Known and loved for their versatile, decorative and functional features for centuries, brooches have celebrated a big comeback in recent years.
Nowadays mainly worn as adornments and as jewels and decorations on scarves, hats or blouses; brooches date back to the bronze age and have long served their sole functional role; to secure and close garments.
This all changed in the Byzantine era, when brooches were first set with gemstones and pearls.
This versatile jewel’s revival in recent years did not go unnoticed by estate jewellery enthusiasts – and antique brooches set with diamonds, coloured gemstones and pearls are more popular than ever.
On the rise during important social events and omnipresent on red carpets, women such as Kate Middleton, Charlize Theron and Angelina Jolie wear antique brooches as statement jewels pinned on collars, dresses or as hair accessory.
Take a look at our favourite vintage brooch styles:
Created in the 1920ies, double clips are characterized by a framework that allows them to be worn either as a brooch or as two separate clips. These jewels were mainly worn on each side of the neckline and were generally crafted in platinum and set with diamonds.
Double clips remained popular throughout the whole Art Déco period, which ended around 1940.
An all-time classic, the pin is usually a long “needle” with two decorative elements at each end. The decorative jewel is usually pinned in a way that hides the pin stem in the cloth. This jewel was extremely popular during the Art Déco period and was mainly worn on women’s dresses.
Especially popular during the Edwardian era and later during the Art Déco period, bar brooches have earned their iconic status due to their elegant and timeless design. This type of brooch, which has been popular since the 18th century, consists of a horizontal precious metal bar that is often set with gemstones or pearls and will never go out of style.
Throughout all of the important jewellery periods, animals have been a prominent choice of motif for brooches. Particularly popular as a motif in the 19th century, the featured animals have predominantly been designed in naturalistic and very detailed manner in brooches except during the early Art Déco period. The portrayal of animals in Art Déco brooches was abstract and two-dimensional, which changed again in the 1930ies when designers went back to the three-dimensional designs.
When it comes to animal motifs, insects were the prevailing choice during the Art Nouveau era. Fashion savvy-women back then knew how to make the right choice with a brooch featuring a dragonfly, a bee or a butterfly. During this period, insect brooches were generally in yellow gold, featuring enamel and set with coloured gemstones.
A recurring theme throughout the history of brooches are motifs inspired by nature and specifically by flowers. During the 1940ies opulent flower heads, set with coloured gemstones in elaborate designs were a must have.
All of the important jewellery periods had in common, that ribbon and bow brooches were an acclaimed motif. Designed with ribbon knots; the so-called “Sévigné” brooches never seem to go out of style due to their feminine aesthetic.
As symbols of marriage and love, ribbons and bows were most popular during the Belle époque and the Edwardian era and are still today among the favourite motifs of many jewellery designers, when it comes to brooches.