Trifari Vintage Jewelry Identification and Research

How to Date and Identify Trifari Vintage Jewelry

I often get questions about Trifari vintage jewelry, and the two most frequent questions are “When was it made?” and “How can I find out more about it?” This article will show you how to get the answers.

A Brief History of Trifari Vintage Jewelry

The Trifari Company was founded by Gustavo Trifari, an Italian immigrant who arrived at Ellis Island from Napoli in 1904 at the age of 20. In 1910 he founded “Trifari and Trifari” with his uncle. Gustavo’s uncle left the company a few years later, and Gustavo continued the company under the name of “Trifari.” It’s no wonder that Italian collectors love to buy Trifari Vintage Jewelry, as Gustavo is one of their own.

Leo Krussman joined Trifari in 1917, and Carl Fishel joined as head of sales in 1925. The company name was then changed to “Trifari, Krussman and Fishel” and the logo “KTF” (with an enlarged “T” at the center) was used to mark the jewelry. Trifari vintage jewelry pieces from this era are extremely rare, as the mark was only used for several years.

Alfred Philippe and Trifari Vintage Jewelry

In 1930 Trifari hired Alfred Philippe as head designer, and that is when the company really began to take off. Philippe’s background designing very high end fine jewelry for firms like Cartier and Van Cleef and Arples brought a wonderful sense of luxury and style to the company. The designs he created for Trifari vintage jewelry have the style and glamour of fine jewelry and were very popular. This began an era of Trifari dominance in the industry which lasted for many years.

During the 1930s and 1940s “diamante” jewelry was the most sought after style. These pieces had the look of diamonds and other precious gems with metals that resembled gold and silver or platinum. The earlier Art Deco designs featured geometric shapes, while later pieces were very ornate with scrolls and floral sprays, often with colorful enameling. Dress clips were very popular, and many costume jewelry firms, including Trifari, made beautiful dress clips that had the look of fine jewelry and diamonds. The Trifari CLIP-MATES featured a large brooch that could be separated into two dress clips (see photo below).

Trifari ClipMates Aqua Glass Stones
Trifari CLIPMATES Aqua Glass Stones and Rhinestones Convertible Brooch Dress Clips Patented 1936
Trifari ClipMates Aqua Glass Stones
Trifari CLIPMATES Aqua Glass Stones and Rhinestones Convertible Brooch Separated into Dress Clips

Few pieces from this era are in circulation today, however, many of Alred Philippe’s patent drawings can be found with a Google Patent Search:

Trifari Vintage Jewelry Patents filed by Alfred Philippe

Here is the drawing and description for the CLIP-MATES patent application, issued on August 11, 1936.

Trifari 1936 ClipMates Patent 2050804 Drawing
Drawing for Trifari 1936 ClipMates Patent
Trifari 1936 ClipMates Patent 2050804 Description
Description for Trifari 1936 ClipMates Patent

If your jewelry has a patent number, you can easily search for it on the Google Patents site here: Google Patents. Just enter the patent number to search. Designs were usually produced for several years, so the patent date provides an approximate age for the jewelry.

Trifari 1930s ClipMates Aqua Glass Stones Back
Back of Trifari ClipMates with Signatures and Patent Number

Alfred Philippe remained as Trifari’s head designer until his retirement in 1968, and his wonderful patented designs can still be found today among Trifari vintage jewelry sellers and collectors.

For more information about vintage jewelry patents, see this article: Vintage Jewelry Patents: Find and Use them to Date Vintage Jewelry

Trifari Vintage Jewelry Signatures

Prior to 1955, the top jewelry designers patented their designs to protect them from other jewelry companies who might copy their designs. After 1955, the copyright law was changed to include jewelry designs. After that time, jewelry companies no longer had to patent their designs. They were able to stamp their jewelry with a copyright symbol to protect the designs.

Note: Trifari was very diligent about signing all of their jewelry. They would often publish ads in the fashion magazines informing customers that “If it isn’t signed, it isn’t Trifari.”

Because all Trifari vintage jewelry was signed, it’s easy to identify the approximate age with the signature. The chart below summarizes these marks.

Trifari Vintage Jewelry Marks

It’s important to note when a company had a large inventory of clasps or other findings that were already stamped, they would continue to use them on newer jewelry, so signatures will often overlap these dates.

In 2000, the company was sold to Liz Claiborne and production was moved overseas. Since then, lesser quality jewelry has been mass produced and sold on Trifari cards without any stamps on the jewelry. Recently, some necklaces have been produced overseas with a new Trifari hang tag, but these are not vintage pieces.

For a more detailed look at Trifari vintage jewelry marks, check out the guide here: My Classic Jewelry Trifari Vintage Jewelry Marks Guide

How to Research Your Trifari Jewelry Jewelry

Once you have a date range for your Trifari vintage jewelry, the next step is to research designs and determine the approximate value. With patented designs you can search for listings with “patent” or “pat” in the title to find similar pieces and price ranges. For example, here are eBay search results for “trifari (pat, patent) necklace” – note the two search terms in parentheses – this will find listings with either “pat” or “patent” in the title. Sorting the results by price (highest first) allows you to see the range of prices and to determine where your piece might fit in.

