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Looking for vintage Fendi jewelry? Learn the history, materials, jewelry marks, our favorite collectible pieces, and where to buy.

Fendi is a luxury Italian brand that started in the leather business, and later expanded into clothing and jewelry. Today, vintage House of Fendi fashion jewelry is highly collectable due to its style and assembled-by-hand craftsmanship, quality and detailing.

Capturing the Fendi Look

Vintage Fendi fashion jewelry designs are statement pieces with a bold look. Crafting works in 18 carat gold plate, designers took their cues from ancient Mediterranean goldsmiths. Think Etruscan-style hammered works, Roman coins, images of gods or goddesses from Greek mythology, along with influences of classical architecture. Often set with cabochon cut glass gemstones, these wearable decorative artworks can resemble jewelry from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. A salute to Fendi’s Italian heritage!

vintage fendi jewelry guide

A Brief History of The House of Fendi

Italian born Adele Casagrande opened her first leather workshop in 1918. She was just 21 years old.  The Via del Plebiscito, a bustling street in Rome, where Adele opened her business, was teaming with well dressed Italian ladies, ready to buy the latest accessories. The shop was of course filled with Adele’s beautifully crafted small and medium sized leather goods. Furs were sold on the side.

After meeting Edoardo Fendi, they fell in love and married, in 1925. Adele changed the name of her shop to Fendi. Over the course of the next decade, one storefront expanded to seven. And the family grew with the birth of the couple’s five Fendi daughters.

In their teens Paola, Anna, Franca, Carla and Alda worked at Fendi, and the stores grew more successful each year. The stylish sisters later took over the family business in 1964, installing a large picture of their late mother directly in the entrance of the new Fendi headquarters, in Rome.

Enter Designer Karl Lagerfeld

As a creative force, the Fendi sisters decided to welcome legendary German born designer Karl Lagerfeld into the business, in 1965. Lagerfeld’s career in fashion began when he won first prize at the competition held by The International Wool Association, in Paris, for best design in the coat category. By 1957, he became the Art Director of Jean Patou in Paris.

Venturing out on his own as a freelancer, Lagerfeld worked for various fashion houses around Europe including the infamous Chanel. His collaboration with Fendi however, would last for the next five decades.

Growth of the Fendi Brand

Foreign buyers quickly purchased Lagerfeld’s first couture fur collection, in 1966. By then, Bloomingdales already carried Fendi’s leather goods. By 1969, Lagerfeld designed a ready-to-wear collection for the modern young woman. Licenses for perfume, fashion jewelry and more would follow.

The Creation of the Fendi Logo

Fendi logo

Karl Lagerfeld designed the FF logo known as the inverted “zucca.” Used between 1965 to 2000, the straight black uppercase sans-serif font, made the new Fendi logo instantly recognizable and associated with the brand. Logomania was part of the 80s quest to be fashionable. The logo was often incorporated into Fendi costume jewelry, in creative ways and reached its heights in the 1980s and 1990s.

Fendi Jewelry Mark

Vintage Fendi jewelry is marked with the FF logo on the back, side, or front. The piece may even just be signed as Fendi.

fendi jewelry mark

Materials Used

  • Poured Glass
  • Glass intaglios
  • 18 carat gold plate over alloy metals
  • Leather
  • Crocodile leather
  • Semi-precious stones such as tiger’s eye and onyx
  • Faux pearls

Development of Poured Glass

Fendi used poured glass in vintage jewelry designs to replicate the look of real gemstones including rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. This technique involves pouring molten, colored glass into small molds, or directly into the jewelry frame.

What are Glass Intaglios?

In Italian, the word “intaglio” means engraved or incised into an image that is recessed. The technique was popularized during the Renaissance, a period of history that started in Italy, with an appreciation for classical antiquity. Many jewelry intaglios featured Roman heads from coins.  Images of Greek mythological gods and goddesses were also engraved.

These traditions carried on in Fendi glass intaglios.

Collectable Fendi Jewelry

Due to the fine craftsmanship, logos and the Fendi stamp of quality, this fashion jewelry is highly collectable.

Tips for Buying

When purchasing vintage pieces look closely at the condition of the jewelry for signs of damage or poor repair.  Purchase from a reputable seller and ask about refund policies.                     

Vintage Fendi Earrings

Vintage FENDI Gold Maltese Cross Earrings from BijouxVintageCanada on Etsy

Vintage FENDI Gold Maltese Cross Earrings from BijouxVintageCanada on Etsy

Vintage Fendi earrings are boldly shaped pieces. Like many earrings from the 80s, Fendi vintage earrings are mainly clip on, due to the weight. Large gold button earrings, jewelry that replicated buttons on fashion, were popular. Regal images included sunbursts, lions, crowns, heads from Roman coins, or Greek gods and goddesses. Giant door knocker earrings were always part of the collections. The inverted F logo was creatively integrated into many pieces.

Poured glass to replicate gemstones were made to look cabochon cut. Black glass was used for intaglios or dangling tear drops. Faux pearls including classic, baroque or mabé were also frequently used.

Vintage Fendi Necklaces

Large Fendi necklaces were crafted to match earrings. Think chunky chains and collar necklaces with glass gems, or triplicate baroque faux pearl strands.

Vintage Fendi Brooches

Vintage FENDI Poured Glass Oversize Brooch from VintageParisLuxe on Etsy

Vintage FENDI Poured Glass Oversize Brooch from VintageParisLuxe on Etsy

Once reserved only for Grandmothers, brooches suddenly had a resurgence in the 1980s and 1990s. These large pieces of jewelry art were worn at the throat, as a decorative top button replacement on a blouse, or to adorn a coat or handbag. Circular or oblong brooches were two of the most popular shapes.

Vintage Fendi Rings

You will find Fendi rings in thick, chunky bands of gold plate. Many have cut outs to form the logo.

Vintage Fendi Bracelets

Vintage Fendi Charm Bracelet from ProudBoutique on Etsy

Vintage Fendi Charm Bracelet from ProudBoutique on Etsy

For vintage Fendi bracelets, you’ll find cuffs and chunky bangles. Charm bracelets, made popular in the Victorian era, were crafted with a twist, often incorporating tiny golden handbags, shoes and Fendi logos. There were even charm bracelets created exclusively with dangling, round hammered discs or mabé pearls on rounds of gold.                    

Conclusion

Fendi jewelry is worth purchasing as collector’s items. Each piece of jewelry is individually made by hand, and exquisitely crafted, providing wearable longevity.

For vintage pieces have a look at Etsy and eBay to purchase pre-loved Fendi jewelry.

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  1. We are working on one of their gold plated medallion Fendi Roma 1925 Brooches right now, and wish there was a bit more mentioned about that collection. There was a whole line of what many call 'coins' that came in necklaces, earrings, bracelets and brooches for several years that were extremely popular in the 1980s and still very much collectible today. These pieces were genuine gold plated and extremely well made. Someone needs to do a writeup about that collection. It's pretty amazing really! It would be interesting to know the history behind it. This article helps somewhat, so thank you. I just would like to have more specifics. There's nothing written about it anywhere, and there should be!

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