Tuesday, November 30, 2010

History Repeating

1918. this is the year that one of the most collected, and loved lines of costume jewelry was born. Gustavo Trifari, Sr. and Leo F. Krussman founded Trifari and Krussman after having been in the business of manufacturing bar pins and hair ornaments. Together they ran a successful jewelry businees where Gustavo made the jewelry and Leo sold it. In 1925 Carl Fishel joined their team and thus the company became what we know today as KTF.

One of the most pivitol moments for the company however, was in 1930 when the European designer Alfred Phillipe joined in as the chief designer. Having vast experience in fine jewelry, his pieces had previously been sold at Cartier and Van Clef and Arpels in Paris. This was a defining point for the company, who began using brightly colored Austrian crystals, and began basing their designs on that of fine jewelry. Shorty after they were then referred to as the "Rhinestone Kings."

From the 1930's to the 1960's Trifari created exclusive designs for Broadway productions such as The Great Waltz, Roberta, and Jubilee with Ethel Merman. Stars such as Sophie Tucker, Lena Horne and Rosalinda Russell all wore jewelry specially designed by Trifari. 
Trifari Jewels of India Necklace ($2,398)

Here are a few interesting facts about Trifari: 

In 1941 the famous Trifari Crown Pin was introduced. Made of sterling silver and vermeil, with very real looking cabochons and rhinestones, it is one of the most collectible Trifari pieces today. 

In 1954 in a landmark federal copyright case, Trifari was awarded a judgement that established their fashion jewelry design as works of art, therefore allowing the pieces to be copyrighted.

In 1964 Gustavo Trifari, Louis F. Krussman, and Carlton M. Fishel took over their father's business and continued with renewed interest for beautiful costume jewelry, with the help of then First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy.