Vintage Trifari jewelry is a good choice for beginning collectors. The jewelry is beautifully made, was plentiful over a long period of time, and vintage pieces are still very affordable.
The company started to produce costume jewelry in 1910, and production continues to the present day. The most affordable and available vintage Trifari jewelry dates from the 1950s and '60s. Trifari produced so many different styles, that the beginning collector can be choosy and select only those pieces that she truly likes.
For investment purposes, Trifari rhinestone jewelry from the 1950s is affordable and a good long-term investment. And, as always, the piece should be in excellent condition. Keep that loupe or magnifying glass with you every time you shop, and look for flaws, chipped stones, deterioration of the metal, and of course the designer's signature.
This brings us to identifying marks, or signs as they are called in the jewelry biz.
Recognizing the various signatures will help to date the piece. Early Trifari pieces are signed "KTF" and are highly collectible. "KTF" was first used in 1935. "KTF" with a crown above the "T" dates from 1954, and "Trifari", with no crown or with a thin crown dates from 1937. "Trifari Pat. Pend" is from the 1940s, and Trifari Sterling is from 1942-1947. The copyright symbol – (c) – appears after 1954. "Trifari" with the (c) and a small crown in a rectangle is a modern mark, but the date it was first used is unclear.
Any Trifari jewelry that has original paper tags, was featured in vintage advertising, or jewelry that is in its original box make the piece more interesting and more valuable.
Collectors prize jewelry with carved or molded stones. In the 1960s and 1970s beautiful molded stones became available. Some pieces are designed with irregular molded glass stones combined with aurora borealis and other colored stones to give a sense of movement in the piece.
An easily recognizable style of Trifari jewelry is the use of both silver-tone and gold-tone metals in the same piece. Another Trifari creation was the "Jelly Belly", usually figures of birds or fish, with a clear Lucite "belly". These were created during WWII.
Whatever your taste, and whatever your budget, do seek out vintage Trifari jewelry – you'll find some gorgeous pieces at very reasonable prices.