Vintage Costume Jewelry Pins and Brooches

A costume jewelry pin or brooch can say a lot about a woman. If she's wearing a rhinestone-studded Christmas pin, she has immediately communicated her fondness for the season. If her coat is decorated with a colorful Bakelite brooch, she's signaling her affection for 1930s styles. And if her blouse is weighted down by an over-the-top floral display, dripping with fake rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, maybe the message is simply that’s it’s time to have a bit of fun.

Early on, costume jewelry manufacturers understood the pin’s powers of expression. Trifari designer Alfred Philippe created crown-shaped pins from the late 1930s to the 1950s. The crowns were so popular that Trifari incorporated a crown into its mark around 1937. Some of the Trifari crown pins feature eye-catching, brightly colored cabochons. Others are composed entirely of clear crystal rhinestones for a monochromatic effect.

Trifari was also one of several companies to make Jelly Belly pins of animals, whose bellies were formed from a solid Lucite “pearl.” In the 1940s, Trifari fashioned Jelly Belly pins of seals, roosters, and other creatures—its poodles are especially rare.

Beyond the Jelly Bellies and crowns, other types of vintage Trifari pins and brooches to look for are the floral displays of the 1930s and the fruit and vegetable pieces from the 1950s. In particular, collectors like the miniature fruit pins (apples, pineapples, grapes, and strawberries) from the late 1950s through the 1960s. Also popular are Trifari’s patriotic pins from the 1940s of American flags or red-white-and-blue eagles.

Philippe’s counterparts at competitor Coro were Adolph Katz, who became the company’s design director in 1924, and Gene Verri, who designed for Coro from 1933 until 1963. Katz created Coro’s en tremblant floral pins, which featured tiny metal springs that allowed elements of the pin to vibrate when its wearer moved.

Among the most collectible vintage Coro pins are the Coro Duettes from 1931 to the 1950s. The first Duette designs were Art Deco and monochromatic in style, but subsequent pins include pairs of enameled owls with aquamarine eyes and pavé-set rhinestone bodies, crowned cherubs, horse heads, and an Indian brave and squaw. Though their popularity ebbed in the 1950s, today a vintage Coro Duette, particularly one that trembles like the Quivering Camellia, is highly prized.

Coro’s Corocraft brand was a step up in quality, price, and prestige. Corocraft had its own line of Jelly Belly pins that were very similar to those made by Trifari. Whereas most...

Vendome replaced Corocraft in 1953 as the top of the Coro line. This was serious, simulated bling—by the 1960s, Vendome’s Helen Marion had designed a set of six gold-plated pins inspired by the work of the great Cubist artist Georges Braque.

Equally collectible are the Christmas tree pins of Stanley Hagler, who began his career as a business advisor to Miriam Haskell before starting his own jewelry company in the late 1950s. Hagler’s Christmas tree pins ranged from squat, triangular pins dripping with Murano glass beads to trees made of mother-of-pearl and red-glass flowers.

Another former Haskell associate to excel in the art of Christmas brooches was Larry Vrba, whose tree pins were wonderfully outrageous, resembling medals honoring yuletide achievements more than jeweled depictions of actual trees.

The vintage pins and brooches created by Eisenberg & Sons in the 1930s and ’40s were festooned with aqua, ruby, and crystal glass. Many Eisenberg pins were abstract and vaguely organic, but others resembled kings, queens, mermaids, and ballerinas. Animals were also Eisenberg favorites. Some were relatively straightforward embellishments of horses, zebras, birds, and butterflies, but other Eisenberg brooches told mini-stories, like the one depicting Puss in Boots.

Another important, vintage costume jewelry designer to excel in the art of pins and brooches was Marcel Boucher, who designed for Cartier and Mazer Brothers before going solo in 1937. His abstracted animal figurals of owls and elephants are classics—many were made by hand rather than being mass produced, which makes them highly collectible today.

