Video: The ups and downs of the "king of diamonds" Trifari - the favorite jewelry brand of the first lady of the United States
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 13:10
The most famous American jewelry brand, once superior in influence to Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels … Trifari changed the way wealthy American women thought about jewelry, conquering Broadway and Hollywood. The unique design and business acumen of the directors have allowed Trifari to survive several global crises - but have not helped to maintain its position today …
In 1910, Italian immigrants - an uncle and a nephew - opened a small jewelry company in the United States. It was called Triffari and Triffari. In the future, this name changed several times - the names of partners appeared and disappeared in it, not jewelers, but promising traders and merchants involved in promoting the brand. Their efforts paid off. In those days, costume jewelry - jewelry not made of gold and precious stones - was considered something unworthy of the attention of women from the upper classes. Trifari has become a brand that has revolutionized attitudes towards jewelry.
The Trifari company became famous first of all for its amazing ability to stay afloat. During the Great Depression, when many jewelry brands went bankrupt and ceased to exist, Trifari remained afloat and continued production. Moreover, the bankruptcy of the brands that created “real” jewelry prompted jewelers to seek employment in the very companies that created jewelry and retained their clientele thanks to low prices and sophisticated, bold designs. This is how the famous Alfred Phillip came to work at Trifari, a designer whose track record included Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels.
He gave Trifari thirty years of his life and took the company to the next level with his unrivaled craftsmanship. All the most famous jewelry of the brand was created by him, and today they are practically inaccessible to collectors of vintage jewelry. He started … with the modification of his projects for Cartier - only from cheap (by the standards of jewelry art, of course) materials.
Alfred Phillip's jewelry for Trifari was adored by the first lady of the United States - Mamie Eisenhower. Their friendship began with a luxurious necklace made of imitation pearls, emeralds and diamonds. Mrs. Eisenhower then approached Phillip on several occasions to create stunning necklaces, earrings and rings, and Phillip expanded the range of materials used by Trifari. In his arsenal were crystals and rhinestones, lucite, sterling silver with gold plating, imitation pearls, real sapphires, rubies, emeralds and brushed gold-plated metal. For the designer's love for Swarovski crystals, the brand was nicknamed "diamond kings". The collection of jewelry in the form of animal figurines with lucite inserts was especially popular. It was called "JellyBelly" - "jelly tummy" and looked just adorable. The Moghul collection referred to the luxurious treasures of the Maharaja and the culture of distant India. Trifari also has patriotic-themed jewelry - brooches in the form of an American flag and an eagle. In the fifties, the brand's calling card was the crown brooch - a crown motif and is included in their logo. Irony was not alien to Phillip - he created pair brooches in the form of men from "straw", figurines of clowns and dancers.
But the true love of fans of expensive jewelry, collectors and critics, Trifari won thanks to their precious bouquets, sophisticated floral arrangements. Wildflowers, sweet peas, berries together with inflorescences, almost alive, breathing, light interspersed with shining Swarovski crystals. The Trifari of the era of Alfred Phillip had a lot of graceful, ironic, bold decisions, but the bouquets, almost conservative, reminiscent of the design of Art Nouveau jewelry, made women's hearts beat faster. Botanical precision, grace, impeccable style, high quality of materials and verified composition of "bouquets" of Trifari markedly distinguished their products against the background of many floral brooches of other brands.
The variety of shapes and styles used by Trifari allowed every fashionista on both sides of the Atlantic to find something special - and helped drive the brand. In the thirties and forties, Trifari jewelers created decorations for Broadway musicals. It was the best ad ever, and you didn't have to pay for it! The spectators wanted to get hold of the jewelry they saw on the stage at any cost. How wonderful it is to feel like a star! Then came the time of Hollywood, and the first beauties of American cinema sported Trifari jewelry on the screen. At that time, the company became the second largest jewelry brand in the country.
Alfred Phillip remained president of the brand until 1968. Shortly after he left the company, the 70s crisis erupted, but the Trifari survived again and did not lose their clientele. The heirs of the founders of the brand invited young avant-garde designers to work - Gin Peris, Lucius Passavanti, André Beuta and Diana Love. African masks, complex symbolism, futuristic shapes and large abstract compositions have replaced graceful bouquets and "jelly" animals. All Trifari vintage jewelry is labeled. Often, jewelry makers used a stamp with a crown over the letter T. There is a myth about "old Trifari without marking", but this is just a deception of dishonest sellers of vintage jewelry. Of course, Trifari's designs were regularly “hijacked” by small and unpopular brands, but the brand was closely monitoring the protection of its rights.
Subsequently, the Trifari company was resold twice, and its modern products are produced with a label, but without a label - alas, having survived to this day, the brand has not retained its former splendor. On the other hand, unique alloys (including Trifari's signature Trifari alloy) and material processing make vintage Trifari jewelry look like it was just born. Today, world famous Hollywood stars - Meryl Streep, Madonna, Angelina Jolie - have become fans of Trifari's original vintage products.
At one time, a lot of noise was made in the jewelry market piece jewelry based on the sketches of the legendary Alphonse Mucha - Snake for Sarah Bernhardt and other exclusives.