Hi there! I love to run antique selling experiments on different platforms to see which one yields the highest price for specific collectibles. Not too long ago I shared my experiences running one on ironstone, and today I’m going to give you some details about selling vintage Trifari jewelry on eBay.
History of Trifari Jewelry
Trifari jewelry history dates to the turn of the last century when Giovanni Trifari learned the jewelry trade from his family of goldsmiths in Italy. After immigrating to America early in the century, he began crafting jewelry under the Trifari name.
By 1925 he had entered into a partnership with two others and established the company as Trifari, Krussman and Fishel. These early pieces would bear the mark “KTF.” But the partnership only lasted into the 1930’s.
During the period between 1930 and 1960, Trifari produced some of its most highly collectible pieces. This was due in large part to the inspired addition of Alfred Phillipe to the design team.
With his high end jewelry background at companies like Cartier, he taught other Trifari artisans key processes, like invisible settings, that seriously elevated the look and style of the line. His pieces stand out from the rest and are worth hundreds of dollars each.
His ornate crown brooches became famous and ultimately served as the design for the Trifari crown mark–a crown over the letter T. Many thanks to Jacquie, who sells beautiful vintage and antiques from her JustVintage4U Etsy shop, for letting me share this crown brooch photograph 🙂
Trifari quality was maintained in the decades following Philippe’s departure in 1968, with beautiful pearl designs throughout the 60’s and enamelwork in the 70’s.
In 1985, Hallmark purchased the company, and then in 1994 Monet, another well-known costume jewelry brand, bought it. In 2000 they sold to Liz Claiborne.
At that point they stopped marking Trifari jewelry and began selling it on cards printed with the brand name. This jewelry is generally thought to be of lesser quality.
How to Date Trifari Jewelry
Trifari prided itself on marking every single piece it produced. In fact they advertised, “If it isn’t signed, it isn’t Trifari.” Below you’ll find the most common Trifari marks:
- KTF w/an enlarged T: 1925-30’s
- Trifari + PAT PEND or PAT date: Mid-1930’s-1955 (see example above)
- Crown over T in Trifari: Mid-1939 – 1955
- Crown over T followed by ©: 1955-69 (see example below in Vintage Trifari Values section)
- Trifari in italics with no crown, sometimes followed by a © or TM: 1970’s-80’s
- Non-italics Trifari followed by TM: Late 1980’s-1999 (see example below)
- No mark: 2000-Present (pieces sold on a card marked Trifari)
This rhinestone and enamel brooch serves as a good example of the high quality pieces created in the 1980’s and 90’s, many for QVC. [Note the non-italics TRIFARI TM mark.]
Trifari Jewelry Marks Cheat Sheet
I’ve created a printable “cheat sheet” with all of the above dating info PLUS photos of the marks/tags.
Styles of Trifari Jewelry
- Crowns: Brooches shaped like ornate crowns (see example above)
- Diamante: Ornate pieces that resembled genuine stones and metals dating to the 1930’s and 40’s (example above–the key-shaped brooch)
- Clip-mates: Large brooches that could be broken into two pieces and worn as dress clips.
- Jelly Bellies: Animal and fruit-shaped pins with Lucite bellies/center (example below)
Stand Out Features of Vintage Trifari Jewelry
- High end designs
- High quality manufacture
- Alfred Philippe designs (1930’s-60’s)
- Manufactured to look like genuine gemstones and metals (silver, gold, platinum)
- Famous For: Crowns, Jelly Bellies, & Alfred Philippe designs
How to Clean Costume Jewelry
When you subscribe to my email list you’ll gain access to my Member Library (link in navigation bar) where you can find tips for cleaning costume jewelry on the Vintage Christmas Tree Pins “cheat sheet.”
Where to Buy Trifari Jewelry
I purchased the Trifari pieces found in this article from a fellow antique seller, so in that sense she is my “picker.” That however is a very special relationship that not every seller has available to them.
In my opinion, the best place to look for and find Trifari jewelry at fair prices is estate sales, where you often find numerous large cases filled with jewelry for sale. You may also “luck out” and find a piece or two at garage sales or thrift stores if you look carefully.
Where to Sell Trifari Jewelry
My recent “experiment” with selling Trifari for the past three months has led me to conclude that it sells very well on eBay. This is true in large part to its popularity overseas, particularly Japan and China.
Because eBay attracts more international customers than Etsy, I suspect that at the moment, it is the better choice for selling Trifari, particularly clip on earrings.
Please note that I have listed three Trifari necklaces that as of this writing, have not yet sold. I’ve observed from eBay sold listings that necklaces do sell, and I believe mine are attractive and competitively priced. I’ll be reporting back on the eventual results of these attempts.
- Vintage (1955-69) crown Trifari + © gold matte and glossy Celtic-type pendant necklace is listed for $31.97. Available here.
- Vintage (1970’s-80’s) italicized Trifari + TM mark, glossy gold choker is listed for $17.97.
UPDATE: Sold on eBay for $11.97 (Best Offer) on 9.28.21.
- Vintage (1955-69) crown Trifari + ©, silver teardrop pendant necklace is listed for $15.97.
UPDATE: Sold on eBay for $11.97 (Best Offer) on 9.26.21.
Trifari Jewelry Values
Over the past few months I’ve successfully sold many pieces of Trifari jewelry on eBay. Here’s a look at them:
Vintage (1955-69) crown Trifari + ©, gold pearl brooch sold for $11.96.
Vintage (1955-69) crown Trifari + ©, coral Lucite cabochon and rhinestone clip on earrings sold for $23.96.
Vintage (1955-69) crown Trifari + ©, matte gold clip on earrings sold for $12.50.
Vintage (1955-69) crown Trifari + ©, coral and turquoise, Lucite cabochon and rhinestone clip on earrings sold for $23.96.
Vintage (1955-69) crown Trifari + ©, matte gold tassel brooch sold for $12.50.
Vintage (1955-69) crown Trifari + ©, white Lucite, flower-shaped clip on earrings sold for $10.00.
Vintage (1955-69) crown Trifari + ©, red, emerald-cut clip on earrings sold for $17.96.
Vintage (1955-69) crown Trifari + ©, pearl and Austrian crystal clip on earrings sold for $10.00.
Vintage (1955-69) crown Trifari + ©, matte gold, pearl and rhinestone brooch sold for $17.50.
Keep in mind that older, ornate pieces, like the crown brooch I showed you earlier, while harder to find, are more sought after and sell for much higher amounts. So keep your eye out for them!
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