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 jewellery. Trifari vintage jewelry pieces from this era are extremely rare, as the mark was only used for several years.
In 1930 Trifari hired Alfred Philippe as head designer, and that is when the company really began to take off. Philippe’s background designing very high end fine jewellery for firms like Cartier and Van Cleef and Arples brought a wonderful sense of luxury and style to the company. The designs he created for Trifari vintage jewellery have the style and glamour of fine jewellery and were very popular. This began an era of Trifari dominance in the industry which lasted for many years.
During the 1930s and 1940s “diamante” jewellery was the most sought after style. These pieces had the look of diamonds and other precious gems with metals that resembled gold and silver or platinum. The earlier Art Deco designs featured geometric shapes, while later pieces were very ornate with scrolls and floral sprays, often with colorful enameling. Dress clips were very popular, and many costume jewellery firms, including Trifari, made beautiful dress clips that had the look of fine jewellery and diamonds.