If you think that brooches are just for your grandma, boy have I got news for you. Brooches are back with a bang and it feels so good. Although brooches did briefly fall from fashion’s graces around the late ’80s/early ‘90s, in the grand scheme of things they are truly eternal. Brooches were first worn by humans in the Bronze Age, and we haven’t stopped since.
Today then, let’s take a look at 5 brooch styles that have stood the test of time.
1. Victorian Brooch Styles
Victorian brooch styles are certainly a style that has endured the test of time. The Victorians – like all of us – were a nostalgic group. In the Victorian era, there was a Grecian revival and an Egyptian revival, with styles from both ancient cultures finding popularity once more. Cameo brooches were a big part of Victorian jewellery, both the designs that emulated Ancient Greek aesthetics, as well as more contemporary examples that appeared as portraits of young women and children mostly. These types of brooches feature portraits, usually in profile, of various figures. This is where the term cameo to describe a celebrity appearance in a TV show comes from.
Another example of an enduring Victorian brooch style is the hair brooch. These valued treasures are made from taking a lock of hair and using it to create plaits and even surprisingly delicate patterns.
These types of brooches were sometimes made using the hair of the recently deceased, used to create designs that would commemorate their memory, such as spelling out their initials.
2. Art Deco Brooch
Art Deco Brooches are some of the most highly valued brooches today. Jewellery from the first half of the 20th century is often in excellent quality; the platinum used to make this jewellery was of an excellent calibre, and so the gemstones used are rarely lost or damaged. Brooches from this period of time are usually very symmetrical, with architectural designs that focus on geometry and order.
These were innovative designs – as the entire Art Deco period innovated in so many ways – and they have maintained a degree of popularity since. In recent times especially, Art Deco styles are on top, matching the 21st century aesthetics that have taken influence from all aspects of the last hundred years.
Art Deco jewellery – and particularly brooches – are a great accessory for men and women, being versatile and beautiful in equal measure; it’s no wonder they’ve endured for a century and are still extremely popular accessories.
3. Bar Brooch
One thing that makes the bar brooch appeal so much is its simplicity. A single bar, sometimes just plain gold, other times with gemstones set into its length, and other times with whole scenes set atop it; the bar brooch defines versatility. It’s hard to say when bar brooches first emerged. It’s entirely possible that some of the earliest brooch designs were bar brooches, since they are simple and easy enough to create.
What is clear, however, is that they are one type of brooch that has certainly stood the test of time. Most of the examples of antique bar brooches that still exist today are from the Victorian period, since this was a prosperous time when more jewellery could be made out of more expensive and higher quality materials, lasting beyond a lifetime. The brooches are still sought after and purchased by collectors today.
4. Floral Brooch
As is the case with most natural themes, floral styles have been popular for much of human existence. With floral brooches, the case is no different. Looking through history, we can find portraits dating back centuries where the subject sports a dashing floral brooch. Whether it’s brooches with floral themes – such as Victorian wreath-shaped brooches with petal designs – or brooches that imitate the overall appearance of a particular plant or flower – like the Queen’s fern-shaped brooch, gifted to her by New Zealand – floral brooches aren’t going anywhere.
It’s understandable that – to some – a floral brooch may sound particularly old-fashioned, but there are a lot of modern designs that incorporate the same themes whilst remaining contemporary and cool. Plants have become one of the hottest accessories for any home, with people labelling themselves as ‘plant parents’, and plant-oriented brooches are set to be the hottest trend.
5. Tutti Frutti Brooch
Our last example of a brooch style that has stood the test of time is the tutti frutti brooch. This is a pretty unique example, as a lot of tutti frutti jewellery was made in one specific period of time, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t widely loved and celebrated today. Tutti frutti is the name given to a type of jewellery that incorporates lots of smaller gemstones rather than large, statement stones. The gemstones – usually sapphires, rubies and emeralds – are carved with different designs; this style evolved from traditional Indian designs that featured carved stones often.
These brooches were made around the 1930s and ‘40s, and their mosaic-like appearance made them an instant hit.
Today, this mish-mash of colours and shapes is sure to rekindle some ‘90s nostalgia for bright colours and truly creative accessorising. Consider tutti frutti jewellery if you’re looking for something that’s fun and quirky.
And just like that, we’ve blasted through 5 historic brooch styles that have stood the test of time. Jewellery is an integral part of human existence, and we have adorned ourselves with shiny bits and bobs for as long as we have had the dexterity to do so. Brooches might have been for your granny once, but now they’re for you. Which style is your favourite?
Bethany Massey – Digital Assistant (Content Creator)
Having graduated university with a BA in English Literature and an MA in Creative Writing Bethany then joined the AC Silver team as a content creator. Bethany spends her days writing content for the AC Silver blog and other luxury goods/antique blogs.