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 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    

Antique Vintage Authentic Wwii, Victory Bakelite V-pin, NrHuge Lot Vtg Enamel Jewelry Brooch Earrings Necklace Ring Rhinestone Signed LbsJuliana Pink Rivoli Rhinestone Brooch Earrings Set D&e Delizza Elster RhinestoneVictorian Gold Cased Garnet & Turquoise Entwined Snake/serpent Brooch Circa 1860Huge Lot Vtg Enamel Jewelry Brooch Earrings Necklace Ring Rhinestone Signed LbsRare Hattie Carnegie Antelope/ Goat/ Anteater? Primitives On Parade Pin , SignedElizabeth Taylor Avon Walking Elephant Collection Pin & Earring SetOrnate Antique Brass Chatelaine 6 Charms Perfume,scissors,thimble,pin Cushion ++Super *rare* Vintage Signed Staret Jelly Belly Rhinestone Fish Brooch!!! G2798Vintage Marcel Boucher Gold Plate Enamel Rhinestone Bird Brooch*rare* Vintage Sterling Silver Crown Trifari Jelly Belly Seahorse Brooch! G2803Signed Schreiner Ny Art Glass Fluss Stones Champagne Rhinestone Brooch Pin Vintage Hattie-carnegie Poured-glass BroochGorgeous Huge 3+" D&e Juliana Carved Flower Stones Red Rhinestones Brooch Pin An Early And Important Signed Christian Dior Paris Gripoix Insect Brooch PinVtg Art Deco Czech Glass Sterling Silver Locket Victorian Signed Brooch Pin LotVtg Christian Lacroix Couture 22kt Gilt Gripoix Maltese Cross Runway Brooch PinHuge Lot Vtg Cameo Jewelry Brooch Earrings Necklace Ring Locket Glass RhinestoneVintage Designer Christian Dior Brooch #25 198 Chip To StoneLarge Vintage Signed Miracle Silver Tone Rhinestone Thistle Flower BroochMega *rare* Vintage Signed Sterling Crown Trifari Jelly Belly Frog Brooch! G2800Lot Of Vintage Enamel And Rhinestone Flower Brooch Lot*omg* Mega Rare Signed Coro Craft Jelly Belly Enamel Duck Bird Brooch!!! G2784Vtg Pea Pod Brooch Pin Rhinestone Pearl Peas Schiaparelli ? Or WeissVintage Art Deco Jewellery Arrow Signed Duette Brooch Paste Geometric Fur ClipsVintage Coro Craft Sterling Silver Blue & Clear Rhinestone Swan Bird Pin BroochVintage Some Easy Repair Lot Single Earring Part Brooch Bracelet Rhinestone W603Vintage Boucher Brooch Pin Enamel Leaves 2 Dangling Clusters Simulated PearlsJuliana Vintage Set Brooch Pin Earring Purple Peridot Green Rhinestone Tier W428Gorgeous Antique Victorian Ultra-fine Carved Hand & Floral Bouquet Bone Pin 1880Vintage Lot 32 Enamel Flower Colorful Wedding Brooch Pin W510Boucher Book Piece Peacock Feather Rhinestone Brooch Signed & Numbered 8069p 20gVintage Art Deco 1920's Mixed Costume Jewellery Buckles, Brooches - V15 B84Juliana Book Piece Blue Rhinestone Cats Eye Cabochon Vintage PinVintage 1948 Sterling Trifari Earrings Alfred Philippe Match Talisman Brooch300 Pc Vtg Rhinestone Sterling Gf Jewelry Lot 67 Brooch Kramer Sets Ja291Vintage Important Signed & Dated Christian Dior Gripoix Glass Brooch & EarringsVintage Trifari Bird Jelly Belly Brooch Pin Alfred Philippe Huge Lot Vtg Enamel Jewelry Brooch Earrings Necklace Ring Rhinestone Signed LbsAntique Bakelite Butterscotch Cherry 150+gram Green Brooch Bracelet Lot W86Rare Vintage Joseph Mazer Sterling Silver Faux Moonstone Rhinestone BroochVintage Decorative Stone Pin Brooch By Mitchel Maer For Christian Dior – C1950sVintage Art Deco 800 Silver Ornate Marcasite Emerald Glass Festoon Brooch PinHuge Lot Vtg Enamel Jewelry Brooch Earrings Necklace Ring Rhinestone Signed LbsVintage Italian Micro Mosaic Brooches And Pins X 12 Huge Lot Vtg Cameo Jewelry Brooch Earrings Necklace Ring Locket Glass RhinestoneVintage Lot All Signed Crown Trifari Brooch Pin Necklace Flower Rhinestone W602Vintage Juliana Topaz Color Crystal Rhinestone Turtle Brooch #273aVintage Jewellery Beautiful Signed Ruby Red Baguette Crystal Flower Brooch SetSwoboda Jade Leaf Pearl Gold Tone Pin Brooch & Earrings Swo IncAlexis Bittar Large Hand Carved Yellow Orange Ombre Anemone Flower Brooch PinHigh Quality Vintage Lot 114 Brooch Pin Rhinestone Flower Enamel Figural W500Unique ~ Early Vintage Trifari Brooch ~ Marked SterlingMega *rare* Vintage Signed Marcel Boucher Jelly Belly Easter Bunny Brooch! G2799*rare* Vintage Estate Signed Eisenberg Ice Pink/purple Rhinestone Brooch! G2759Vintage Enamel Flower Brooch Pin Lot Summer Daisy Sun Statement Rose Cute! Dd5Antique Art Deco Nouveau Rhinestone Flower Enamel Filigree Brooch Lot W80Antique Victorian Brooch Pin Emerald Green Glass Serpent Snake Egyptian W468Vtg Ciner Signed Rare Iconic Articulated Balloon Clown Enamel Rhinestone PinStunning Vintage Estate Signed Jomaz Rhinestone Turquoise Cab Brooch!!! G2762