The History of Trifari Jewelry

The Start

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The Trifari Jewelry Company was founded by Gustavo Trifari,  an Italian immigrant, in 1904 when he was only 20 years old.   He then started the company ‘Trifari and Trifari’ with his Uncle in 1910.  After a few years, Gustavo’s uncle left the company to just Gustavo.    In 1918, partnering with Leo Kraussman,Trifari started to become successful, however it wasn’t until Gustavo’s third partnership that the business started to become famous.  After his third partnership with Carter Fishel in 1925, the business  incorporated and flourished.  The success of the Trifari Jewelry Company was due to their partnership allowing for them to take advantage of each other’s expertise.  Gustavo had the expertise and knowledge in Jewelry while Fishel had excellent sales skills.

 

The Jewelry

The team that worked for the company was continually expanding and welcomed a new designer in 1930; Alfred Philippe.  He eventually worked his way up to the head designer position.  This brought in a whole new set of skills and expertise allowing for the company to design very high end jewelry and is argued to be the turning point of the company.  Alfred Philippe vintage Trifari jewelry is among the most sought after.  With the war came rationing of materials, a death for many companies, but not Trifari.  It is in this period that the company produced many of its finest pieces, including the lucite ‘jelly bellys’.  It also invented ‘Trifanium’ a mix of metals that mimics gold.

 

The Designs

 

Trifari Jewelry had been known to only use the finest pieces and top quality materials including only the best Austrian rhinestones.  Trifari jewelry also use a logo to represent their jewelry’s authenticity and design.  The designs of the jewelry  evolved but Trifari would often reuse designs that were popular and sometimes create variations of the same design.   Jewelry marked with a Crown over the T, called Crown Trifari is also highly sought after.

 

Today

 

The Trifari Company was run by the family until 1975 where the company was sold to another, the Hallmark Jewelry Company.  In 1988 it was again sold to Crystal Brands and was then sold to Chase Capital Partners and Lattice Holding Company.  As of right now, the Trifari company was moved overseas and no longer produces high end quality jewelry and are focusing on the lower end.

If you seek the quality of a bygone era of Trifari Jewelry, shop on resale sites.   We carry a selection in our store.

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30 Comments:

  1. I never heard of the Trifari Company. Thanks for sharing the history. My mother was very into jewelry and would know all these brands. This reminds me of her. Thanks for sharing.

  2. The jewellery is beautiful, Robin and so interesting to read about the history. I’m always impressed with the ingenuity of people who were faced with rationing during the war.

    • The war was quite a time in our world. Many companies became stronger, and I agree, a very interesting study of history.

  3. The jewelry and company brand is so classic and classy. Love it!

  4. My mom used to tell me about Trifari when we were shopping and looking at costume jewelry. Now I know more about it! I wondered where they went to because I never see any jewelry with that name on it. Sad that so many family businesses sell off and disappear. I’ll have to share your article with my mom!

    • Love how you picked up on the family business disappearing. They exist 100 years, and can no longer compete. I hope we begin to favor quality over cost, and stop the bleed of the great old companies.

  5. I love the regal-looking designs. Thanks for introducing us to this distinguished company!

  6. Great article and it brings back great memories of custome Jelewary that my Grandmom would wear it was really classy, I used to wonder why but today it is so nice and I love some of this jelewery.

    Lori English

    • Fun that jewelry spurred memories of Grandmom. The vintage Trifari was so elegant and well made – just like our Grannies!

  7. I absolutely love the history you share, Robin! I’d always heard of Trifari, but had no idea. Thank you!

    • Susan, thank you for the kind words! It is fun to research the companies, and I always learn something about running a business due to their success.

  8. Sonya Kolodziejska

    Never heard of this company or the style, but boy is the jewellery pretty. That broach is so pretty. The necklace is actually something similar to what my brother bought me for Christmas last year.

    • The vintage stuff is gorgeous. The necklace is called a waterfall style, and is highly collectible – came in many colors. Very well made, and very heavy!

  9. Thanks for the wonderful history of the Trifari Jewelry company, Robin. Although I like to believe I am somewhat in the know about jewelry, I had not heard of them before. Amazing to hear how they succeeded in during the war period when the likelihood of success was not in their favour. It is lovely jewelry and does harken back to another place and time!

    • I understand, as I think I know something about jewelry, and along comes a company I am not familiar with. There were so many great companies in the golden age of vintage costume jewelry.

  10. Beautiful pieces! I have never heard of Trifari Jewelry 🙂 Very interesting post on the history, thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. Thank Joan! It is fun to learn a little of the history behind some of the great companies.

  12. Love the history you provide. Some of this jewelry reminds me of my grandmother’s jewelry. What a difference a new designer can make to a company.

  13. The jewelry and style looks quite sophisticated. It is good to know that they are still available. I would imagine that one needs to be researching hard to find them but it is also awesome that you have them.

  14. I learn so much from your various posts as jewelry (I’m a plain girl) but I find such joy in what you share, it’s interesting and the eras, how they change.

  15. Thanks for enhancing the appreciation of these beautiful jewelry pieces by sharing their history. Sad to hear the corporate trail leading to overseas production and a decline in quality. To the knowledgeable buyer, it certainly makes the earlier pieces more valuable.

    • Thanks for the kind comments. Yes, it is sad that the quality has declined. And once someone wears a quality vintage piece, most are hooked and want more.

  16. Had never heard of Trifari jewelry, a very interesting story.

  17. Thanks; Glad you enjoyed the article.

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