Since the 1920s, Trifari has been one of the most respected and admired producers of costume jewelry in the United States. Founded in the 1910s by Gustavo Trifari, the Italian-immigrant son of a Napoli goldsmith, the company has designed jewelry that’s been worn by countless high-profile clients, from Mamie Eisenhower to Madonna.

The success of Trifari, and the reason for its collectibility today, is most often credited to French designer Alfred Philippe, the company’s chief designer from 1930 until 1968. His use of invisible settings for stones, which he originally developed for Van Cleef and Arpels, added a level of craftsmanship and technique that had not been previously seen in costume jewelry.

Among Philippe’s countless contributions are the Trifari Crown pins from the late 1930s to the 1950s. The crowns were so popular that Trifari incorporated a crown into its mark in about 1937. Authentic Trifari jewelry is typically marked with "Jewels by Trifari," "TKF" (for Trifari, Krussman & Fishel), or "Trifari," depending on when it was made.

Some of the Trifari Crown pins feature eye-catching, brightly colored cabochons. Others are composed entirely of clear crystal rhinestones for a monochromatic effect. Naturally, a series of Coronation Gems was produced in 1953 to celebrate the ascendancy of Elizabeth II to the British throne.

Trifari’s Jelly Belly pins of seals, poodles, roosters, and other animals appeared in the 1940s. Each animal’s "belly" consists of a solid Lucite "pearl" with settings of sterling silver or gold plate. Although any Jelly Belly from this decade is going to command a good price, the poodles are especially rare.

Other categories of vintage Trifari costume jewelry to look for are the vintage floral pins from the 1930s and the fruit and vegetable pieces from the 1950s. In particular, collectors like the miniature fruit pins (apples, pineapples, grape bunches, and strawberries, to name a few) from the late 1950s through the 1960s. These single pieces, usually finished in a matte silver or gold, were worn by themselves or in groups. Also popular are the patriotic pins from the 1940s of American flags and red-white-and-blue eagles.

Like all manufacturers during World War II, Trifari was unable to use metal in its products due to rationing. This forced Trifari to switch to sterling silver during the war, which tripled prices for Trifari products (although that didn’t seem to hurt sales). Post-war, Trifari wanted to go back to less costly, maintenance-free metal, but its audience was now used to silver. To hype the return to a cheaper base metal, the company began advertising a "revolutionary" new metal called Trifanium, which was a made-up name for their basic metal — unlike silver, it could be given a no-polish rhodium finish...

The campaign worked so well that by 1953, Mamie Eisenhower felt perfectly comfortable to break with tradition and wear costume jewelry to the inaugural ball. To match the First Lady’s pink satin gown (studded with 2,000 rhinestones), Alfred Philippe designed an "orientique" pearl choker with matching three-stranded bracelet and earrings, each laden with eight pearls. Three sets were made: one for the First Lady, a second for the Smithsonian, and a third for the Trifari archives. Mrs. Eisenhower was so pleased with the ensemble that she had Trifari make jewelry for her second inaugural ball in 1957.

Key terms for Vintage Trifari Costume Jewelry:

Cabochon: A stone that has been shaped and polished instead of faceted. It usually has a flat back and a shape that is round or oval.

