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.