What is my brooches age? Are you wondering how old Grannies vintage brooches really are? She may have cherished them for lifetime perhaps passed down  from her Grandmother mother . Or maybe she bought them new  in the last few years but How can you tell? Here are a few clues which may help you decide.

1. Hallmarks.

If you are lucky your brooches are made of gold or silver and have hallmarks on them . Hallmarks can be used to determine the date the piece of jewellery was made. It is often the most accurate guide and, if they are present,  I would use this before referring to  the guidelines below.

Has the brooch hallmarks you cant identify ? I will write a guide soon in the mean time I will your hallmarks for you if you are not able to do this yourself.  Please photograph them closely and add a picture to AntiquesAvenue’s Facebook page. I am happy to help but the photo quality will need to be good.


2. Take a look at the catch

Turn the brooch over and let’s take a look at the catch. This is important because how catches are made has changed over the years. There are several sorts which have evolved and the type of catch will tell you the earliest it can date from. IMPORTANT – It will not tell you the latest date as one type is used for many years . Here are  the more common ones you will see.

simple C catch

Simple C – the Victorian era through to circa 1920s. Here the pin hooks under the C shape.







roll over catchThe roll over catch, this has a leaver which keeps the catch in place . This appears later on and is still in use today. Many brooches from the 1920s onwards have this type of catch.








I made a video about brooch catches which includes some of the more unusual ones.

3. Take a look at the hinge

Look at the hinge, this can help confirm what you are seeing from the catch. There are three main types

lonLong Tube –  Georgian and Victorian eras through to about 1900s. Also see the picture of the Ivy leaf brooch above.







ShotShort tube circa 1900 to 1920. As you can see the hinge is much narrower here





Modern hinge- 1920s onwards is even narrower as can be seen in the picture of the roll over catch above.

Another video I made about dating a brooch from the hinge.


What is my brooches age?

Victorian BroochAnother tip, does the point of the pin stem extend beyond the frame of the brooch like in this Victorian Cherub Brooch? If so its an older piece Georgian, Victorian or maybe the very early 1900s. The pin stem  dug back into the clothing to hold it in place. Of course on some older brooches this has been shortened over the years to make them comfortable to wear .

Is there a safety chain? These came into being  circa 1900. They have often been added more recently to an older brooch so this is just a clue rather than something to be taken as a hard rule.

I hope this helps to answer your question what is my brooches age. If not we can then look at the materials it is made of which I will come back to that another day . Have you a brooch with a catch or hinge type not shown here? Send my photos and I will take a look also Please take a look at my online shop to see some genuine older brooches.  You might just find one you fall in love with.