V I N T A G E B R O O C H E S : A T I M E L E S S A C C E S S O R Y
If your jewellery box doesn’t include brooches, now is the time to consider adding them to your variety of vintage jewels. You may think of your grandmother's generation when you think brooches, but the catwalks have recently brought them back into the spotlight. I tend to think that timeless design, be it a brooch or any other piece of vintage costume jewellery, never dates or goes out of fashion but right now brooches are a hot item.
There are a variety of ways to wear this beautiful accessory and a staggering assortment online to choose from. A huge part of my own collection, some brooches have bails incorporated into the design so they can be transformed into necklaces simply by adding a chain. Others, particularly the vintage sash designs popular from the Victorian era, can be worn at the waist. Or smaller collar pins can make a more elegant statement, with larger brooches pinned to a scarf, for a drape effect or any way you may want.
There really is not a ‘right’ way to wear brooches, larger, heavier designs are a good choice for winter coats or jackets and smaller brooches are a good choice for lighter weight fabric for vintage summer dresses or cardigans. I use some to decorate a vintage purse, especially if I’m wearing lots of bling already.
If you want an authentic vintage brooch for your collection or to add to your vintage wardrobe there are a few things to consider before purchasing. There are no ‘hard and fast rules’ but vintage will mean prong set stones – not glued in settings. Rhinestone or crystal – not plastic. Smooth backs, some vintage has textured backs but mostly smooth. Soldered pin – not a glued on catch. Generally heavier and better quality finish. Some age appropriate wear. Brand new will look ‘new’, expect some age related signs, commensurate with age and in keeping with the era of the brooch.
Do you look for designer signed or unsigned ? . . . . many designers did not sign all of their jewellery. Often only the earrings would be signed in a set. As copyright was not used until 1955, many well made beautiful designs were not marked. Pieces would be sold with hang tags, to be discarded, along with the designer's name. Collectors are well aware of this, signed pieces will often demand higher prices. You should not be swayed to only buy designer signed, in doing so you will be missing out on a huge amount of gorgeous unsigned beauties.
Another good way to get inspiration and an idea of the array available is to view my brooches for sale.
Article and Images © Vintage Jewellery NZ