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    

Vintage Art Deco Ktf Trifari Rhodium Plate Crystal Rhinestone BraceletRare Vintage Trifari A. Philippe Designed Lucite And Rhinestone Jelly Belly ClipVintage Trifari Alfred Philippe Sterling Silver Moonstone Crown Brooch PinVtg. Anitque Art Deco Trifari Red Raspberry Glass Fur Clip1930s Crown Trifari Alfred Philippe Shoebutton Brooch And Clip Earrings NrVintage Trifari Alfred Philippe Sterling Rhinestone EarringsTrifari Jelly Belly Owl BroochVintage Jewellery Geometric Signed 'trifari' Necklace & Bracelet StewGorgeous~vintage Trifari Coral & White Milkglass Runway Bib Necklace~free ShipVintage Crown Trifari 2"l Sterling Silver & Lucite Rooster Brooch 25.4g (marked)Trifari Philippe Clair De Lune Moonstone Demilunes & Sapphires Tree Of Life PinTrifari Brooch #137542 Alfred Phillipe Vintage Antique Crown SetSigned Crown Trifari Alfred Phillipe Sm. Crown Sterling Silver Pin Patent1944 Trifari Vermeil Ruby Red Cabochon Blue Rhinestone Royal Queen Crown BroochVntg Crown Trifari Gold-tone & Glass Acorn Clip-on Earrings Both Same SideRare Large Vintage Crown Trifari Angelfish Fur Clip Vtg Trifari Faux Ruby Emerald Diamond Wreath Brooch Pin - NrVintage Trifari Tm Maltese Cross Blue Ruby Red Jelly Cabochons Pin BroochCrown Trifari Pat Pend Vintage Rhinestone Necklace & Earring SetVintage Crown Trifari Signed Necklace Brooch & Earring Set Rhinestones GoldtoneTrifari Vintage Red Aurora Borealis Rhinestone Crystal Wow!!! Choker NecklaceVintage Trifari Crown Floral Fur Clip W/h Pink Beads Alfred PhillipeWonderful Trifari Mint Green Thermoset Necklace Earrings - Great Peking Color!Trifari Vintage Stunning Bird Emerging From An Egg, From 1950'sSigned Trifari Vtg. 3 Strand Glass Pearl Necklace Sterling Clasp Clam Shell CaseVintage Crown Trifari Signed Fur Clip Enamel Flower Bouquet RhinestonesVintage Trifari Crown Brooch-rhinestone Trifari Sterling Philippe Citrine Faceted Belly Fish With Pearl Bubbles PinVintage Crown Trifari Signed Pearl & Rhinestone Necklace & Earrings Cp7Vintage Crown Trifari Signed Wild Flower Enamel & Rhinestone Necklace & EarringsVintage Signed Crown Trifari Drop Dangle Clip Earrings Enamel 2" Trifari Fruit Salad Bouquet Brooch Pin Fur Clip W Carved Stones-vintage-philippeSigned Crown Trifari Vintage Necklace Pendant Earring Set Flower Rhinestone 2022Vintage 60s Crown Trifari Set: Bracelet, Necklace, Clip-on Earrings Basket WeaveStunning Vintage Estate Signed Crown Trifari Enamel Butterfly Brooch!!! 5593tGorgeous Vintage Estate Gold Tone Signed Trifari Textured Leaf Necklace!!! 5598sVintage Crown Trifari Faux Turquoise Moghul-style Parur Art Deco Set 60sStunning Trifari Highly Domed Colorful Cabochon BroochScarce Trifari Partridge In A Pear Tree Christmas Themed Pin 1214-8Vintage Signed Crown Trifari Faux Jade Green Waterfall Cascade Pendant NecklaceVintage Designer Trifari Estate Costume White Enamel Earring, Bracelet, Pin NrVintage Crown Trifari Signed Pearl & Rhinestone Necklace Brooch & Earrings Cp9Vintage Crown Trifari Bracelet & Earrings Silvertone Metal Set With Blue StonesVintage Crown Trifari Signed Stained Glass Necklace & Earrings Colorful Set Retro Vintage Trifari Gold Washed Sterling Silver Rhinestone Bow BroochVintage Crown Trifari Alfred Phillipe Rampant Lion Brooch Pin W RhinestonesVintage Mid Century Trifari Plastic? Bakelite? Hinged BangleVintage Signed Trifari Kunio Matsumoto Black & Gold Confetti NecklaceTrifari Sterling Crown Pin With RhinestonesEstate Vintage Crown Trifari White Faux Pearl Acorn Gold Tone 1" Clip EarringsVintage Trifari Lucite Flowers Rhinestones Necklace Signed TrifariVintage Blue Green Rhinestone Crown Trifari PinFabulous Sterling Silver Trifari Signed Regal Crown Pin Brooch Vintage Trifari Blue Saphire Rhinestone Necklace, Bracelet & Earring Parure SetVintage Signed Crown Trifari Faux Pearl Bracelet Earrings Married Set!!! 5613gVintage Alfred Philipe Crown Trifari Moonstone Jelly Belly Elephant Pin Vintage Signed Trifari Goldtone & Faux Pearl Necklace & EarringsVintage Signed Trifari Yellow Fruit Salad & Aurora Rhinestones 2 Pins EarringsStunning Vintage Estate Gold Tone Signed Crown Trifari Bracelet!!! 5597zBeautiful Vintage Signed Trifari Gold Tone Black Enamel Bow Brooch/pin

Recent News: Trifari Costume Jewelry

Source: Google News

WAY BACK WHEN IN WAYNE COUNTY: Sarah Coventry rose and fell in Newark
Finger Lakes Times, November 23rd

Wolf had been with Trifari, a well-known jewelry company. Several home party firms were studied and Aileen VanTyle of Newark was hired to construct several test fashion shows. She became Sarah Coventry's fashion coordinator — a pioneer in her field...Read more

Free appraisal event set at EJ's Auction & Consignment, November 19th

Costume jewelry: Most costume jewelry isn't worth much, but some pieces, like those made by Trifari, can be worth more than gold or diamonds. • Old-looking art: It might look dingy, but that painting that's been collecting dust in the garage or attic...Read more

Kate Spade & Co (NYSE:KATE) Beats Expectations
Inside Trade, November 7th

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

Kate Spade & Company Reports Third Quarter 2014 Results
PR Newswire (press release), November 6th

Adelington Design Group segment – consists of: (i) exclusive arrangements to supply jewelry for the Liz Claiborne and Monet brands; (ii) the wholesale non-apparel operations of the Trifari brand and licensed Kensie brand; (iii) the wholesale apparel...Read more

Treemont Retirement Community to welcome Antique Pickers Bazaar, October 13th

The answer may become evident as they discover that Grandma's pottery vase, that favorite doll or other vintage toy, and odd pieces of costume jewelry have become collector's items. Who knew that a Trifari pin from the 1950s would be valuable, or that...Read more

For families, authorities, a constant search for missing
Frederick News Post (subscription), August 30th

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

Kate Spade: Despite The Recent Selloff, Sell-Side Shows Faith
Bidness Etc, August 14th

The company's Adelington Design Group is a jewelry segment that caters to third-party distributions of brands like Monet, Liz Caliborne, Trifari and Kensie. Kate Spade North America is the largest segment of the company as it contributes more than 78...Read more

Kate Spade stock falls 23 percent on concerns over sales growth
Newsday, August 12th

The Kate Spade store at Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station. (Credit: Matthew T. Murray). Kate Spade & Co.'s second-quarter loss narrowed as the clothing, handbag and accessories company's adjusted profit and revenue topped analysts' ...Read more