Whether pinned to the centre of a dress or adorning a hat, a brooch adds elegance and intrigue to your outfit. Our stunning collection includes Georgian cross pieces, Victorian depictions of flora and fauna and exemplars of the geometric Art Deco style.
Mourning brooches were popular during Queen Victoria’s two decades of mourning and feature a variety of sentimental motifs. Whitby jet, vulcanite and black fabricated stones were used for these somber pieces.
Brooches are a great way to add a little glamour to a hat, scarf, or even hair. You can use them to draw attention to a low neckline, or you can pin them into a chignon or fishtail plait. They can also be used to add a focal point to an evening dress.
Enamelling, or engraving, on antique brooches uk is a beautiful feature. It allows craftspeople to create stunning coloured designs without using many gemstones. This Victorian sterling silver hand engraved brooch is one example of such a design. The piece has been independently tested and verified as silver.
In the Victorian era, locket brooches, flowers, cameos and animals were popular brooch designs. Mourning brooches were also on fashion at the time. These were somber and heavier featuring materials such as black onyx & jet. Art Nouveau jewellery was a reaction to this heavy sombre style and featured free flowing sinuous lines and natural forms including flowers, fauna and the female form.
The en tremblant technique, first created in the 18th century, is a way to give movement and depth to jewelry. It involves mounting parts of a jewellery creation – usually brooches – on wire-coiled springs that cause the jewel to tremble and come to life with each movement you make. It was particularly popular for floral motifs, such as quivering flowerheads, and for wings – like those on dragonflies and butterflies.
This Victorian mourning brooch with pearls is an excellent example of en tremblant and comes in impressive condition. It has been independently tested and verified as 12 carat gold.
Brooches are valuable when they are made from precious metals and stones and also when they depict Old World motifs and styles. Some of the most interesting examples are from the Grand Tour period when people went on holidays and bought brooches as souvenirs of their European destinations. These typically depicted pictorial scenes and motifs from famous cities such as Rome, Florence and Venice.
A double clip brooch has two matched dress clips held together or linked by a frame, so they can be worn as one large brooch or separately. This versatile style can add a touch of Old World glamour to scarves, overcoats and hats. It also makes a wonderful gift.
Brooches evolved from utilitarian pieces to jewellery showcasing precious metals, gems of all colours and fine enamelling or engraving. They could be elaborately geometric like Art Deco pins or more feminine, as in the floral bouquet and spray brooches that characterised 1950’s jewellery fashions.
During the Victorian era locket brooches, flowers and cameos were popular, while mourning brooches were somber with black onyx and jet. In the seventeenth and 18th centuries, aigrette brooches were shaped like feathers and set with garnets. This 9K gold antique Victorian engraved bar brooch is a fine example of this style. It measures 1 11/16 inches and secures with a straight hinged pin on the back.
The cameo is a low-relief carving of a portrait, often of a female figure. It is used in jewellery and also in carved stones such as marble, mother of pearl or shell. The word cameo is also used in the film industry, to describe an appearance by a celebrity which is brief but significant.
Antique cameo brooches are often a reminder of a trip to Europe for the upper classes during the late 19th century when they were a popular souvenir of the Grand Tour. They depicted pictorial scenes, ancient Roman architecture and flora or animals.
This beautiful Victorian Whitby Jet Cameo brooch is a lovely example of this style. The original pin has been replaced with a contemporary brooch pin and there is a safety chain to keep the piece secure. It is presented in a vintage box. The cameo is in excellent condition and the brooch measures a generous 40mm in diameter. A wonderful addition to your vintage collection.