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 Art Deco Enamel Sapphire Ruby Rhinestone Jelly Belly Fruit Basket BroochVintage Trifari Gold Plate Rhinestone Pearl Pea Pod Brooch & Earrings SetGood Large Size Antique Victorian Double Sided Carved Shell Cameo BroochVintage Trifari Rhodium Plate Enamel Rhinestone Flower Basket Pin Clip BroochVintage Jewellery Art Nouveau Style Lady On Moon And Stars Brooch SignedHuge Vintage Eisenberg Original Emerald Green Crystal Rhinestone BroochModernist 60s David Andersen Uni Sterling Rhodochrosite Pendant/brooch Lot Vtg Estate Rhinestone Pins Brooches Earrings Juliana Style Bogoff Colorful Collectible Vintage Trifari Gold Plated Rhinestones Fx Pearl Pea Pod Pin BroochVintage Crown Trifari Gold Tone Pearl Maple Leaf Spray Brooch Pin Earrings SetCrown Trifari Fan Pin Brooch Alfred Philippe 1949Exquisite Vtg Kenneth Lane Kjl Carved Jade Coral Crystal Moth Couture Brooch PinBoucher One-of-a-kind Dragonfly Brooch Mop Wings 8316p Vintage Antique AwesomeVintage Hattie Carnegie Gold Plate Rhinestone Art Glass Surrealist Eye BroochVintage Israel Sterling Silver Miniature Perfume Scent Bottle BroochVintage Holiday Christmas Tree Pin Brooch Lot 15 Pcs Lbs RhinestonesVintage Art Deco Jewellery Beautiful Signed Marcasite & Enamel Dove Bird BroochVintage Signed Miracle Scottish Celtic Cross Agate Plaid Brooch Shawl Kilt PinVintage Trifari Gold Plate Enamel Sapphire Emerald Rhinestone Butterfly BroochVintage Lot Of Enamel Metal Flower Power Brooches And Earrings Mixed PinsVintage Edwardian/nouveau Floral Paste Lace Pin Brooch Vintage Coro Craft Sterling Wide Mouth Fish PinAntique French Art Deco Sterling Silver Faceted Crystal Paste Butterfly BroochLarge Vintage Signed Miracle Scottish Celtic Agate Plaid Brooch Kilt Shawl PinVictorian Mourning Brooch Enamel Hair Memento Mori Large C 1870-80 125Vintage Jewellery Gorgeous Enamelled Butterfly BroochVintage Marcel Boucher #5931 Gold Tone Molded Milk Glass Cornucopia Brooch PinVintage Old Trifari Alfred Philippe Rhinestone Flower Floral Gold Pin BroochSuperb Vintage Chinese China Carved Birds Flowers Amber ? BroochVintage Job Lot Costume Jewellery Collection Bracelets Necklaces Brooches JadeStunning Very Big Butler And Wilson Dancing Couple Crystal BroochVintage Martha Sleeper Bakelite ? Owl Pin Disney BambiVintage Kenneth Jay Lane Rhinestone Coral Cab Maltese Cross Pin Brooch Pendant Vintage Mixed Lot Enamel Flower Power Brooch & More~sets~30~signed*rare* Vintage Estate Signed Kramer Jelly Belly Bird Bath Enamel Brooch!!! G8070Large Antique Victorian Carved Bovine Bone 'stag & Deer' 3d Brooch, Pin C1880Vintage Diamond Shaped Micro Mosaic BroochVintage Art Deco Enamel Rhinestone Dog In His House BroochVictorian Antique Vintage Jewellery Scottish Banded Agate & Gilt BroochVintage Rare Marcel Boucher Gripoix Glass Rhinestone Bird Brooch - PinVintage Machine Age Art Deco Translucent Cherry Red Bakelite Brooch5 Pc Pin/brooch Lot: Boucher, Kjl (kenneth J. Lane), Possible Carnegie30pc Huge Cameo Lockets Hearts Mother Jewelry Lot Vtg Brooches Necklace EarringsVintage Art Deco Brooch Pin Peking GlassVintage Figural Pin Brooch Lot Rhinestone Enamel Flower Butterfly Bird Bee MouseRare Stunning Vintage Estate Signed Staret Rhinestone Flower Brooch Minty! G8138Beautiful Art Deco Vibrant Red Celluloid? & Chrome Poppy BroochVintage Jewellery Diamante / Paste Christmas Brooch Signed Trifari (1)Vintage Signed A&s Attwood & Sawyer Enamel & Crystal Albino Snake Brooch Pin3 X Vintage Micro Mosaic Brooches / Pins Inc Mandolin Marked ItalyVintage Art Deco Jewellery Beautiful Enamelled Butterfly Brooch PinVintage Boucher Brooch And EarringsVintage Jewellery Real Shell Cameo Brooches Pins Spares RepairsVintage Collection Of Scottish Celtic Jewellery Brooches. NecklaceVintage Art Deco Jewellery Diamante / Paste Suffragette Brooch (2) 8 Piece Juliana D & E Rhinestone Bracelet, Earrings, Pins, Necklace Lot PartsVtg Jewelry Rhinestone Boucher Brooch Lg Cameo Necklace Lisner Pot Metal Lot #4Vintage Jewellery Beautiful Signed Orientalist Flower Lady Face BroochJoan Rivers Jewelry Excellent Gold Bronze Rhinestone Cobra Snake Pin BroochVintage Signed Miracle Scottish Celtic Citrine Thistle Plaid Brooch Kilt Pin