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, 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 Jewellery Fantastic Large Carved Cicada Beetle Bug BroochVintage Juliana Green/crystal/watermelon Rhinestone BroochAl Vintage Bakelite/early Plastic Charm Bracelet And Brooch Pencils JacksUnsign Schreiner Vintage Brooch Pin Earring Set Glass Rhinestone Flower Dome 45Vintage Austria Glass Grape Strawberry Fruit Pin Brooch Enamel RhinestoneJuliana Amazing Raised Flower Watermelon Rhinestone Vintage PinJuliana Book Piece Rare Pink Limoges Stipped Cabochon Rhinestone PinJob Lot Vintage Antique Costume Jewellery Brooches Marcasite Porcelain Etc 35+Vtg Trifari Alfred Philippe C 1940’s Sterling Silver Dragonfly Brooch! Wow!Job Lot Vintage Antique Costume Jewellery Brooches Porcelain Stone Paste Etc 30+Rare Alfred Philippe Trifari 1942 Book Piece Birds On A Branch Pin W/stones! Nr!Stylish Art Deco French Silver Cicado Bug Insect Brooch / Pin 1920 / 30'sRare Vintage Har Faux Jade Rhinestone Jeweled Laughing Buddha Man BroochVintage Italy Art Deco Ornate Micro Mosaic Glass Millefiori Flowers Brooch Pin Ciner Vintage Brooch/pendant Designer SignedSigned 1958 Christian Dior Vintage Rhinestone Domed Tiered BroochAntique Victorian Brooch Pin Deep Carved Salmon Coral Cameo Flower Gorgeous! 156Stunning High End Huge Vtg Signed 123pc Rhinestone Brooch Set Jewelry Lot Fo1840Signed Trifari Vintage Necklace Brooch Pin Earring Set Jelly Glass Flower 19455 Pc Vintage Retro Metal Enamel Flower Brooch Pin Lot Big Colorful BloomsJob Lot Vintage Costume Jewellery Earrings Brooches Perfume Watch Necklaces++Vintage French Art Nouveau Carved Celluloid Mother & Baby Bear Scene Brooch PinVintage 90+ Lot High Quality Brooch Scatter Pin Flower Rhinestone Enamel Glass!Vintage Juliana Smoky-gray Rhinestone Star Brooch EarringsHuge 91 Piece Vintage Enamel Metal Flower Power Brooch Pin LotOutstanding Large Vintage Christian Dior Rhinestone Brooch & Earring Demi ParureVintage Lot Cameo Woman Locket Picture Necklace Brooch Bracelet Rhinestone Nice!Unused Signed Large Butler & Wilson Scottie West Highland Terrier Dog BroochLarge Antique Art Nouveau Sterling Silver Enamel Iris Flower BroochVtg Juliana Book Piece Rare Siam Cascading Dangle Swirled Art Glass Brooch Pin*rare* Mind Blowing Juliana D&e Earring Brooch Bracelet Necklace Set!!! G2716Rare Vintage Schreiner Topaz Brown Aurora Borealis Rhinestone Poodle BroochVintage Jewellery Scottish Celtic Amethyst Thistle Pewter Plaid Brooch Pin ShawlHtf Verified D&e Juliana Dragons Breath Amethyst Rhinestone Brooch Pin EarringsVintage 1966 Trifari Blue & Green Modern Mosaics Butterfly Figural Brooch PinVintage D&e Juliana Watermelon Rhinestone Kitty Cat Brooch Pin Book Piece!Juliana/d&e Coral Easter Egg Stipple Cabochon Pin/pendant Book PieceVintage Joseph Mazer Ornate Art Deco Amethyst Baguette Crystal Spray Brooch PinAntique Victorian Bohemian Garnet Cluster Bow Buckle Brooch Pin200+ Huge Vintage Costume Jewelry Lot Brooch Pin Bracelet Rhinestone Earrings NeVintage Juliana D&e Rhinestone Crystal Cha Cha Necklace Brooch Earring Sets LotStunning Antique Vintage Victorian Brooch Pin Czech Glass Rhinestone Flower 215Vintage Jewellery Gorgeous Enamel & Clear Rhinestone Gold Spider Brooch PinAntique Nouveau Deco Jewelry Lot Cameo Bar Pin Victorian Rhinestone Locket Gold?Wow Antique Art Deco Lot 60+ Brooch Dress Stick Bar Scatter Pin Clip RhinestoneSigned Rmn Vintage Brooch Pin Fish Multicolor Rhinestone Enamel Figural K16D&e Juliana Blue Green Rhinestone Gold Venus Flames Brooch Pin Pendant Earrings Beautiful Vintage Amethyst Cultured Pearl Branch Tree Brooch By Swoboda AmazingStunning Vintage Estate Juliana D&e Blue Rhinestone Flower Brooch Minty!!! G2487All Signed Crown Trifari Lot Vintage Necklace Brooch Pin Bracelet Pendant CharmVintage Cameo Carved Shell Pin Brooch Chariot Lions ***no Reserve*** Free ShipHuge Vintage Lot 210+ Mix Brooch Pin Earrings Rhinestone Flower Beads Enamel!Antique Victorian Brooch Pin Moonstone Dagger Paste Gold Fill Flower Awesome! 32Rare Vintage Unsigned Schreiner Gunmetal Finish Pastel Rhinestone Snail BroochVtg Rhinestones Joan Rivers Earrings Tennis Bracelet Kramer Brooch Jewelry LotVintage Jewellery Sterling Silver Rims & Backs Guilloche Enamel BroochBig Spectacular Corocraft Sterling 1943 Bird BroochVintage Large Lucite Bakelite Bird Swallow Pin Heart Dangle Unusual NrTrifari Blue Enamel Sparkling Ice Rhinestone Fish Pin Rare!Antique Victorian 12k Gold Filled Genuine Coral Branch Pendant Brooch Pin Lot 60