Gustavo Trifari was born to a family of goldsmiths in Naples, Italy. In 1904, he immigrated to the United States and in New York in 1910, partnered with his uncle Ludovico Trifari to form a jewelry company called Trifari & Trifari.
By 1917, Ludovico Trifari was no longer associated with the company and Gustavo brought in Leo Krussman to help with sales and marketing, who later became a partner. Carl Fishel joined the company in 1925, serving as President and also made partner. The company was renamed Trifari, Krussman & Fishel and jewelry manufactured under this era was marked "KTF"
Alfred Philippe, Head Designer
(1930 - 1968)
Famous Crown Brooch
Designed By Alfred Philippe
The Philippe Years (1930 - 1968)
In 1930, French designer Alfred Philippe joined Trifari as head designer and ushered in a whole new level of success for the business. He became the driving force behind Trifari's popularity, having been trained at the prestigious Ecole Boulle fine arts school in Paris and previously worked for fine jewelry firms Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels.
Philippe brought high-end jewelry design and manufacturing techniques to Trifari, such as his use of invisible settings for stones, which added a level of craftsmanship and technique that had not been previously seen in costume jewelry.
In the 1930s, Trifari began working with Broadway and Hollywood producers to craft custom designs for famous actors and launched gorgeous national advertising campaigns using slogans like "if it isn't signed, it isn't Trifari" which established the brand in the upper echelons of the fashion industry.
Among Philippe's contributions to the Trifari brand are his famous crown brooches, which were so popular that Trifari incorporated a crown into it's signature mark for decades.
Philippe's tenure with the company lasted almost 40 years. He served as Trifari's lead designer until 1968.
Modern Trifari Jewelry
Modern Day Trifari (1970 - Present)
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Japanese architect and designer Kunio Matsumoto created a series of jewelry for Trifari that was extremely popular. Other popular designer collaborations of the era were Diane Love and Jonathan Bailey.
In 1994, Trifari became part of the Monet Group, which was acquired by Liz Claiborne in 2000.