I never leave the house without a beautiful brooch adoring either my dress or my coat. Over the years, I have become quite a fan of the classic brooch. I've inherited many of these pins from my late relatives and in-laws and I've purchase a good deal of them on my own. Even when I wasn't living the Vintage life, I wore a variety of brooches on my business suits almost daily. I have them in every color, shape, and for every holiday. The brooch is a staple in my wardrobe I can't and won't do without! Call me old-fashioned, but the humble brooch always makes a grand statement when worn the right way!
Last summer, Paris Couture Week showed brooches as an emerging trend and Los Angeles red carpet royalty have also been spotted sporting brooches as throwback to old Hollywood. Even the iconic fashion houses of Chanel, Dior, and Boucheron are embracing the glamour of this lost piece of fashion. I am certainly not a trendsetter, but it seems that I my lovely brooches have fallen back into fashion. Yes, my friends, brooches are enjoying a fashion revival!
Seeing a lady dressed to the nines with a stunning brooch accent pinned to her collar is a sign of dignity and refinement. But truth be told, brooches did not start out as a fashion statement. Indeed, brooches had a less than desirable birth that occurred during the Viking era. Brooches were actually crude trinkets made of flint and thorns that were used to secure cloaks. Metal brooches didn't arrive on the scene until the Bronze Age (3000 BC).
The Byzantine era spawned a more ornamental brooch and the early Medieval period produced a brooch that was a long pin with a ring attached to it. The 18th and 19th Centuries featured the Mourning Brooch that held a deceased loved ones hair remnants inside a special compartment. The pin was always surrounded by a ring of pearls representing tears for the dearly departed. This particular brooch as made popular by Queen Victoria of England who wore a Mourning Brooch for a two-year period to mourn the loss of her husband, Prince Albert.
The 19th & 20th Centuries welcomed the Aigrette Brooch, which was a feather-shaped pin set with flat-cut garnets or diamonds in silver or silver-topped gold. During this same time period, the French embraced the En tremblant (to tremble) Brooch featuring a floral spray set with brilliant diamonds in various shapes and sizes. The trembling effect was most striking when the mine-cut diamonds moved in candlelight. European travelers, who enjoyed considerable wealth, could be found wearing Grand Tour Brooches in the 19th Century while on vacation.
One of the most popular brooches throughout the world is the classic Cameo brooch. Queen Victoria was a lover of this particular brooch and reportedly gifted people a Cameo brooch with either her likeness on it or that of Prince Albert.
When WWI came along during the late Victorian era, servicemen gave their girls back home Sweetheart Brooches to serve as a reminder of them when they were off fighting overseas. These brooches were made of silver and gold overlays in shapes such as double hearts and lovebirds.
Dress clips were a form of brooch that became very popular in the 1920's and 30's. It was not uncommon to see a brooch pinned to the strap of an evening gown, a dress neckline, or a handbag. Till this day, Queen Elizabeth II is always seen wearing one of her many brooches. After all, a classic never goes out of style!
So the next time you walk out the door, stop a moment and take a look at the coat or jacket in the mirror and think, "Wouldn't a nice brooch look good pinned to my lapel?" Be daring! Get blingy! Make a statement. It may have come from humble beginnings, but the world, the Paris runways, the Queen of England, and Hollywood starlets still embrace the simple brooch as a fashion necessity.