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    

Special Crown Trifari Rhinestone, Blue Enamel & Strand Of Pearls Dress ClipVintage Crown Trifari Jeweled Sterling Silver Medieval Halberd Ax BroochTrifari Vintage "gems Of The Sea" Peapod Brooch And Earrings Set - Book Piece!Sign Crown Trifari Vintage 14" Necklace Choker Bracelet Set Thermoset Pink C3721930s Trifari Art Deco Sterling Silver 'scheherazade' Moghul Arrow Clip EarringsVintage Crown Trifari Red Aurora Borealis Rhinestone Set Necklace Earrings NrCrown Trifari Enamel Red White Mod Flower Brooch Pin Earrings Set Demi ParureVintage Gold Tone Trifari Crown Multi Color Rhinestones Crown BroochVint Trifari Philippe Crystal Moonstones & Rs Night Bird / Hummingbird Pin ExcVintage Crown Trifari "fireworks" Pave & Citrine Dangle Earrings-a.philippe 1966Trifari Signed Vintage Gold Tone Enameled Rhinestone Owl BroochRare Vintage Trifari Sterling Silver Horse Brooche Pin Rhinestones ? N/r Vintage 1944 Alfred Philippe Trifari Signed Sterling Crown Pin Brooch #137,542Iconic Art Deco Trifari Ruby Cabochon & Diamante Paste Dress Clip - Pat# 107129Signed Trifari Large Vintage Enameled Patriotic Flower Fur Clip Joseph WuytsBig Crown Trifari Signed Lucite Costume Brooch Pin - No ReserveSigned Trifari Vintage 14" Faux Pearl Rhinestone & Earring Set Leaf C711Vintage Crown Trifari Gold Tone Designer Pin/brooch Pea Pod & Rhinestones, Best!Rare Vintage Crown Trifari Gold Tone Horse Brooch With Rhinestone Eyes! SignedVintage Signed Crown Trifari Turquoise Enamel/ladybird Mushroom BroochEarly Sterling Trifari Bracelet -- Crown Jewels Series -- Trifari Vintage Signed Trifari Lavender & Purple Rhinestone Gold Tone Metal NecklaceTrifari Crown Sterling Slver Pin Jelly Alfred Philippe 1944 Repair Or Wear As IsVintage Crown Trifari Gripoix Glass And Metal NecklaceGreat Vintage Trifari White & Turquoise Enamel Gold Tone Mushroom Brooch PinVintage Trifari Tm Glass Cabochon Pearl Pendant Brooch Pin1941 Crown Trifari Posey Flower Enamel Rhinestone Fur ClipTrifari White Flower Vintage Necklace Bracelet Earring SetVintage Trifari Eagle Brooch - Signed Blue & Green EnamelVintage Bracelet, Crown Trifari, Gold Tone W/white Plastic Stars & Blue BeadsVintage 1960's Signed Crown Trifari Modern Mosaics Multi Color Butterfly Brooch2 Vintage Trifari ButterfliesVintage Trifari Pearl Necklace And Black Enamel Earrings Collectable JewelleryAlfred Philippe Trifari Crown Vemeil Multi Color Rhinestone Sterling Pin BroochTrifari Elegant Gold Plated Bib Collar Dangle Necklace Green Crystal Faux PearlTrifari Vintage Necklace Creamy Pearls On Gold Leaf Links SignedVintage Signed Crown Trifari Gold Tone Leaf Faux Pearl Rhinestone BraceletSigned Crown Trifari Vintage Clip On Earring Statement Flower Huge Enamel C29Signed Trifari Vintage 16" Necklace & Clip On Earring Set Rhinestone Swirl C67Trifari (unsigned) - 'jade & Gold' Butterfly Brooch 1950s Vintage Trifari Sterling Silver And Turquoise Pendent Brooch Vintage 1951 Trifari Alfred Philippe Poured Glass Flower NecklaceSig Crown Trifari Vintage Brooch Pin Clip On Earring Set Rhinestone Flower C416Needs Tlc Vintage Designer Crown Trifari Purple Rhinestone Brooch Glass CabochonSigned Trifari Pat Pend Creamy Faux Pearl Insect Bug Brooch PinSigned Crown Trifari Vintage Brooch Pin Blue Cystal Rhinestone Fancy C377Vintage Trifari Milk Glass Triple Strand Necklace Fun On Lunch Break!Sig Trifari Vtg 15" Necklace Etched Gold Tone Rhinestone Rootbeer Flower C409Crown Trifari Vintage Gold Tone White Rhinestone Cat Brooch Pin Red EyesCrown Trifari Elegant Silver Tone Necklace & Bracelet Demi Set Tree Bark StumpVintage Costume Estate Jewelry- Trifari Purple Rhinestone Ear RingsVintage Trifari Silvertone Green And White Rhinestone Spray BroochVtg Black Lucite W/ Gold Tone Metal Center Flower Necklace Signed TrifariTrifari Philippe Fur Clip Rare Jelly Belly Spider Insect Sterling Gold WashVintage Key Crown Trifari Set Marbled Amber Necklace + Matching Earrings Clip OnStunning Vintage Estate Signed Crown Trifari Large Leaf Clamper Bracelet!!! 701rSign Crowned Trifari Vtg Necklace Bracelet Earring Set Molded Lucite Flower C707Early Vintage Crown Trifari Enamel Rhinestone Flower Fur Clip Philippe?Vtg Trifari Raspberry Rhinestone Hot Pink Bouquet PinVintage Trifari Royal Blue, Purple Green Cabochon Rhinestone Brooch, Earring Set

