Brooches: Facts and Buying Guide

The jewellery worn by humans through the ages have evolved significantly. Today, men and women wear different kinds of jewellery to either look good or to signify or stand for something. One of the oldest form of jewellery are brooches, which was very commonly worn in the past and is making a comeback now with some of the most popular fashion brands showcasing it on their models and making them a part of their collection. Wearing brooches is soon becoming a fashion trend and here’s what you need to know to keep up with it.

A brooch is a piece of decorative jewellery that is attached to the garments, very often to fasten them together. They are fashionable items that can add beauty to an otherwise dull outfit. It make an interesting addition to your outfit and can often serve as conversation starters depending upon their design. They can have varied designs and can be used to express a certain mood or opinion.

Brooches were first developed as pins used for fastening clothes and not as a jewellery item. They were created as functional items to secure clothes such as loincloth. The first recorded evidence of brooches reveal that they were made of materials such as thorns and flint. With the discovery and increase in popularity of metals in the Bronze Age, people began making brooches out of metals which were more like pins and were used by both men and women as cloak fasteners. As time passed, these became more ornamental with more details during the period of the Vikings.

In the Byzantine Era, brooches were extremely elaborate with several embellishments and were used by people to secure scarfs and shawls. During this time, the brooches became more of a fashionable accessory that represented a person’s taste rather than a utilitarian object. Over time, they began getting noticed for their striking design. During the 18th century, brooches became a popular symbol for mourning where the mourner wore a brooch in which the hair of a deceased loved one had been incorporated. More often, the picture of the deceased person was set under glass in the brooch and worn over the chest to signify closeness to the heart.

Brooches come in various shapes and sizes. There are different types of brooches available in the market today. These are –

Bar brooches

A bar brooch is the one that has a horizontal elongated design with a plaque or motif in the front and a pin for fastening at the back. These type of brooches were very common during the Edwardian period where people used to wear it as a suit brooch.

Pendant brooches

One of the most versatile pieces of jewellery is the pendant brooch that features a small pendant hanging from it. These brooches have an adjustable attachment that you can use to attach any pendant. These are one of the best brooches for both men and women.

Enamel Brooches

Enamel brooch is a great brooches idea that are popular even today. Enamel brooches have a colorful enamel face which is made fusing powdered glass to metal. The enamel finish of the brooch gives a beautiful shine to the brooch and reduces the need for additional embellishments.

Foliate brooches

Any brooch for men or women having leaves or floral motifs in their design are known as foliate brooches. The foliate brooches became very popular in the 19th century where people wore brooches having the forget-me-not floral design to signify friendship or love.

Portrait brooches

Around the 18th century, people had grown obsessed with the idea of miniature portraits and often commissioned artists to make it for them. Miniature portraits of a close family member was created on ivory, pearl or porcelain and incorporated in the brooch design that was then word by people. Portrait brooches were also very often used as a symbol of mourning where a grieving person would wear a portrait brooch as a mark of remembrance of the deceased family member.

Brooches have made a comeback in the recent years with many renowned people, like Queen Elizabeth II, wearing some stunning brooches and inspiring other people to do the same. These are extremely versatile and can be worn on several clothing item and can match almost all occasions ranging from a funeral to a red carpet. Here are a few tips on how you can style your brooch-

  • A great accessory to wear with a dress is a brooch. A brooch when worn strategically can give a beautiful shape to your bust. Also, if you ever find yourself wearing an oversized dress, then you can always gather the extra fabric at the back and pin it with a brooch to enhance the fitting.
  • Lapels are traditional place to wear a brooch. If you have a simple and elegant taste then stick to wearing your brooch on the lapel. You can choose from a big extravagant statement brooch or a simple bar brooch.
  • Brooches for women can be worn to fasten the top button of a blouse where it will act like an accessory and enhance your neckline. It can also be worn with sweater or cardigans in order to add a touch of glimmer in the otherwise plain outfit.
  • For any formal occasions or celebrations adding a brooch to your hairstyle can work wonder on your look. You can attach the brooch to the hair tie holding your ponytail or use it to secure your hair in a bun. If you wear headgears such as a hat, beret or bandana, then you can re define their appearance by attaching a brooch to it.
  • Brooches are most commonly used to secure a scarf or a necktie and one should place it in a manner where it is visible. Just make sure that there aren’t any clashing patterns that take away the attention from the brooch.
  • One of the best ways in which you can accessorize any accessory is by adding brooches to it. Add a brooch to your bag, shoes, gloves or jacket to give them an edgy look. You can add a brooch to almost anything to elevate its style and appearance.