Vintage Jewelry Companies:
History of the Companies and Their Designs
If you are interested in learning more about vintage jewelry, the companies and people who created beautiful vintage jewelry, and their most successful designs, then you've come to the right place. Additional companies will be added, so please bookmark this page and check in again.
Trifari: A Long and Distinguished History
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.
In 1930 Trifari hired Alfred Philippe as head designer, and that is when the company began to really 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 Trifari vintage jewelry designs he created have the style and glamour of fine jewelry and were very popular.
A wonderful example are these charming Vintage Trifari Elephant Pins designed and patented by Alfred Philippe for Trifari in 1952.
Philippe continued to work at Trifari until his retirement in 1968.
In the 1940s the company name was changed back to "Trifari" and the famous Trifari Crown logo was stamped on the pieces. For detailed information and photos of Trifari Vintage Jewelry Marks, see my guide, Trifari Vintage Jewelry Marks.
Trifari continued to be run by its founder and sons until 1975, when the company was sold to Hallmark Jewelry Company. In 1988 the company was sold to Crystal Brands, and in 1994 sold to Chase Capital Partners and Lattice Holding Company, a division of the Monet Group. During that time, high end, collectible Trifari jewelry was produced for sale on QVC. Many of these were Limited Editions, and collectors highly prize them as the last of the signed Trifari jewelry.
In 2000 the Monet Group was purchased by Liz Claiborne and production was moved overseas, which brought an end to the high quality signed Trifari jewelry. Liz Claiborne Inc. continues to produce Trifari jewelry overseas, most of which are sold on Trifari cards. Recently, a newer Trifari hang tag has been attached to some of these overseas produced pieces.
To view fabulous vintage Trifari pieces in my store, use the following link:
Trifari Vintage Jewelry in My Classic Jewelry Shop
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Coro: A Fabulous Partnership
Coro was established in 1901 by Emanuel Cohn Gerald Rosenberg, who used the first two letters of each name to come up with the company name, "Coro." In 1924 Adolphe Katz became the company's design director and he, along with designer Gene Verri (Eugene Verrecchio), who was with Coro from 1933 until 1963, made Coro a highly successful firm and a household name.
Here are some wonderful examples of early Coro designs.
Coro Duettes: Most Collectible
Coro Duettes were produced from the early 1930s to the 1950s. They are called "Duettes" because there are two pins (usually dress clips or fur clips) that can be attached to a frame to create one large brooch. Trifari had a similar type of brooch, which they called "CLIP-MATES." The older Coro Duettes in the Art Deco style were geometric in shape with either all clear stones or stones of a single color, sometimes with clear stones. Later on, they developed into highly stylized figural designs, such as the enameled owls shown below.
In 1957 the Coro company was purchased by Richton International Corp. of New York continued to produce jewelry in its Providence, Rhode Island facility until it ceased operations in 1979.
To view fabulous vintage Coro pieces in my store, use the following link:
Coro Vintage Jewelry in My Classic Jewelry Shop
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Napier: A Long Tradition
Originally founded as Whitney and Rice in 1875 in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. At that time the company specialized in silver products, such as silver watch chains for men. Later, the company became Carpenter and Bliss, then the E.A. Bliss Company. In 1890 the company expanded and moved to Meriden, Connecticut. During the World War I years, jewelry production was suspended as the company manufactured war-related products, such as medals and medallions.
After the war the company focused on producing jewelry. James H. Napier became the company’s president and the company was renamed to the Napier Bliss Company. In 1922 the name was changed to The Napier Company. James Napier continued as head of the company until 1960. In 1999 the company was purchased by Victoria and Company, which closed the plant in 1999. Napier jewelry is still produced today overseas as part of the Jones Apparel Group.
Jewelry Styles in the Pre-World War II Era
As mentioned, after World War I, the company focused on jewelry production. In 1925 James Napier attended the Paris World’s Fair, and was greatly influenced by European and Paris fashions. He brought back many of those designs, which were incorporated into the company’s jewelry. During the 1920s and 1930s, many Napier pieces featured Egyptian inspired themes, with symbols such as scarabs, cobras, King Tut, and Osiris and Isis. The company became highly successful and Napier jewelry was worn by movie stars, such as Lana Turner and Sonja Henie.
Mid Century Magic
During the 1940s and early 1950s Sterling Retro jewelry was all the rage. Because of the need for base metals during World War II, costume jewelry manufacturers produced Sterling Silver pieces, often plated with a gold vermeil finish. The photo below shows a lovely Napier Vintage Jewelry Rose Brooch made of Sterling Silver with Rose Gold Vermeil finish.
During the 1950s Napier promoted their jewelry by presenting gifts to contestants of the Miss America Pageant. The company also presented a bracelet with an elephant design to First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, which she wore often and considered one of her favorite pieces of jewelry.
Napier Vintage Jewelry Goes Bold
Reaching its peak of popularity in the 1950s and 60s, Napier vintage jewelry pieces span a wide array of styles. Some feature faux pearls and beads, large gold or silver plated chains, and colorful enamel. Napier also created earrings, necklaces and bracelets with milk glass beads or art glass charms. The company also produced a line of sterling silver pieces. Napier vintage jewelry is known for its modern designs incorporating geometric shapes and floral motifs, similar to popular mid century Mexican and Scandinavian designs.
Chunky bracelets, large brooches, and bold button style earrings were also manufactured by Napier. The chunky gold plated set below features bold textured nuggets style links that are articulated to lie beautifully on the neck and wrist.
To view fabulous vintage jewelry pieces in my store, use the following link:
Fabulous Vintage Jewelry in My Classic Jewelry Shop
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NOTE: More companies will be added. Come back soon!