The Evolution of the Brooch

The brooch is one of the oldest and most celebrated pieces of jewelry. From the Ancient Romans to today, the brooch has grown to be an essential part of any woman's jewelry collection.

Diamond Butterfly Brooch

The brooch has been a part of jewelry history for centuries. The first brooches were found in Bronze Age settlements. The Celts and Vikings used brooches to fasten clothing together. They were used by Romans in the military for this purpose as well. Brooches from this time period are called fibulae.

English Victorian Diamond Brooch, circa 1870

Starting in late medieval Europe, brooches were worn as mourning jewelry. These would incorporate designs that were significant to the person being mourned. Often, a lock of hair was used as a keepsake for the wearer. Other designs such as eyes were also popular for mourning.

Victorian Pearl Pin, circa 1880

Cameo brooches take their origins from Ancient Greece. As new archaeological discoveries in these regions occurred, the art and aesthetics of this era were again in vogue. The cameo brooch, popular in the Victorian era, was often made from shell or coral, and carved with an image of a beautiful woman. These brooches also could incorporate an ornate frame, and many of them could convert into pendants.

Shell Cameo With Seed Pearls

During the 1920s and 1930s, the Art Deco aesthetic took over the jewelry industry. Art Deco brooches incorporate geometric designs with striking accent gemstones like onyx and sapphire. Famous design houses would start to create expertly crafted brooches with fine stones. These brooches are highly coveted today, and represent a truly unique era in jewelry.

Platinum Art Deco Onyx and Diamond Brooch

Brooches continued to be popular through the mid-20th century, but died down as the 21st century began. However, the brooch is coming back into style. Designers today, such as Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, are incorporating brooches into many seasonal collections. Vintage brooches are great pieces that fit well into any women's jewelry collection. Click here to view more antique and estate brooches.

Ruby and Diamond Dragonfly Brooch

Posted in Antique Features, Jewelry.