Designer American Cocktail Jewellery
The Second World War had a great impact on American Jewellery firms, as by the time the Americans entered the war in 1941 the government had placed restrictions on base metals which were required for the war effort. This together with a reduction in imported materials from Europe resulted in jewellers substituting base metals with sterling silver and using modern materials such as Lucite and other plastics in place of cabochon cut pastes to create unique jewellery
When the war finished, Trifari wished to return to inexpensive metals so it promoted its
latest products by calling them Trifanium, which was a basic metal that could incorporate a no-polish rhodium plating
Yellow Vermeil (Silver Gilt) used in new American look Jewellery Designs
America’s isolation and separation from Europe throughout the war resulted in a lack of European influence in American jewellery trends, and due to this, the first totally American look in jewellery design emerged. A particular aspect of this new style was the use of yellow vermeil, or silver gilt as it is often known.
Fake Ruby and Aquamarine gems, and Large Stones used in "Cocktail Jewellery"
These new jewellery designs often featured large sized stones and strong colour combinations of fake gems such as bold ruby red against aquamarine. Popular styles were abstract designs that looked like drapery, as well as strong sculpted scrolls and bows. These free flowing and sculptural items were in contrast to the geometric and streamlined pieces of the earlier Art Deco era. It became the style to wear to cocktail parties and evening events. The result of this was the name “cocktail jewellery” for this new jewellery design type.
Big Name Jewellery Firms of the 1940's - Coro and Trifari
The most famous two names in American costume jewellery of the 1940’s were Trifari and Coro. Both companies had achieved success producing imitations of Art Deco jewellery using inspiration from the designs of Cartier.
Coro Double Locking Clips and Trifari "Tutti Frutti" Jewellery
Coro was the first firm to manufacture double locking clips that could be worn separately or together . These clips called “Duettes” were very popular items. Trifari developed a good reputation by producing top quality costume jewellery imitations of tutti frutti jewellery.
Coro angelfish and animal brooches
Coro and Trifari led the way in the design of cocktail jewellery in the 1940’s and early 1950’s and they moved the style forward in a fun, figurative, and imaginative way. Notable Coro designs of this period were brooches shaped like angelfish, hands, and donkey carts, while designs by Trifari often featured animal brooches made with Lucite