Recent News: Trifari Costume Jewelry

Source: Google News

NYSE Stocks on the Move: Kate Spade & Co (NYSE:KATE), Lennar (NYSE:LEN ...
wsnewspublishers, July 2nd

It offers handbags, briefcases, small leather goods, fashion accessories, jewelry, fragrances, and apparel for men, women, and children; and holds licensing agreements for footwear, swimwear, watches, optics, tabletop products, legwear, electronics...Read more

Patriotic Trifari pin surged with diplomat's book
Press of Atlantic City, June 26th

Answer: Your Uncle Sam top hat pin, a popular World War II-era piece, was made by Trifari, Krussman & Fishel, New York City jewelry manufacturers. Italian immigrant Gustave Trifari founded the company in 1910, and by 1925 it had become a corporation ...Read more

Current Trade News Analysis on: Red Hat (NYSE:RHT), Kate Spade & Co ...
wsnewspublishers, June 24th

The company markets and sells its products under the kate spade new york, KATE SPADE SATURDAY, JACK SPADE, AXCESS, MARVELLA, and TRIFARI brand names. It also designs, develops, and supplies jewelry for the LIZ CLAIBORNE and MONET ...Read more

Mid Cap Sector Active Runners - Helmerich & Payne (HP), Intrexon (XON ...
Techsonian (press release), June 23rd

It offers handbags, briefcases, small leather goods, fashion accessories, jewelry, fragrances, and apparel for men, women, and children; and holds licensing agreements for footwear, swimwear, watches, optics, tabletop products, legwear, electronics...Read more

Zacks Rating on Kate Spade & Company
News Watch International, June 15th

It offers handbags, briefcases, small leather goods, fashion accessories, jewelry, fragrances, and apparel for men, women, and children; and holds licensing agreements for footwear, swimwear, watches, optics, tabletop products, legwear, electronics...Read more

Update: Kate Spade & Company Short Interest Drops by -2.4%
News Watch International, June 10th

It offers handbags, briefcases, small leather goods, fashion accessories, jewelry, fragrances, and apparel for men, women, and children; and holds licensing agreements for footwear, swimwear, watches, optics, tabletop products, legwear, electronics...Read more

HIDDEN HISTORY: Batavia area stores 50 years ago, 1965
The Daily News Online (blog), May 9th

Costume jewelry was from $1 to $18 and handbags from $2.98 to $18. Carr's Department Store -- Among the Mother's Day specials at ''Batavia's finest store'' were jewelry by Trifari for $3, bulky style sweaters for $12.98, dainty hankies from 69 cents ad...Read more

Vintage jewelry for sale at third 'Bud to Bloom' luncheon
Finger Lakes Times, May 7th

The large selection of more contemporary fare — from Brighton, Trifari and Monet along with many unsigned pieces — have been donated by community members. New for 2015 is the addition of a select number of designer handbags, including one-of-a-kind ...Read more