One of the most recognizable and collectible examples of costume jewelry is the Jelly Belly. It is also a category that is misunderstood. A "jelly belly" search on eBay, for example, will bring up 1,500+ results of which only a handful are truly Jelly Belly jewelry. So what is a Jelly Belly? Essentially it is a piece of sterling silver or metal costume jewelry with a clear Lucite stone.
Jelly Bellies are usually animals, but objects and flowers can all be accurately termed Jelly Bellies, if they have the clear Lucite cab.
Originally called Lucite Jewels, Jelly Bellies were first made in the late 1930s after DuPont's trademarked product Lucite was introduced. Lucite is a type of plastic - specifically a thermoplastic acrylic resin product.
For a period from about 1939 to 1945 several companies, most notably Trifari and Coro, produced pieces and entire collections using Lucite. Many other companies including Sandor, Norma, and Lisner made Jelly Bellies as did countless small companies whose pieces were never hallmarked. These unmarked pieces are rarely attributed but can be identified through cross-referencing period advertisements.
Probably the most collectible Jelly Bellies are Trifari pieces including animals, flowers, and figural subjects. Alfred Philippe, the esteemed Trifari designer, held 61 patents for Lucite jewelry.
Coro Jelly Belliess, also highly collectible, were mostly designed by Adolph Katz. He held 24 design patents for Lucite jewelry designs.
Swan, 1941, Norman Bel Geddes, Designer
NOT JELLY BELLYS
The following examples of jewelry are sometimes referred to as Jelly Bellies. They all have center cabs but without the clear stone, they cannot technically be called Jelly Bellies.
REFERENCE: American Costume Jewlery Art & Industry, 1935-1950, Volume N-Z, Carla Ginelli Brunialti & Roberto Brunialti
Hoping to have a subscription option available soon. In the meantime, I hope you’ll visit the website weekly to read my blog. Bookmark this link.
Share this post