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    

Trifari Ktf Art Deco Clip-mates Ruby & Diamante Dress Clips Bangle Bracelet ~nr~Alfred Philippe Design Trifari Brooch W/ Amber Rhinestones, 2 Flower Heads 1939Trifari Jewels Of India Red Blue & Green Rhinestone PinRare Iconic Art Deco Ktf Trifari Invisibly-set Ruby & Diamante Paste Dress ClipTrifari Jewels Of India Red Blue & Green Rhinestone BraceletVintage Signed Crown Trifari Invisible Emerald Rhinestone Philippe Pin Ear Set Trifari Huge Sterling Silver Ruby Red & Ice Rhinestone Flower Fur Clip4 Old Vtg Rhinestone Enamel Bird Pins Huge Cockatoo Fur Clip Coro Trifari ?Gorgeous Large Vintage Rhinestone Faux Pearls Butterfly Brooch By Crown TrifariRare Crown Trifari Brooch Pin Buggy With Classy Couple Spinning WheelsSigned Crown Trifari Vintage Clip Earring Clair Di Lis Lucite Rhinestone F539Trifari Jewels Of India Red Blue & Green Rhinestone Clip EarringsSpectacular Trifari 1944 Jelly Belly/rhinestone Sterling Elephant BroochTrifari Jewels Of India Red Blue & Green Rhinestone BraceletTrifari Alfred Philippe Rhinestone Flower Cart Pin W/ Moving WheelsSigned Crown Trifari Fruit Salad Molded Glass Link Bracelet In BlueTrifari Jewels Of India Red Blue & Green Rhinestone PinVintage Crown Trifari Sterling Silver Glass Jewel Crusted Double Tusk BroochVintage Signed Trifari Multicolor Rhinestone Necklace Bracelet Pin & Earrings Vintage Signed Trifari Faux Pearl Pea Pod BroochVintage Trifari Gold Plated Pearl Necklace RareVintage Bracelet Signed Trifari Wide Chunky Clear Rhinestone Pearl Gold Tone Vintage Crown Trifari Ring Set - Changeable Stone - Five Colors - Nice!Trifari Jewels Of India Red Blue & Green Rhinestone Clip EarringsGorgeous Trifari Sterling Vintage 1940's Jelly Belly Crown Rhinestone BroochRare Garden Of Eden Snake Brooch Signed (crown Trifari) Vintage 50s PhillipeVintage Earrings Signed Trifari Clear Crystal Rhinestone Pearl Clipon Gold ToneVintage Necklace Signed TrifariTrifari Turquoise Blue Beaded Vintage PinVintage Necklace Signed Trifari Green Lucite Choker Plastic Gold Tone ChainTrifari Queen Of Hearts Rhinestone Necklace And Bracelet SetStunning Vintage Signed Crown Trifari Enamel Faux Pearl Grapes Brooch!!! 853fVintage Trifari Starflight Blue Clear Rhinestone Fireworks Series PinVintage Signed Crown Trifari Brushed Gold Tn Emerald Crystal Rhinestone BroochA Beautiful Trifari Brooch With Coral Glass Cabochons & Green EnamelStunning Vintage Signed Crown Trifari Pat Pend Rhinestone Floral Bracelet!! 887rVintage Crown Trifari Frosted Poured Glass 3 Flower Necklace W/double Rope ChainVintage Trifari Signed 3 Pieces Necklace Bracelet Earrings Parure White EnamelVintage Crown Trifari Green Leaf Clip On Earrings Matching Pin SetVintage Crown Trifari Green Enamel & Rhinestone Feather Brooch/pin BeautifulVintage Trifari Crown Southampton Goldtone Faux Pearl Turquoise Bracelet SignedVintage Signed Trifari Pat.pend Gold-tone Metal Clear Rhinestone Hearts NecklaceVintage Crown Trifari Glass Moonstone & Rhinestone "squirrel" Clip EarringsVintage Crown Trifari Faux Pearl Rhinestone Gold Fan Brooch & Earrings Set Rare Vtg Antique Signed Trifari Rhinestone Flower Fur Dress Clip Brooch PinTrifari Costume Vintage Necklace StunningTrifari Faux Pearl And Gold Tone NecklaceVintage Crown Trifari Necklace 9 Strands Faux Pearl Floral Clasp Glass Beads 40sVintage Trifari Fanciful Fish Brooch, Enamel & Rhinestones, Large 2-3/4 In.!!Vintage Genuine Trifari Signed Grapes Pin Broach Blue And Gold ToneVintage Signed Trifari Jelly Belly Bird Earrings Brooch Pin Set Rhinestone GoldVintage Lisner Lucite Leaf +trifari Necklace, Corocraft Earrings, Monet BraceletSigend Crown Trifari Vintage Brooch Crown Pin Crystal Rhinestone Royalty F336Vintage Crown Trifari Butterfly Brooch Fun On Lunch Break!Trifari Turquoise Aqua Blue, Faux Pearl Cabochon Necklace, Brooch, 2 Earring SetStunning Trifari Faux Pearl Leaf Brooch Earrings Set W/ Sparkly CrystalsVintage Trifari Blue Green Gold Tropical Fish Pin - Enamel Crystals Stunning!!Crown Trifari Bracelet-signed-dazzling!!- Mint Condition-sz.7.5"-estate Find-nrVintage Brooch Pin Signed Trifari 1990 Usa Flag Clear Rhinestone Gold ToneVintage Crown Trifari Goldtone Leaf, Pearl & Crystal Bracelet & Choker

Recent News: Trifari Costume Jewelry

Source: Google News

Pre-Market Stocks Roundup: Gannett Co (NYSE:GCI), Regal Entertainment (NYSE ...
wsnewspublishers, July 31st

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

Rago Announced Its Fall/Winter 2015 Auctions
ArtfixDaily, July 30th

Jewelry and couture without reserves, includes a varied selection of late 19th thru 20th century antique and period jewelry, modern gemstone jewelry, engagement and bridal jewelry, designer fashion jewelry and bijoux, as well as designer couture...Read more

Consumer Goods Stocks Buzz - Kate Spade (KATE), Wolverine World Wide (WWW ...
Techsonian (press release), July 17th

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

Kate Spade & Co (NYSE:KATE) falling 13% according to data from S&P Capital IQ
Inside Trade, July 15th

The company offers apparel, handbags, briefcases, travel bags, small leather goods, tabletop products, legwear, bedding, stationery, jewelry, apparel, footwear, optics, fragrances, electronics cases, fashion accessories, beauty, and home décor products...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

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

The crown jewel of fundraisers coming up for Ontario, Yates county women, April 30th

Those attending the event will be able to browse hundreds of jewelry pieces before the luncheon featuring designers such as Larry Vrba, Kenneth Jay Lane, Florenza, Juliana, and others. A large selection of more contemporary fare by Brighton, Trifari...Read more

Art and Antiques: Collectors love Valentine's keepsakes
Centre Daily Times, January 31st

Jewelry: There is nothing quite like getting a piece of fine jewelry featuring gold, silver, or other precious metals and gemstones. Costume jewelry also is a popular Valentine's gift by makers such as Sarah Coventry, Weiss, Trifari, Coro, Monet and...Read more