Celebrities get paid to wear real diamonds and expensive jewelry to big events. These accessories are usually ‘borrowed’ and have to go back to the store before the after-party. But for the rest of us, costume jewelry is more within our reach. It looks good too, so that helps.
These days, trading valuable vintage Trifari jewelry can be as profitable as platinum, pearls, and gemstones. But you still have to know what the right type is and how to spot these precious pieces at estate sales. So let’s look into the kinds of prices these trinkets can fetch.
Valuable Vintage Trifari Jewelry Worth Money
1. Trifari Gold Plated Blue Green & Purple Glass Cabochon Necklace
Trifari was started by an Italian immigrant named Gustavo Trifari. His family was known in the goldsmithing circles of Naples, and the skill was passed down to him. He first sold his wares in 1910, formalizing in 1918 before joining up with Krussman and Fishel around 1925.
- Type: Cabochon Necklace
- Year: Late 1980s
- Value: $350
While the most valuable Trifari jewelry ranges from 1930 to 1950, some of the newer pieces can fetch good prices too. And technically, 1980 is vintage, so this one counts. You can tell it’s from the 80s because it’s marked Trifari TM, which was how they signed their work.
2. Trifari Crown Earrings Alfred Philippe Design
What makes costume jewelry cheaper than the real thing? Well, they use pocket-friendly substitutes like gold-plating, sterling silver, rhinestones, paste gemstones, faux pearls, and mimicked moonstone. This pair of earrings has imitation pearls and clear baguette stones.
- Type: Crown Earrings
- Year: 1950s
- Value: $176.15
The clustered faux pearls are stacked in art deco style. The emphasis is on geometry, and the curvy ampersand setting contrasts the spherical pearls and long, narrow gemstones. The metal used here is Trifanium, which never fades or tarnishes. We’ll discuss it in detail below.
3. Vintage Crown Trifari Signed A. Philippe Rhinestone Ballerina Brooch
Gold-plating washes off with time, so Trifari developed an alternative he called Trifanium, a low-cost alloy with a gold-tone. The earrings above are Trifanium, and as you can see, they retain their gilded shine for decades. But now let’s look at a silver-toned piece from that era.
- Type: Ballerina Brooch
- Year: 1937 to 1955
- Value: $529.99
It’s shaped like a ballerina en pointe. The carving contains movement and grace, and her delicate but powerful pose is realistically rendered. She has bling on her ballet shoes, tutu, and crown – quite fitting. The piece is designed by Alfred Philippe and is marked Pat. Pend.
4. Vintage Trifari Heraldic Crest Pin Brooch
Maker’s marks are the easiest way to confirm the date of a Trifari piece. And since authentic ones are the most valuable, it helps to understand how this logo changed over the years. This matters even more when the seller lists the wrong date, since you may end up overpaying.
- Type: Crown Brooch
- Year: 1945
- Value: $975
This pretty piece is marked sterling even though it has a gold-tone, so it was made during the war years when pot metals were being rationed. It also has a PAT. PEND mark and Trifari with a crown above the T. That means the seller has accurately verified the production date.
5. Trifari Kunio Matsumoto Seashell Jeweled Gold Earrings Vintage
Something else that elevated Trifari jewelry was its craftsmanship. And this was down to Alfred Philippe, the lead designer at Trifari. He had previously worked at high-end brands like Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier. Another popular designer was Kunio Matsumoto.
- Type: Seashell Earrings
- Year: Late 1980s
- Value: $350
However, as valuable as these pieces are, it’s not a seller’s market. So while this piece was listed at a seemingly reasonable price, the buyers didn’t bite. Pro tip – when you’re setting your purchase price, weigh it against pieces where collectors have already handed over cash.
6. Trifari Tutti Fruitti Bracelet: Designed and Made by Alfred Philippe
Although movie stars can afford fancy jewelry, a lot of what they wear is on loan. They only get to use that precious stuff as an endorsement, and they might get paid for it. But for their personal pieces – especially in the 1930s, many relied on custom-made trinkets from Trifari.
