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    

Crown Trifari A. Phillipe Sterling Silver Jelly Belly Bee Brooch Pin RhinestonesCrown Trifari Sterling Silver Jelly Belly Bee Brooch Pin Rhinestones A. Phillipe1948 Trifari Brooch Dress Clip Jelly Belly, Enamel & RhinestonesVtg Art Deco Trifari Moonstone & Chalcedony Fruit Salad Dress Clips Pat# 105403Vintage Crown Trifari Glass Jelly Belly Swan Rhinestone Brooch Pin Beautiful NrVintage Trifari Sterling Pat. Pend. Alfred Philippe Ruby Rhinestone Swirl Brooch Vintage Jewellery Diamante / Paste Necklace Signed TrifariVintage Trifari Green Glass Jelly Belly Frog Rhinestone Brooch Pin Must See NrVtg 40s Alfred Philippe Trifari French Poodle Lucite Jelly Belly Fur Pin BroochVitg 1960's Crown Trifari Modern Mosaics Poured Molded Glass Dangle Earrings Vintage Crown Trifari Rooster Cockerel Brooch Pin Faux PearlSigned Trifari Art Deco Aqua"open Stone" Choker/necklace, Alfred Philippe DesignVintage Hinged Bracelet Trifari 1960s Silvertone Frills Retro Bridal JewelleryVintage 1940s Trifari White Molded Glass Necklace Bracelet Earrings Set Trifari Alfred Philippe Empress Eugenie Fur ClipSigned Trifari White Enamel Clear Rhinestone Flower Necklace & Earrings SetVintage 50's Plastic Pearl Crystal Rhinestone Bib Collar Necklace Signed TrifariVtg Crown Trifari Pink Molded Glass Rhinestone Fur Clip #2Vintage Crown Trifari White Blue Rhinestone Necklace Earrings Bracelet SetVintage Trifari Gold Plate Rhinestone Tassel Bracelet & Dangle EarringsVintage Crown Trifari Gold Alfred Philippe "diamante" Choker Necklace~luxury!!Vtg Crown Trifari Pink Molded Glass Rhinestone Necklace & Earrings*incredible Vintage Trifari~amber Topaz Rhinestone Bracelet & Earrings~rare Set*Vintage Trifari Bue & Green Enamel Brooch Pin Earrings Set 1960sVintage Brooch Crown Trifari 1960s Silvertone Frills Retro Bridal JewelleryTrifari Gorgeous Amber & Ice Rhinestone Black Enamel Fan Vintage PinTrifari Navy Enamel Pearl Rhinestone Bracelet Empress Eugenie?Early Crown Trifari Faux Moonstone Cabochon Rhinestone Brooch Pin Beautiful NrSign Crown Trifari Vtg 15" Necklace & Bracelet Set Faux Pearl Cluster Flower ...Vintage Trifari Necklace & Clip On Earring Set NiceVintage Trifari Metal Rhinestones Crown Brooch Pin Signed Crown Trifari TmTrifari Calla Lily Purple Rhinestone Vintage Brooch Jewelry PinSigned Crown Trifari L'orient Fx Turquoise Sapphire Blue Glass Enamel Brooch TlcGorgeous Vintage Estate Signed Crown Trifari Blue Rhinestone Necklace!! 518cVintage Signed Crown Trifari Iridescent Cab Rhinestone Brooch Earring Set! 2081eVintage Trifari Gold Tone Faux Pearl & Coral Necklace & Bracelet Demi SetVintage Crown Trifari Fur Clip Floral Bouquet Enamel Ca. 1940s Afred PhilippeRare Vintage Trifari Something Wild Owl Ring - Silvertone - Size 9Vintage Trifari Brooch Pin Peas In A Pod Green Enamel Pearls Gold Tone, SignedVintage Trifari Rhinestone Butterfly Clip EarringsVtg Crown Trifari Pink Molded Glass Rhinestone Fur Clip #1Vintage Signed Crown Trifari Rhinestone Bracelet Necklace Earrings Set! 516lVintage Crown Trifari Jelly Belly Fantasia Poodle Dog Pin BroochTrifari Red, Green, Blue & Clear Rhinestone Royal Key Brooch PinCrown Trifari Vintage Art Deco Gold Plated Satin Ribbon Teal Rhinestone BraceletCrown Trifari Exquisite Sapphire Blue Green Peacock Ab Rhinestone Bib NecklaceVintage Trifari Jewelry Set Necklace Earrings Bracelet Gold Toned Vintage Crown Trifari Figural Cabochon Bug Beetle Insect Brooch Vntg Crown Trifari Signed 1968 L'orient Emerald Cabachon Butterfly Broach Mint!Vintage Trifari Pat.pend. Rhinestone Necklace Earrings Pin Goldtone Set A84Vintage Trifari White, Green & Blue Enameled Gold-tone Link Choker Necklace Trifari Sterling Silver Gold Plated Brooch C1940Trifari 1940 Red And Clear Rhinestone Fur Clip Patent 122093 Aa127Sterling Crown Trifari Alfred Philippe Girl Rag Doll Pin Brooch PatentedC.1960s Crown Trifari Mod & Circular Clip Earrings W/ Emerald Crystals - Scarce!Vintage Signed Sterling Vermeil Brooch W/ Pink Cabochons & Rhinestones Trifari ?Gorgeous Vintage Estate Signed Trifari Green Cab Flower Petal Brooch!!! 2080yVintage Signed Crown Over T Trifari Rhinestone Necklace & Earring SetDazzling Trifari Sterling Jelly Belly Angelfish Fur ClipVtg Crown Trifari Sapphire Blue & Clear Rhinestone Necklace Bracelet Earring Set

Recent News: Trifari Costume Jewelry

Source: Google News

Morning Buzzers - SouFun (SFUN), Kate Spade (KATE), American Eagle ...
Techsonian (press release), May 27th

Manhattan, NY- Wednesday, May 27, 2015 – (Techsonian) – SouFun Holdings Ltd (NYSE:SFUN) declaredits unaudited economicconsequences for the three months ended March 31, 2015.Total Revenue increased by 1.8% year-on-year to $123.5 million for ...Read more

Reasons for Doreen Toben's Shares Unload of Kate Spade & Co (NYSE:KATE)'s ..., May 13th

Adelington Design Group segment consists of: exclusive arrangements to supply jewelry for the LIZ CLAIBORNE and MONET brands; the wholesale non-apparel operations of the TRIFARI brand and licensed KENSIE brand; the wholesale apparel and ...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

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

Sheriff's office identifies human remains found in 2008
Frederick News Post (subscription), March 31st

Jewelry discovered at the scene included a silver “Advance” digital watch with a gold face, an Avon sterling silver solitaire ring with a diamond substitute stone, a metal ring with a floral pattern missing four stones, three silver alloy bangle...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

New and old: 'Bling Thing' fundraiser to benefit historic Hackley Public ..., January 28th

Jewelry, purses, scarves, hats, belts, clothing, home décor and things with "bling" will be on sale at the Century Club Ballroom, 356 W. Western Ave., in downtown Muskegon. Proceeds from the two-day sale will be used to benefit the library's programs...Read more