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    

Art Deco Un-drilled Pools Of Light Rock Crystal Solid Silver Scorpion Brooch Vintage Enamel Flower Brooch Pin Lot Rhinestone Butterfly Rose Daisy Color Se196Job Lot Vintage Costume Jewellery Brooches Paste Cameo Embroidery Shell Etc 25+Rare Vintage Art Deco Oreste Agnini Rhinestone Moon Over Miami BroochSign Emilia Castillo 925 Sterling Silver Vintage Brooch Pin Amber Bee Insect1017Joan Rivers Bee Picture Frame -8 Signed Bee Pins To WearJob Lot Vintage Costume Jewellery Brooches Porcelain Animal Claw Scottish Etc ++Job Lot Vintage Costume Jewellery :- Brooch - Necklace - Rings - WatchVintage Jomaz Blue Bird On Branch Rhinestone Brooch Pin #102Vtg Czech Huge Purple Emerald Cut Glass Rhinestone Necklace Ab Earrings Pin Lot!Ciner Vintage Figural Elephant Brooch The Rarer Type With Turquoise Color StonesMiriam Haskell Vintage Oval Floral & Leaf Baroque Pearl Brooch Estate Item Nr!Art Deco Ornate Silver Mounted Cameo Ring Other Cameo Brooches Shell & Stick PinTrifari Signed Crown Jelly Belly Vintage Brooch #71Vintage Art Deco Jewellery Unworn Marcasite Silver Duette Brooch Pin Dress Clip25+pc Joan Rivers Estate Collection Jewelry-necklaces Brooch + Music/clock EggCollection Of Vintage Jewellery Silver Brooches Necklaces Rings Etc.micro MosaicJob Lot Vintage Costume Jewellery Brooches Paste Enamel Fiorenza Leaf Spanish ++Antique Victorian Rose Cut Bohemian Czech Garnet Star Brooch & PendantMiriam Haskell Vintage Baroque Pearl Style Ornate Floral Brooch Estate Item Nr!Vintage Miriam Haskell Floral Cluster Faux Pearl Dangle Brooch Pin #99Vintage Trifari "two Birds On A Branch" Pin Yellow Aqua Bellies Alfred PhillippeVintage Trifari "gems Of The Sea" Pea Pod BroochHuge Lot Vintage Enamel Flower Brooch Pins, Earrings, RingKenneth Lane Vintage Estate Coral & Shell Design Brooch With Rhinestones Nr!Gorgeous Art Deco Rhinestone & Bakelite Brooch Vintage Reja Sterling Silver Crystal Emerald Rhinestone Pheasant BroochMiriam Haskell Vintage Pearl Style Floral & Leaf Brooch Estate Item Nr!Rare Vintage Miriam Haskell Coral Art Glass Rhinestone Beaded Flower Basket PinSigned Joan Rivers Crystal Bee Pin / Brooch Gold Tone With Green Eyes-stunningVintage 1970s Scandinavian Modernist Sterling Silver Brooch Vintage Enamel Flower Lot Brooch Pin Earrings Rhinestone Bouquet M104Amazing Vintage Ab Rhinestone Signed Kramer Brooch Bracelet Demi Set!! 6270pRare!! Schiaparelli Molded Glass Rose Flower & Rhinestone PinAntique Edwardian Hat Pins Pearl Entwined Lily Of Valley Cats Eye Fleur De Lis Vintage Jewelry Set Juliana Brooch Clip Earrings Blue Green Rhinestones Vintage Bakelite Custard Dangle Pin Brooch The Gingham Dog And Calico CatVtg Miriam Haskell Blue Glass Beads Rhinestones Pin Brooch & Earrings Set #1179Vintage Eisenberg Ice Gold Metal Clear Rhinestones Christmas Tree Pin Brooch~nr!Vintage Eisenberg Ice Gold Metal Colored Rhinestones Christmas Tree Pin BroochVintage Cameo Mix Lot Necklace Brooch Pin Earring Bracelet Rhinestone! Se191Vintage Brooch Pin Lot Scatter Gold Tn Cov Monet Rhinestone Leaf Flower I4Beautiful Vtg Garnet Red Prong Set Rhinestone Bib Necklace Brooch Earrings Lot!Trifari Cabochon Cross Brooch PendantBig Lot Vintage Enamel Flower Brooches & Earrings Sets Kramer Coro Joan RiversSigned Weiss Red Rivoli Watermelon Rhinestone Vintage Estate Pin Brooch Set Vintage Philippe Crown Trifari Hummingbird Jelly Belly Brooch Pin #95Miriam Haskell Vintage Floral Brooch With Pearl Style Dangle Estate Item Nr!Regency Green Rhinestone Maltese Cross Pendant Brooch Vintage #517aVintage Trifari Jelly Belly Swan Gold Vermeil Sterling BroochVintage Brooch Pin Lot High Quality Scatter Rhinestone Flower Figural Dog Se212Eisenberg Ice Beautiful Blue Rhinestone Vintage PinMiriam Haskell Vintage Pearl Style Ornate Floral Brooch Estate Item Nr!Vintage Lot Brooch Ring Etc Peru Silver Mother Of Pearl Butterfly WingVintge Carved Green & Yellow Apple Juice Bakelite Daisy Flower Pin Brooch ~ Wow!Lot Of Vintage Boucher Pins And EarringsBeautiful & Sparkly Signed Joan Rivers Blue Bee Pin From Old EstateJoan Rivers Jewelry Red Crystal Rhinestone Bee / Insect / Bug Pin BroochKenneth J Lane Kjl Massive Pink & Purple Rhinestone Flower PinWeiss Emerald Green Aurora Borealis Rhinestone Gold Pin Brooch Vintage