- Type: Fruit & Veggie Bracelet
- Year: 1937
- Value: $860.77
This association granted status to the brand, even as the prices remained reasonable. And today, those period pieces can be worth a lot. Alfred Philippe commonly used fruits and veggies in his brooches. Especially in the 50s and 60s. This may be an earlier experiment.
7. Vintage Signed Trifari Parure Set Green Amber Rhinestone
While Trifari is still around today, it changed ownership in 1994 (Monet Group) and again in 2000 (Liz Claiborne Clothing). The new owners weren’t as invested in quality and began to mass-produce pieces. So if you want the most valuable vintage Trifari jewelry, it’s pre-90s.
- Type: Set (necklace, bracelet, and earrings)
- Year: 1970s to 1980s
- Value: $450
Highly coveted pieces come from Alfred Philippe’s reign (1930 to 1968). If you can get one with his crown logo, even better. The crown referred to his high-end-styling specialty. Pieces include brooches with invisible settings and low-cost materials like well-colored cabochons.
8. Dramatic Pair of Trifari Bracelets Designed by Alfred Philippe
Jewelry released from 1925 to about 1930 often had the Trifari Kussman Fishel mark. It was the initials KTF with a bigger T. But whether you’re buying to re-sell or getting a gift for a loved one, how about this matching pair of bracelets in Trifarium with watch-like straps?
- Type: Pair of Bracelets
- Year: 1955 to 1969
- Value: $525
The color choice is suitable for his-and-hers, hers-and-hers, or even his-and-his! They’re marked with the Trifari logo that has a crown over the T plus a copyright mark and a PAT. PEND mark so it’s easy to authenticate the date. And it won’t fade or tarnish over the years.
9. Vintage Trifari Fruit Salad Necklace Signed
Once Liz Claiborne took over, Trifari factories went overseas, so pieces produced after the year 2000 are unlikely to have Trifari stamps on them. But some of these 90s goodies that are slightly Pre-Lizzie can be profitable. Pieces from the 70s and 80s were signed Trifari ©.
- Type: Fruit Salad Necklace
- Year: 1970s to 1980s
- Value: $699
This is a good example. It’s a necklace with that trademark design. It’s something that looks like a cross between an eggplant and an almond, but it’s couched in leaves. The design is sometimes described as Tutti Fruit, Fruit Salad, or Fruit & Veggie. It’s often multi-colored.
10. Trifari Jelly Belly Giant Heron Brooch, Designed by Alfred Philippe
We mentioned Alfred Philippe’s famous crown brooch pins. These pieces commonly had the KTF mark with a crown on that big T. So if you have a piece like that, it’s likely from 1937 to 1955. One famous design concept is the Jelly Belly motif with white or clear faux gemstones.
- Type: Heron Brooch
- Year: 1943
- Value: $2,155.91
You’ll sometimes see colored stones listed as jelly bellies because they have that S-curve with a belly gem. But only transparent stones like this one truly qualify as jelly bellies. This brooch has the Trifari sign with a crown. It also has its patent number engraved on the back.
11. Crown Trifari Alfred Philippe Sterling Silver “Wrapped” Crescent Brooch
As intellectual property law got more and more advanced, Trifari added a copyright marker to their pieces. Alfred Philippe left the company in 1968, but the pieces made between 1955 and 1969 used the abbreviation COPR. Later pieces converted to the copyright symbol, ©.
- Type: Crescent Brooch
- Year: 1937 to 1955
- Value: $262.75
Meanwhile, pieces released during World War II would sometimes have STERLING to indicate sterling silver. But since gold was more appealing, these gilded pieces would have a gold-plated or gold-toned layer on top. They cost more to make, eating into company profits.
