The brooch is considered by many historians as one of the oldest forms of jewelry. The first documentation of a brooch in history comes during the Bronze Age. The brooch was simply crafted, made from modest materials like flint, thorns, and common metals like copper and tin. Its purpose was extremely functional and utilitarian, used to fasten and secure clothing.
When did brooches start becoming more ornamental, crafted solely for wardrobe adornment and considered jewelry?
During the Byzantine Era (330-1453 CE), craftsman started to develop more intricate decorative techniques, allowing for brooches to be adorned with semi-precious gemstones and pearls. Clergymen and societies elite were consumed with a desire for opulence, and their brooches, while still acting as a functional item to fasten clothing, now displayed a level of elaborate artisanship making them a status symbol.
During the Victorian Era (1837-1901), massive social and economic changes in Great Britain, had a notable influence on jewelry styles and crafting techniques. During this time jewelry designers started to incorporate animals into the designs. Focus was on snakes, insects and wild animals. Along with combining animals into the design, precious gemstones like garnets, sapphires, and diamonds were incorporated elevating their value and status.
Queen Elizabeth II has a strong affinity for brooches. As a young queen, in the 19th Century, she was viewed as a fashion influencer. She had a brooch for every occasion and outfit. Her love of brooches fed into a fashion insurgence with her young admirers. Today the brooch is seen as her signature piece of jewelry. It is said she has thousands of brooches in her royal collection. There are many blogs that focus on her majesties love for brooches. One even documents every brooch she wears on public appearances for that year.
There is no doubt that the brooch is making a well deserved come back as a rediscovered jewelry item. Michelle Obama also had a love for the brooch, and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton has been seen recently wearing brooches, during her public appearances. For the fall of 2018 the brooch has captured the attention of high-end jewelry designers watch for the reintroduction of brooches this fall.