1964 Tortolani Crislu Long Eared Donkey Figural Pin | Unique Mid Century Designer | Vintage Democratic Donkey Brooch


Interested in a subtle way to wear an indication of your Democratic support or affiliation? This unique, mid century, whimsical long eared donkey figural pin could be the way. I found this spunky donkey, with an attitude, while vintage shopping at a Historical Society fundraiser at the local fair grounds along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

There are two marker’s marks on its back: first “Crislu 1964 ©” in block letters behind the mane, and “Tortolani ©” on the back of the left ear written in script. This is an older Tortolani pieces considered to be highly prized. That’s partially based on the quality of the pieces and award winning designs.

Tortolani Jewelry was founded by Italian born Francisco Tortolani after World War II and from 1950 to 1976, created an award-winning line of costume jewelry. They designed gifts for various movie stars of that era and were known for their three-dimensional styles and detail. The company ceased operations in l976. The “Tortolani Crislu” mark indicates this was one of the designs created by the founder. This is one of those pieces.

In fact, according to Marcia Brown, author of the book, Signed Beauties of Costume Jewelry the antique finish that “blackens the back is an important clue” that it is an authentic Tortolani.

Pieces were hand-cast in pewter and polished by hand. In addition, this donkey has a golden overlay which has been worn down in places over the years. It also has a warm glow of a patina, adding to its interesting vintage character. Overall it’s in good vintage condition for its 50+ years of existence, meaning average wear for its age. In this case that wear is mostly around the edges, including its nose (see pictures) as well as a few spots here and there. However, in my opinion, that adds to its charms.

This adorable, whimsical donkey measures 1.5” wide, 2” tall, and with a .5” depth. It has a substantial feel to it. From Election Day to July 4th this donkey symbol of the Republican Party is perfect for those wanting to proclaim their affiliation. It’s also a cute figural to wear anytime. The pictures offer greater perspective on the vintage condition and mid century charm of this long eared whimsical Tortolani donkey pin

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