12. Trifari Alfred Phillippe Gripoix Poured Glass Flower Purple Rhinestone
One of the reasons Trifari jewelry stayed affordable was the pot metal settings. But during World War II, much of this metal got diverted to the war effort, forcing Trifari to use sterling silver. That shot prices up and affected business. It also turned the market toward sterling.
- Type: Gripoix Brooch
- Year: 1941
- Value: $419.83
When the company tried to downgrade from silver after the war, the market rejected the move. It’s why Gustavo invented Trifanium, sometimes referred to as Trifarium. And pieces under Alfred Philippe’s design patents were marked DES. PAT., PAT. PEND., or PAT. NO.
13. Art Deco Trifari Alfred Philippe KTF Tutti Frutti Duette Clips Carved Pin
After Alfred Philippe left, things weren’t the same. In the 70s, they dropped his crown from the logo, leaving just the copyright mark. By the 1980s, Trifari jewelry was marked Trifari TM. And once Liz Claiborne bought out Monet Group, that Trifari TM stamp was phased out.
- Type: Clipmate Dress Pin
- Year: 2000s
- Value: $1,250
This progression is useful when you’re validating the pieces because confirming their release date directly affects their value. This piece is in art deco style from the 1930s. The listing says Alfred Philippe, and it has a patent number but no logo, so it’s probably a post-2000 piece.
14. Vintage Alfred Philippe Crown Trifari Jelly Gold Tone Clip Earrings
Once you get familiar with costume jewelry, you can easily date the most valuable Trifari jewelry. Check the style, motifs, logo, and markings. For example, this brooch is listed as a jelly belly. These were animal-patterned pieces where the ‘belly’ was a big faux gemstone.
- Type: Cabochon Earrings
- Year: 1940s
- Value: $342.99
But as we said before, jelly bellies were white, using Lucite as a low-cost pearl substitute. This stone is blue, so the listing is a misnomer. It’s still worth something, but if you want a more profitable piece, look for a poodle jelly belly. They’re very rare and quite pricy.
15. Trifari ‘Alfred Philippe’ Pave & Baguettes Diamante Orchid Trembler Pin
We’ve mentioned how Alfred Philippe helped the company by introducing high-end styles and techniques from the luxury brands he had worked with before. It’s why he patented his pieces, and some were marked PAT. with the patent number included. Others were pending.
- Type: Diamante Brooch
- Year: 1961
- Value: $1,175
While Trifari commonly replaced pearl with Lucite, when they needed that diamond effect, the go-to substitute was diamante. Especially towards the end of the war, towards the late 30s and early 40s. This pricy verified piece is from Alfred Philippe’s final decade at Trifari.
16. Iconic Trifari Sterling Lyre Bird Of Paradise Brooch
As the story goes. Gustavo Trifari interned under his granddad for 4 years before moving to the States to try and make it on his own. At first, he worked with his Uncle Ludovico under the trade name Trifari and Trifari. After his uncle left, he recruited Fishel and Krussman.
- Type: Bird Brooch
- Year: 1940s
- Value: $1,600
Some of the earlier pieces are stamped TK for Gustavo and Krussman, but you don’t see many of those around. The TKF pieces are more common. Find the right antique brooch and you could get four or five hundred dollars for that trinket. And this one is worth much more.
17. Trifari ‘Alfred Philippe’ Pave and Enamel 1941 Patent Cherries Pin Clip
When you’re scouting for the most valuable Trifari jewelry, you need a good-quality loupe to confirm the logos and engravings. They have higher ‘zoom in’ settings than typical magnifying glasses, so invest in a recommended one. But what if you’re shopping online?
- Type: Cherries Pin Clip
- Year: 1941
- Value: $2,275
Contact the seller and ask for a magnified photo or a close-up video of the maker’s mark. Preferably from various angles and in different lighting conditions. If the seller hesitates, you should probably be worried. They might not be selling what they claim to have. Good luck!
Do you have scouting tips for valuable vintage Trifari jewelry? Tell us in the comments!