One of the most immediately recognizable examples of vintage costume jewelry is the Jelly Belly pin or brooch. Pioneered by Trifari in the 1930s and perfected by the company’s head designer, Alfred Philippe, in the 1940s, the phrase Jelly Belly refers to a figural—usually an animal—pin with a rounded middle made out of polished Lucite. Jelly Bellies produced immediately after World War II are must-haves for many collectors of vintage costume jewelry.

One of the earliest Trifari Jelly Bellies depicts a duckling hatching from an egg. With its pavé-set rhinestone head, red coral eye, and gold-plated eggshell, wings, and beak, this 1930s piece is everything a good Jelly Belly should be—elegant, charming, and whimsical.

In the 1940s, Philippe created a menagerie of Jelly Belly creatures. Some were simple, such as a fly pin with rhinestones accenting the insect’s neck and wings. Others were more complex—Philippe’s seal featured an enormous arching Lucite body balancing a rhinestone sapphire ball on the tip of its gold-plated nose.

Roosters and penguins are among the more common examples of the form. Rare Trifari Jelly Bellies include poodles, rhodium-plated elephants with black enamel tusks and a red enamel eye, and a cat pin with a chain in its mouth, from the bottom of which dangled a Lucite goldfish bowl (a goldfish was carved into the plastic from behind). Lucite goldfish-bowl earrings completed the ensemble.

Not to be outdone by the competition, Coro made its own line of Jelly Bellies, designed by Arthur Katz and sold through department stores as a part of its upscale Corocraft brand. One particular striking example from the postwar period was an angel fish, with lots of blue and aqua enameling in the fins and an enormous white ball of Lucite for the body. Other Coro Jelly Bellies were sold as Duettes, Coro’s famous collection of paired pins.

Trifari sued Coro for infringing on its design, but numerous other costumer jewelers of the day produced their own versions of Jelly Bellies, most of which were left unsigned. Today signed Trifari pieces are sought by serious collectors, but unsigned ones by other manufacturers represent a relative bargain, and may even be more appealing to those who like to wear their costume jewelry without worrying too much about its welfare.


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    

Rare Vintage Enamel & Crystal Jelly Belly Seahorse Brooch Marked Sterling!Vintage Sterling Trifari Jelly Belly Seal Brooch ~*~Rare Corocraft Sterling Enamel Parrot Jelly Belly Cornucopia Fruit Pin Brooch Vintage Castlecliff Hms Jelly Belly Lucite Fish Bowl Necklace Pendant Statement Vintage Estate Alfred Philippe Trifari Blue Leaf Jelly Belly Fur Clip Deco PaveAntique Art Deco Vintage Brooch Pin Bird Figural Jelly Belly Enamel Hat 3196Rare Alfred Phillippe Trifari 1943 Jelly Belly Bird Pin Brooch Pat 135171Trifara Sterling Silver Jelly Belly Frog PinVintage Wren Bird Enamel Rhinestones & Baroque Jelly Belly Pearl Brooch PinVintage Brooch Pin Bee Figural Trembler Jelly Belly Amber Red Glass Eyes Clear RVintage Bird Pin Lot: Jelly Belly Scatter By Gerry's & 2 1950s Enamel RhinestoneSarah Coventry Signed Jelly Belly Apple Brooch!Vintage Retro Figural Owl Brooch Pin Lucite Jelly Belly & Eyes EnamelingStunning Vintage Estate Gold Tone Pink Glass Jelly Belly Dog Brooch!!! 4330kWire Spaghetti Faux Turquoise Jelly Belly Poodle Pin BroochVintage Jelly Belly And Rhinestone Christmas Tree Brooch Pin - 2.75 Inches Vintage Huge Jelly Belly Fly Brooch Ruby Red Rhinestone Figural Pin!Trifari Jelly Belly Penguin Pin BroochFish Pin Brooch Jelly Belly Blue Angel Fish And Signed Florenza Orange & YellowVtg Pink Moonglow Lucite Jelly Belly Cat Kitten Brooch Pin Ruby Rhinestone EyesClearance Trendy Green Oval Jelly Belly Style Bead Necklace SetVintage Clip-on Blue Jelly Belly Earrings Signed Austria Lot Of 6 Vintage Insect Pins And Brooches Rhinestones Pearls Enamel Jelly BellySweet Talkin Mr. Jelly Belly Talking Jelly Bean Dispenser Vintage Purple Jelly Belly Cabochon Oval Silvertone Ring Size 5-1/22 Pc Lot Pair Birds In Nest Jelly Belly Pearl Eggs Rhinestone Vintage Brooch PinVtg Jelly Belly Long Tail Seed Pearl Enamel Bird PinCoin Operated Jelly Belly Gumball Machine Cast Metal DispenserStocking Stuffer Jelly Belly Enchanted Mix Sparking Disney PrincessesFantastic Confetti Jelly Belly Glass And Rhinestone Brooch - Wow!!Jelly Belly Dispenser Need BatteryRetro Vtg Figural Cat Pin Brooch With Jeweled Eyes And Jelly BellyEleven Vintage Pins/brooches Rhinestones Enamal Jelly Belly Gold Silver Tone