Have you ever wanted to learn antique and vintage brooches? They are without doubt available in a much wider range of shapes, patterns and colours that other jewellery piece. It can be a statement, add a splash of colour, be a small point of interest or a bold statement. Have you noticed that the high-fashion magazines such as Vogue are featuring brooches again? I think it won’t be long now before vintage and antique brooches are the must wear jewellery piece.
A brooch makes an easy gift as you do not have to worry about the size too much. This buyers guide helps you to sort through the wide choices available and choose the perfect one for you.
What are the important things to look for? To my mind when choosing one we should look at its age, size, shape, colour, material and quality.
Learn antique and vintage brooches:
With a little effort, you can buy antique brooches from the early 1800s Georgian era and certainly from the Victorian era are relatively plentiful. These antiques are wonderful for collectors and those with an interest in the past but perhaps they are not quite as wearable as those from the 20th century. Georgian and Victorian brooches fasten with a C-shaped catch which is not as safe as newer styles of catch. An added safety chain would make it less prone to being lost.
Georgian pins are usually quite small, you can wear them on very light fabrics including cotton and lace. Victorian ones are much bigger and bolder and best used to heavier fabrics such as tweed, velvet or cord. The sentimental silver brooch from the Victorian era is lighter, these include Mizpah and name brooches as well as brooches decorated with hearts and flowers.
Edwardian examples and up to circa 1920s are generally lighter in weight and form than a Victorian one. You can find very stylish art nouveau pieces from this time which are now quite collectable. The Edwardians were keen on symbolism in their jewellery. For example look at the romanticism in these crescent moon brooches.
Original Art Deco brooches and through the 1930s, 1950s and 60s to 1980s are wonderful. Look out for costume jewellery from this time, they are most creative in their design and colour and materials.
The size is important depending on where you want to wear it. A large brooch needs a heavier material than a small pins type. Some ladies like to place a large one to distract the eye from the neck or bust line or to pin together two halves of a gaping blouse. A small pin may not be noticed immediately and so is best when a more subtle effect is required. Do not rely on a small one to keep two pieces of material pinned together, it will probably not be strong enough.
The shape of the brooch is very much a personal choice. You can find abstract and figural brooches, those in strong art nouveau, art deco or modernist styles. One option often suggested by antique experts is to buy pieces which are typical of their era, for example, a strong art deco shape for a brooch from the 1920s or something space age from the 1950s.
An most important subject when you learn antique. In general terms, the material which a vintage and antique brooch is made dictates its quality and its price. Gold is going to be more expensive than a silver which in turn will cost more than a piece of costume jewellery. Of course, there are exceptions to this where a desirable piece of named designer costume can be more expensive than a cheaper light weight gold brooch from the 1970s.
The material that your brooch is made of can also affect its durability. Silver and Gold are both strong and long lasting but do take care with some costume jewellery which may not stand up so well to getting wet ( in the rain?) or being dropped ( glass and hard plastics)
As with most things, a good quality vintage and antique brooch will generally cost more than a lower quality piece. What do we mean by the quality here? I think that it’s more than a designer name, some designer jewels are quite expensive but not good quality. Quality is to do with how well the piece is designed, put together. A vintage diamond brooch with a large poor quality diamond is possibly not as desirable as one with lots of good quality diamonds well designed and well set. With a costume jewellery one which has prong set stones is generally better quality than a brooch where the stones are glued in. Hand made pieces of jewellery are normally better quality than mass produced factory made pieces.
I hope that this has helped a little on your journey to learn antique.