Saturday, December 22, 2007

Contemporary Trifari Dogs

Trifari ( 1918-present--for more information on Trifari marks see Researching Costume Jewelry) has produced some great dogs over the years. In a future entry, we'll look at the vintage dogs from this great company. Today, check out Trifari's notable contemporary canines: a series of gold tone (and occasionally silver tone) dogs that accurately represent a variety of dog breeds. Currently The Dog Jewelry Museum has the following dog breeds in the contemporary Trifari category:

Afghan Hound

Bassett Hound


Labrador Retriever (seated)

Shetland Sheepdog (or Rough Collie)

Doberman Pinscher

Boston Terrier
American Cocker Spaniel


Scottish Terrier

Each Trifari dog is in textured gold tone and about two inches at it's widest measurement. The realistic dogs have been around at least since the early 1970s (I received one that had been purchased new at that time.) In addition to the breeds above I have seen a Schnauzer, Pomeranian, Miniature Poodle, Chihuahua, and German Shepherd Dog (seated). I suspect only the most popular breeds were produced which might limit the total breeds made by Trifari in this series to about 20. I have contacted the Trifari company for more information.

If you have a Trifari realistic dog breed pin not shown here, please get in touch!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Collection Within the Collection: Walking the Dog

Aliens walking their dogs.

Nearly one-fifth of The Dog Jewelry Museum's collection is the sub-genre of "Walking the Dog" jewelry. Walking the Dog pieces are a somewhat loose category that includes chatelaine or swag (two pins connected by a chain) pins, jewelry featuring people with dogs, and even bicycling with a dog pieces.

Celluloid 1940s woman walking dog
Pieces in this collection range from circa 1930 to the present. I include both chatelaine (pins connected to each other by chains, also sometimes called swag) and those that have the walker and walkee in one piece.

One caution for those considering collecting walking the dog pieces, I have seen several chatelaine sets that are marriages...that is, the two pins are connected by chains, but they do not really belong together. Clues to look for...make sure the backs of each pin match. While it might be possible to match finishes on the front, the back can be a dead giveaway. Also see if the pin mechanisms are the same (this is not always the case in authentic pieces, but most do have the same type of pin.) I am especially suspicious of charms attached to people pins. Example: there is a piece that shows up on Ebay now and again of a ballerina with a Scottie dog charm dangling from a chain. While I do think the ballerina at one time was connected to something (she has an integrated loop in her hand), does it make any sense at all for her to be connected to a dog? Not to me!

Another tip, most of the time chatelaine pins have integral loops where the chain is connected on each pin. I have seen some possible marriages where the chain has been hooked with the pin stem. This may be original, I suppose, or it may be because the loop has broken off the piece (or was never there to begin with). Compare the style of the two pieces, the backs, the pin mechanisms, and the theme... and then inspect closely for damage!
Just as some folks walk their dogs off leash, there are some walking the dog pins that are sets and are not connected physically. Above is a great example of a spaceman walking his two dogs off leash!

Want to see more fun walking the dog pins? Check out the category at The Dog Jewelry Museum. (Note to dealers: I am always looking for unique walking the dog pieces. If you have one I don't have, please get in touch.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Great Dog Jewelry in Private Collections

One of the goals of The Dog Jewelry Museum is to acquire jewelry to build the permanent collection, so all of the pieces listed are owned by the Museum. But there are a lot of wonderful canine jewels out there in private collections that certainly deserve highlighting.

One of my favorites is this bulldog pin in Cathy Gordon's marvelous dog collection. Made of pot metal set with marcasites, has glass eyes, and a crystal with reverse carved bone. Also in Cathy's collection are some lovely Essex crystal reverse carved and painted dogs, fun bakelite pieces, and perhaps the only Miriam Haskell dog figural in existence. When you visit the Gordon dog collection, be sure to check out the rest of Cathy's Imagevent, it's a real treat for all jewelry lovers. (BTW, Cathy Gordon is co-author with Sheila Pamiloff of the superb reference book Miriam Haskell Jewelry).

Rita Perloff (Remember When Vintage Jewelry) has a nice collection of dog jewelry images that includes this wonderful enameled grey-blue collie pin.

The image collection also includes the Rebajes Copper Chihuahua pin (also featured in The Dog Jewelry Museum) and a gorgeous jewel-tone Trifari poodle pin.

The hilarious Bassett Hound with the surprised look was Rita's generous donation to the Museum.

Lady Frog's Vintage Jewelry not only sells jewelry, but offers this fantastic display of vintage poodle jewels. I particularly like these two colorful poodles that were made in Korea.

The fun thing about collecting dog jewelry is that you can create so many sub-themes. For example, two of my main collecting interests are "walking the dog" chatelaine pins and carved wooden dog pins. You could choose to collect a particular breed, dogs from certain designers or manufacturers, pins made from bakelite or celluloid or other material, dog pendants, or dog jewels by era or style. There are so many ways the canine is celebrated in's a collecting area that is just ripe with possibilities!

If you have a private collection (not store inventory please) of dog jewelry you'd like to share, please post the link to your collection ...we'd love to see it!

Welcome to The Dog Jewelry Museum Blog

The Dog Jewelry Museum ( shares an extensive collection of vintage, new, and artisan canine figural jewelry with collectors, dealers, and dog fanciers. Each piece of jewelry in the Museum offers front and back images, description, scarcity and value information.

This Blog is an extension of the Museum, intended to highlight the collection, explore sources and images of other dog jewelry, and extend the site to encompass other fun dog things including art, humor, vintage collectibles, and all things doggie.