SetVintage Art Deco Crystal Rhinestone Dress ClipVintage Lot Fur Clip And Rhinestone Brooches I Combine Shipping Vintage Art Deco Rhinestone Dress Scarf Fur Clip #1Vintage Gold Plate Snake Brooch Dress ClipVtg Dress Scarf Sweater Clip Victorian Rhinestone Ab Crystal Prong Set Wow 4u!Chatty Cathy Sweet Happy Easter Dress & Hair Clip1920s Antique Art Deco Dress Clip Set Pot Metal Rhinestone Leaf Flower N302Vintage Scarf Clip Lot Most W Germany Jeri-lou Metal Plastic Aluminum Shoe DressStunning Antique Estate Silver Tone Rhinestone Flower 1 5/8" Dress Clip!!! 3723o* C1940 "trifari" A. Philippe Empress Eugenie - Rare Large Enameled Fur Clip PinVintage Silver Tone Pink Enamel Rhinestone Flower Stem Double Prong Fur Clip