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    

Set Of 4 Vtg Crown Trifari Cabochon Jelly Belly Bird Brooch Pins 26.1g Pat PendVintage Art Deco Signed Coro Duette Brooch Baguette Paste Geometric Fur ClipsRare Vintage Neiger Brothers Enamel Green Czech Art Glass Dragon BroochVintage 1944 Eisenberg Sterling Rare Green Rhinestone Big Spider Fur Clip BroochRare Vintage Hattie Carnegie Egyptian Revival Enamel Scarab Pendant BroochVintage 1943 Trifari Alfred Philippe Jelly Belly Spider Fur Clip BroochVintage Crown Trifari Sterling Jelly Belly 3.5" Heron W/rhinestones Brooch Vintage Crown Trifari ? Large Poodle Jelly Belly Brooch Marked Pat. Pend. High End Vintage Crown Trifari Sterling Orhcid Rhinestone Jelly Belly Brooch !!18 X Antique Silver Brooches Enamel / Scottish Ect No ReserveAntique Saphiret? Glass Brooch74p Vtg Antique Deco Nouveau Rhinestone Cameo Dress Clip Brooch Bracelet LotHollycarft 1950 Pastel Rhinestone Necklace Pin Earring SetAuthentic Chanel Fall 2008 Gripoix Glass Acrylic Opalescent Rhinestone BroochHuge Job Lot Vintage Butterfly & Dragonfly Rhinestone, Enamel Brooch / Pins 50+Vintage Pristine Rare Corocraft Sterling Pave Hot Pink Enamel Rhinestone Pin N/rVintage Art Deco Double Dress Clip And Pin Brooch Patent Pending Antique Victorian 18k Gold Seed Pearl Date Brooch PinVintage Jewellery Delightful Art Nouveau Style Plique A Jour Enamel Fairy BroochJob Lot Antique Vintage Jewellery Brooches Earrings Necklace Marcasite Niello ++Vintage Jewellery Sparkling Clear Rhinestone Cc Double C Brooch Shawl Lace PinAntique Victorian Sterling Silver Repousse Chatelaine Brooch PinAntique Victorian 19thc Silver Tussy Mussy Tussie Mussie Posy Holder Brooch 1890Vtg Kenneth Lane Kjl Mogul Jeweled Coral Cab Ornate Maltese Cross Pin NecklaceVintage Louis Rousselet Beaded Pin Brooch,glass,silverplate,made France, C1955Gorgeous Vintage Natural Shell Cameo Brooch With Fine Carving - Angel & BabyLarge Lot Of 279 Antique Vintage Pin Brooch Brooches Sterling & Costume JewelryVintage Maria Loran Ornate Molded Glass Pave Peridot Grapes Fruit Brooch PinAntique Victorian Sweet 15 Carat Gold & Garnet Bar BroochVintage Large Trifari Pretty Gold Tone Crown Brooch With Glass And Crystal GemsVintage Ciner BroochVintage Jewellery Max Neiger Czech Filigree Amethyst Rhinestone Brooch Shawl PinJob Lot Vintage / Victorian Glass & Precious Stones Signed Brooches X 50Vintage Nettie Rosenstein Sterling Brooch Quality Like Early Trifari Pin No RsrvTrifari Gold Tone Tribal Face Mask Brooch Vintage #75kMiriam Haskell Horseshoe Mark Glass Pearl Vintage PinAntique 4pc Frosted Camphor Glass Crystal Bracelet Necklace Pendant & Bar Pin NrVintage Ciner Frog Pin Brooch White Gold Green Eyes D&e Juliana Bermuda Blue Ab Rhinestone Margarita Watermelon Rivoli Pin Brooch!Nettie Rosenstein Vintage Broach Budha Emerald Pin Perfectly New ConditionVintage Art Deco Jewellery Stunning Real Marcasite Crystal Brooch Dress ClipsJob Lot Vintage / Antique Animal Rhinestone & Gold Tone Brooches X 30Vintage Schreiner Milky Blue Flower PinGreat Trifari Moghul Series Horse Brooch Pin Signed Ca: 1949Vintage Trifari Set Color-blue Rhinestone Earring Necklace BroochMagnificent Signed In Horseshoe Miriam Haskell Coral And Baroque Floral BroochVintage Trifari Christmas Tree Pin With Stones Unused In Box + TagAntique Large Victorian Carved Whitby Jet Leaf BroochMassive & Stunning Blue & Givre White Rhinestone Vintage Pin Earring SetJob Lot 17 Vintage Enamel Pearl Butterfly Brooches Collectable StunningD&e Juliana Gorgeous Amber Topaz Glass Ab Rhinestone Owl Floral? Pin Brooch 3"+!Rare Xl Vintage Haskell Demario Rhinestone & Pearl BroochVintage Miriam Haskell Rhinestone And Baroque Pearl BroochVintage Weiss White Milk Glass & Crystal Rhinestone Flower Brooch #679aJewelry Lot Vintage Victorian Sterling Silver 925 Rings Bracelets Necklace PinsVictorian Pinchbeck & Chalcedony Gothic Quatrafoil Woven Hair Mourning BroochVintage Micro Mosaic Lot Brooch Pin Necklace Pendant Earring Flower Repair T462Vintage Brooch Pin Signed Mfa Museum Of Fine Arts Enamel Octopus BlueVintage Art Deco Jewellery Gorgeous Geometric Enamel Oval Brooch Pin Pierre BexLarge Antique Edwardian Gold Over Sterling Silver Seed Pearl Brooch