In pre-Revolution Russia at the tender age of eleven, Olga Tritt apprenticed as a watchmaker. After emigrating to the United States with her siblings, she managed to set herself up in New York (c.1910) selling jewelry (and dressmaking skills) utilizing the back pages of Vogue as her “catalog.” In the beginning, she specialized in antique jewelry later venturing into her own collection of newly designed bold and colorful pieces. It wasn’t long before she was a New York society bon vivante.
An adventuress, she traveled throughout the world in search of the magnificent gems that were her signature.
In the late 1920’s, she herself went pearl-fishing in the Caribbean and off South America and later made trips to India to study rubies, sapphires and emeralds. ‘She was a great believer in going to the source,’ an associate said yesterday, and her travels took her almost all over the world.1
So well known for her use of colored gemstones, the Brazilian government employed her to design a jewelry collection for the 1939 New York World’s Fair showcasing the myriad of magical gems mined in their country.
Her jewelry was accessible to nearly every budget. In a story written in 1957 regarding graduation gifts, the New York Times reported that:
Olga Tritt is proud of a gracefully designed leaf pin, finished in textured gold, $30. Not to be overlooked are stiff gold bangle bracelets that are $19.50 each. Also, at this store is an irresistibly pretty gold dome ring studded with clusters of sapphires. It is $60. 2
Harold P. Davidson, Vice President of Olga Tritt had definite ideas about their jewelry:
He said cultured pearl earrings and necklaces are the uniform of the American woman, that red-haired women probably should stay away from ruby earrings and that gold jewelry solves a multitude of problems.3
After her death, her Palm Beach location (established in the 1930s) remained open, run by her husband and her daughter until the end of the 20th century.
Olga Tritt Print Ad.
Olga Tritt Ruby & Diamond Earrings.
Photo Courtesy of Sotheby’s.
Olga Tritt Green Tourmaline & Diamond Brooch.
Photo Courtesy of Christie’s.
Olga Tritt Azurite & Turquoise Brooch.
Photo Courtesy of Bonhams.
Olga Tritt Turquoise & Diamond Ring.
Photo Courtesy of Doyle’s.
Maker’s Marks and Timeline:
New York NY
E. 57th St. New York NY
- Gold Jewelry
- Large, Colorful Gemstones
est. c. 1910.
1968: Death of Olga Tritt
Palm Beach branch of the business closed at the end of the 20th Century.
- Weir-de La Rochefoucauld, Juliet. Women Jewellery Designers, Suffolk: ACC Art Books, 2017.
- Curtis, Charlotte. “Jewelers’ Views Differ on the Wearing of Gems” “The New York Times” July 4, 1961, p.20.
- “Graduation: Jewelry Gift is Suggested” “The New York Times” May 29, 1957, p.47.
- “Olga Tritt, 81, Dies; Park Ave. Jeweler” “The New York Times” March 11, 1968, p.41.