Trifari Pat Patent Necklace Search on eBay
eBay Search results for “Trifari (Pat,Patent) Necklace”

You can perform similar searches on Etsy, Google, and Ruby Lane. You don’t have to find the same exact piece – just one that is comparable in age with similar materials. For example, if your piece has rhinestones, make sure to include that in your search.

Additional Resources for Trifari Vintage Jewelry

Vintage ads and catalogs are a very helpful source, as they can identify the names of various Trifari vintage jewelry lines. The photo below shows a 1958 Trifari vintage jewelry ad for their “Fascination” line.

Trifari Vintage Jewelry 1958 Fascination Ad

Here are some helpful links to sites with Trifari vintage jewelry ads and catalogs:

Illusion Jewels Researching Costume Jewelry “RCJ” – Vintage Trifari Jewelry Ads

Morning Glory Antiques (4 pages, organized by decade) – Jewelry Advertising, Trifari Ads, 1940s

Morning Glory Antiques – Trifari Catalogue, Fall and Winter of 1966

Trifari Vintage Jewelry Ads on Pinterest

You can also visit our Trifari Vintage Jewelry Ads board on Pinterest: My Classic Jewelry Trifari Vintage Jewelry Ads on Pinterest

Here’s one of the ads on the My Classic Jewelry Trifari Vintage Jewelry Ads board:

Trifari Vintage Jewelry Serpentine Ad

Click the image to view the entire board.

Shop for Trifari Vintage Jewelry Right Now!

Please visit the My Classic Jewelry Etsy shop to see the Trifari Vintage Jewelry available for sale.

Trifari Vintage Jewelry for Sale at My Classic Jewelry Etsy Shop
Trifari Vintage Jewelry for Sale at My Classic Jewelry Etsy Shop

Visit the shop here: My Classic Jewelry Etsy Shop and just type “trifari” into the search box.

Please Comment, Share, and Connect

Thanks so much for visiting the blog and I hope you now have a better understanding of how to identify and research your Trifari vintage jewelry.

I’d love to hear your feedback. Please click the comment link below this article to add your comments. Use the share buttons below to share this article. You can also use the Social Media buttons in the right sidebar to visit my pages.

Note: If you can’t find the sharing buttons, make sure you enable Javascript and/or disable your ad blocker for this site.

Thank you, Christine 🙂

Florence Thompson

The most informative article/page that I’ve found on Trifari. Thank you very much Christine!

I’m still stuck though, lol….I have a beautiful necklace that is marked KTF on the back, with the “T” being a bit taller than the other two letters. There are also a couple other pieces (bracelet and 2 dress clips) that make it look like a parure, but those are not marked, so I wonder if those even belong with this necklace. The necklace is choker-like with three swag sections and adorable shoebutton cabochon “moonstones” in a pale blue, with darker blue centers.
I have not been able to find this necklace anywhere online. The necklace is very beautiful and grand looking, and I would LOVE to learn more about it.

Any help at all would be GREATLY appreciated.
I’d be more than happy to provide photos if you’d like. I’m fairly new to this, so I apologize if my description leaves you confused. 🙂

Sincerely,
Florence T.

Lisa Young

Does anyone know who would be interested in buying my vintage collection of Jewelry ads. I have Trifari and more. Thanks for any help or assistance you can give me.

Sincerely, Lisa

Christine

Hello Lisa. I think the best places to sell your collection of vintage jewelry ads would be eBay and Etsy. You can search for “vintage jewelry ads” on these sites to get ideas on how to list and price. Good luck! Christine 🙂

Craig

Thank you for the amazing information you have. Presented so easy to use and understand. You taught me so much regarding the pieces I have. I so appreciate it!

JEFF MORROW

Hi i have a trifari crown with sapphire and i have only been able to find one like it can anyone tell me how to find more of them or how much it might be worth it hasthe trade mark in the back please HELP Thank You Jeff my email is
is morrowj341@mail.com

joe migon

Have a broach shaped like a crown . It is a trifari Sterling silver with 6 types of stones . Can take a picture on phone and send it can you help, I wish to sell it. 828 696 5345

Laura

Great article. Thank you for posting it. I don’t have an issue dating my jewelry. It is all from 1955 or 56. My question is about a description listed on Trifari’s 1955 “Jewels for her” Advertisement. Under the Brazil collection it says a “half collar necklace” is available but not in the photo. My question is how do I find out about the half collar. I have seen pictures of one with these white balls on either side of the Brazil ribbed Melons the other one has a metal rope looking extension on either side of the half collar. My question is are they both authentic? How do I find out to which piece the ad was referring? Also the ad says each of the collections comes in other colors? How do I find out in which colors each collection were available? Any suggestions?

Chelle

Did Trifari use the same name on two different designs. I have a bracelet from the 1954 Christmas ad called Stardust but when you look up Trifari stardust it comes up with a different design. I haven’t been able to find any information on the piece I own due to the name cross over complication. Is it possible to name 2 different pieces the same thing? I know mine is authentic as it appears in the 1954 ads. Any help in this mix up would be appreciated.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *