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 Enchantedlearning.com, 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 Sterling Brooch Dress Clip Jelly Belly Fish Rhinestones & Jeweled1948 Trifari Brooch Dress Clip Jelly Belly, Enamel & RhinestonesExcellent Crown Trifari Sterling Silver Jelly Belly Bee Brooch Pin RhinestonesCrown Trifari Vintage Rasberry Red Purple Cabochon Maltese Cross PendantVintage Huge Rhinestone Statement Necklace 4 Strand Trifari Uncoated Pearls NiceVintage Trifari "jewels Of India" Faux Pearl & Cabochon Double Head Beast BroochVintage Crown Trifari Brooch Pin W/ Blue Enamel Swirls, Pearls, ChatonsBeautiful Vintage Green Rhinestone Trifari Necklace And Earring Set Original BoxVintage Trifari Pat Pend Rhinestone Enamel Blue Flower Necklace Earrings SetVtg Trifari Enamel Rhinestone Costume Flower Necklace Bracelet Brooch Parure Set1940s Crown Trifari Pink Lily Of The Valley Enamel Rhinestone Dress Fur ClipVery Rare Art Deco Trifari Pave, Ruby & Aquamarine Paste Fan-shaped Dress ClipVintage Red Cabochon Emerald Green Trifari Dangle Rhinestone EarringsVintage 40s Rare Trifari Crown Signed Huge Rose Brooch Enamel Alfred Phillippe ?Trifari Ktf Art Deco Clip-mates Fruit Salad Dress Clips Bangle Bracelet ~nr~Trifari Sterling Silver Pink & Ice Rhinestone Vintage Bracelet Rare!Vintage Signed Trifari Des Pat Pend Blue Enamel Flower Rhinestone Panel BraceletExcellent Crown Trifari Sterling Silver Jelly Belly Bee Brooch Pin Rhinestones 21944 Crown Trifari Alfred Philippe Sterling Silver Royal Crown Brooch Pat 137542Vintage Signed Trifari "jewels Of India" Faux Pearl & Cabochon Clip On EarringsVintage Crown Trifari L'orient Turtle Pin Brooch Rhinestone Enamel Pearl CabEarly Sterling Trifari Necklace -- Crown Jewels Series -- Trifari Vintage Trifari Blue & White Flowered Set Necklace-earrings-bracelet Nice SetVintage Trifari Necklace Grapevine Leaves Kunio MatsumotoVtg Crown Trifari Costume Rhinestone Earrings W/ Ruby Red & Clear StonesVintage Trifari Marquise Rhinestone Gold Tone Metal Leaf Design NecklaceVintage Trifari Brooch Pin Clip Earrings Thistle Pattern Emerald Green StonesVintage Signed Crown Trifari Rhinestone Milk Glass Necklace Earring Set!!! 1144nAntique Trifari "ivan" Russian Dancer Brooch By David Mir 1942 + 2 Mop BroochesEarly Trifari Brooch - Gorgeous !!!Vintage Trifari Gold Tone Metal Rhinestones Crown Brooch Pin Signed Trifari TmRare Vintage Alfred Philippe Trifari Rhinestone Enamel Key Brooch - Pin Vintage Brooch Crown Trifari 1950s Pink & Goldtone Leaf Retro Bridal JewelleryTrifari Signed Vintage Red Crystal Collar Necklace!Crown Trifari, Renoir, Bsk, Krementz, Tara, Beau Sterling Sarah Coventry JewelryVintage Brooch Pin Signed Trifari Kings Crown Purple Pink Rhinestone Gold ToneModern Vintage Style Crown Trifari Black Lucite Goldtone Leaf Brooch JewelleryStunning Vintage Gold Tone Signed Trifari White Linked Design Necklace!!! 1143sTrifari Unique Design Silvertone With Montana Blue Rhinestones NecklaceVintage Trifari Goldtone & Black Glass Bead Necklace Chocker ~ 12" + 2" ExtenderVintage Trifari Enamel Pansy Flower Brooch PairVintage Trifari Amber Topaz Citrine Rhineston Necklace Earring SetStunning Vintage Trifari Clear Baguette Rhinestone Choker Necklace SignedTrifari Rhinestone Necklace Earrings Bracelet Flower Leaves Set Vintage Brooch Pin Signed Trifari Blue Bead Clear Crystal Rhinestone Gold ToneVintage Trifari Alfred Phillipe Gold Plated Rhinestone Queens Crown Brooch PinVintage Trifari Kunio Matsumoto Grape Leaves Goldtone Clamper Bracelet Perfect!Lg Vintage Sgn Crown Trifari Jeweled Faux Ruby Cab Sterling Vermeil Crown BroochVintage Crown Trifari Jewelry Broach Gold/white/blue Maltese Cross Signed Vintage Crown Trifari Gold-tone Metal Brown Lucite Tassel Pendant Necklace Vintage Jewellery Paste / Diamante Bracelet Signed TrifariVintage 1944 Trifari Ruby Glass Flower Rs Necklace & Brac SetVintage Crown Trifari Sterling Silver Golden Rhinestone Studded Bow Brooch Vintage Jewellery Paste / Diamante Bracelet Signed TrifariVintage 1960's Trifari Gold & White Pendant 3 Strained Statement NecklaceLarge Vintage Trifari Pate De Verre Blue Flower Spray Fur ClipStunning Vintage Gold Tone Signed Crown Trifari White Linked Bracelet!!! 1143pTrifari Set Necklace And Earrings Beautiful Blue Stones. Book PieceGorgeous Vintage Trifari Faux Pearl Coral Turquoise Indian Princess RingTrifari Crown Signed Bird Brooch Pin Blue Gold Tone Finish In Original Box

Recent News: Trifari Costume Jewelry

Source: Google News

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

How many bartenders work here? A lot fewer than in Key West, Fla.
LancasterOnline, March 17th

This map compares how Lancaster County compares to the rest of the country, when it comes to the number of bartenders. Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 12:00 pm. How many bartenders work here? A lot fewer than in Key West, Fla. By CINDY STAUFFER ...Read more

Accused killer told cops: "I didn't mean to hurt her, but I did."
LancasterOnline, March 17th

Lester Johnson initially told police his girlfriend's young daughter died after an accidental fall down the stairs. Next, according to trial testimony, Johnson pinned 2-year-old Ranasia Knight's death on his girlfriend. Eventually, after hours of...Read more

LNP Sports 365: Donegal boys had a mighty run in 2013
LancasterOnline, March 17th

Monet Napier Trifari Jewelry $2 898-3376. Monet Napier Trifari Jewelry $2 898-3376 · Homes · Jobs · Autos. space. Home · Sports · High School Sports · Boys' basketball. Day 76 LNP Sports 365: Donegal boys had a mighty run in 2013. While there was no ...Read more

LNP Sports 365: Quite a States for McCaskey
LancasterOnline, March 13th

Diver Ricky States, who went on to an All-America career at West Chester, claimed a PIAA silver medal in 1983. Story · Comments. Print: Create a hardcopy of this page; Font Size: Default font size: Larger font size. Previous Next. LNP Sports 365 Day 72...Read more

Golden Gloves set to kick off Saturday
LancasterOnline, February 26th

Golden Gloves boxer Casey Barnett prepares for an upcoming fight at Finefrock & Stumpf Golden Gloves Center, on Thursday, February 19, 2015. Buy this photo. IF YOU GO. • WHAT: Central Pennsylvania Golden Gloves Tournament. • WHEN: Saturday...Read more

New and old: 'Bling Thing' fundraiser to benefit historic Hackley Public ...
MLive.com, 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

Restaurant inspections: Dec. 26, 2014
LancasterOnline, December 26th

A detail from Tom's Restaurant in New York City, the facade of which was made famous on the "Seinfeld" TV show. Buy this photo. Posted: Friday, December 26, 2014 7:00 am | Updated: 12:29 pm, Fri Dec 26, 2014. Restaurant inspections: Dec. 26, 2014...Read more