Dating Trifari Jelly Bellies

I absolutely love it when my grandmother decides to hand down her jewelry to us grand kids. It is like looking through buried treasure and you never know what you may find.

Recently I was given a box of jewelry that belonged to my grandmother. She decided to get rid of some of her jewelry she had for years, many of the pieces have never been worn. As I was looking through the bags and bags of jewelry in the box, a beautiful bright rooster brooch caught my eye. It was in excellent condition and looked like it could possibly be worth some money. It was shiny gold tone with a clear Lucite stone in the middle and was decorated with beautifully colored rhinestones all over. I looked for markings at the back of the pin and found it was marked Trifari. I got pretty excited because I knew Trifari made nice jewelry, and some pieces could be worth well over a grand.

I was anxious to see what my new found treasure was worth. Immediately I started researching to see if I could find anything like it. I was able to find a few that were similar, but none that were identical. I found out that the ones that were similar were called jelly bellies because of the clear Lucite stone in the center. This particular rooster jelly belly that I had was also called a chanticleer. There were all kinds of jelly bellies and many of them sold quickly. Many of the jelly bellies I found sold for hundreds all the way up to over a thousand dollars, so I was starting to get excited. I also knew that roosters were very collectible, as my grandmother was a former collector. The Trifari roosters that I found were listed for 700 all the way up to 1000 dollars. I was able to find the original patent number, which helped date the brooch back to February 22, 1944 when it was issued to Alfred Philippe.

As I started the listing for the Trifari rooster brooch in my store, Sienna’s Sandbox, I found out the brooch was most likely issued in the 1960’s and not 1944. Upon further research, I realized that the rooster brooch that I had was in fact issued after 1955, most likely sometime in the 1960’s based on its characteristics. Therefore, it was not from the original jelly belly brooch collection from the 1930’s; however it is just as authentic and collectible.

I learned that there were some differences between the original jelly bellies and the ones issued in the 1960’s, which helped me figure out mine was from the 1960’s. First, new jelly bellies, issued in the 1960’s, are not sterling as the original ones were. Instead they are gold or silver tone. I also figured out that the new ones have a copyright mark located on the back after the Trifari mark, which dates it to after 1955. The original have solely the Trifari mark with the crown above the “T”. Lastly, the new ones have beautifully colored rhinestones, as the original ones had clear stones. The one that I have has beautiful red, green, light and dark blue bright rhinestones. Although this Trifari rooster brooch is not an original of the 1930’s, it is still an authentic Trifari piece that is beautiful and would make a wonderful addition to any collection.

Nichole Brown of Sienna’s Sandbox on Ruby Lane


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