Jewellery - Feature Article

Brooches are back and more contemporary than ever

Brooches are experiencing a modern, contemporary revival and we’re completely on-board.

In this current generation of on-and-off trends, sometimes it’s necessary to dial it back with something stylistic and classic, something that represents timeless beauty; and that’s exactly what brooches are.

Brooches are usually considered to be reserved for the older generation of folks among us and are commonly adorned by the Royals. Before we cast this accessory to the wind, have we ever really considered why they’re much loved by this demographic?

The origins of brooches supposedly date back to the Bronze Age, functioning as a fastener for loincloths and thus preventing any unfortunate slip-ups! These brooches were comprised of earthy materials such as thorn and flint and were nowhere near as decadent as the brooches we see today. 

It wasn’t until the Byzantine era that we saw more embellished versions of brooches, what we’re most familiar with now. Brooches also carried weight in terms of symbolism; in the 16th century, “mourning brooches” were worn after bereavement to symbolise the loss of a loved one. These types of brooches evolved over the 18th century in different shapes and styles and were widely associated with Queen Victoria and her mourning for Prince Albert for 20 years.

Fast-forward to 2019 and brooches have been making a glittering impact on the runway. Alessandro Michele’s Gucci collections have embraced large, eccentric brooches adding padded whimsy on top of his already characterful designs. Brooches don’t have to be stuffy accessories and can really play a big part in becoming a staple item in a modern, refined wardrobe.

This utilitarian accessory has multiple uses; you can pin together an abstract print silk scarf with a piece featuring a large colourful gemstone or add some character to your plain black beret with Van Cleef & Arpels’ fauna/flora-inspired brooches. Brooches also make a statement; Lady Hale donned an unforgettably large spider brooch as she deemed Boris Johnson’s move to suspend parliament as unlawful.

Placement of the brooch can really dictate what sort of story you want to tell or the sort of energy you want to exude. Placing a silver brooch on a choker brings some hard rock edginess to your outfit, whereas as an ornate brooch on your belt adds some elegance. 

Tiffany & Co have always produced extremely timeless pieces which can quite easily be incorporated into the modern wardrobe. We've fastened our Platinum Diamond Art Deco Vintage brooch onto a soft, cream blouse to emphasise elegance and also serves as keeping the ribbon ties in place. This piece, dating back to the 1920s, features round brilliant cut diamonds and is the perfect feminine accompaniment. 

If you would prefer something a bit more ornate, our elegant Yellow Gold Diamond Vintage Leaf brooch by Cartier will be a good option. This brooch has a beautiful three-leaf design made in 18k Yellow Gold, with glittering old European diamonds to make this piece truly exquisite. We’ve styled an accessory with another accessory by placing the brooch on a black newsboy cap. The newsboy cap itself is definitely a stylish look but with the addition of the brooch, it introduces some femininity and elegance.

To add a bit of flair to your ensemble, we would recommend Garrard’s 18k Yellow Gold Enamel & Diamond Vintage Penguin Brooch. This whimsical piece, featuring a penguin delicately holding a golden fish in its mouth, helps introduce character to your overall look. We suggest pinning it onto the lapel of a simple black blazer, adding a twist of personality onto a somewhat otherwise basic outfit. Garrard are masters at creating some really handsome brooches, all which are handcrafted in the House Studio. We think this is a great one to add to your collection, whether you have an affinity with these flightless birds or just want to embrace something more cute and light-hearted.

On a similar note to Cartier’s three-leaf brooch, our Van Cleef & Arpels Yellow Gold Diamond Vintage Brooches are also a gilded favourite. This set features two intricate gold leaves with round brilliant cut diamonds. These brooches are extremely elegant and bring forth subtle elegance to any given outfit. We would recommend pinning this onto a longline winter coat. This model is a rare item as it has been discontinued from production; we’d recommend grabbing it before it’s gone!

It looks like Buccellati is also tapping into nature with its Yellow, White & Rose Gold Vintage Thistle brooch. This brooch is wildly unique in appearance with its spiralling, ornate thistle design. A unique brooch deserves its own unique placement; we’ve fastened it onto the cuff of a black blazer for a slightly more cuff-like placement. It allows this statement brooch to be seen in full glory in subtle movements like adjusting your hand or taking a drink. Brooches don’t need to be reserved just for women; men can also utilise this versatile accessory by adding this thistle brooch to the lapel of a plaid blazer. 

You can be as creative as possible with brooches and the possibilities are truly endless, whether it’s by mixing and matching styles to the season or playing around with colour, tones and shapes. It is an excellent way of personalising your look and adding some bespoke character.

Whether you choose to pin it casually on that favourite t-shirt or bag or glam up your evening-wear by adorning it on the sash of your dress, we think brooches are here to stay.

Shop our pre-owned designer brooches.