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Types Of Brooches And How To Wear Them

types of brooches

Brooches have made a comeback in recent years. This vintage jewelry item has made a resurgence in that many notable fashion brands like Dior and Gucci are introducing new designs for this well-loved jewelry  item. In fact, they are taking over modern runways and are used as accents for a number of ways such as clipping it onto silk scarves, onto their hair, and lapels. 

There is a recent brooch revival that you can get on if you are into vintage style. If you want to add a timeless piece into your jewelry collection, discover the different types of brooches that are available for you to collect. 

History of Brooches

Brooches are a classic type of jewelry. They have been around for centuries and are one of the oldest forms of accessories for men and women alike. The styles available have greatly evolved over the decades and they are now considered to be high-end pieces that are now seen in runways and red carpet fashion. 

This type of jewelry has seen major transformation over the years bringing new style options to a timeless piece. For this reason, they are a favorite among jewelry collectors because they are highly prized. 

Believe it or not, brooches were not used as ornamental jewels as they are seen today. They were more utilitarian and functional items as they were primarily used to secure items such as pieces of your clothing. The first types of brooches that were released into the market were made of flint and thorns. Meanwhile, the earliest record of brooches shows they were crafted with metal. 

During the time of the Celts and Vikings, the use of brooches became more popular and they were worn by men and women alike. They also showcased an exquisite level of detailing. Over time, mourning brooches also gained popularity and these were available in oval shapes with various depictions (typically to represent sorrow and mourning). This was kept by the loved ones left behind as the brooches were inscribed with the name and other essential information about the deceased. 

It was during the Byzantine period when brooches evolved into ornamental pieces, although their purpose of fastening certain pieces of cloth together remained the same. As their use as ornamental pieces grew, there were newer and more elaborate designs that became available. Over the years, they had various designs and had many symbols.

What Are the Types of Brooches

In the 20th century, brooches evolved but remained popular. They are mostly used as fashion and ornamental pieces. In fact, some of the world’s most renowned fashion houses were producing them such as Van Cleef & Arpels, David Webb, Cartier, and Tiffany & Co. 

There are many styles of brooches available and are considered high-end pieces. In fact, Queen Elizabeth is regularly seen with one. If you would like to add one to your collection, it is important to know the different types of brooches available. This will help you choose the best one to add to your collection. 

Bar Brooch

This type of brooch is a pin-type that is available in various shapes and sizes. It is one of the most widely available types in the market and also commonly used. The bar pin style facilitates easy fastening with the help of its looped fastening design. This can be attached to the lapel of your coat or blazer, or used as a hair pin (if desired).

There are many styles available depending on which era it was made from or inspired by. 

brooch types and designs

Pendant Brooch

This is another highly versatile type of brooch that can be used as it is or as part of a necklace (as a pendant). The opposing side of it usually comes with concealed bales where the chain can be attached to when worn as part of a necklace. On the other hand, the pin is invisible to the naked eye once used as a pendant. This is another popular type of brooch because of its versatility. 

Foliate Brooch

This type of brooch is called as such because it often features floral motifs. Traditionally, they were given to another person as a sign of love or friendship. This is reminiscent of the forget-me-not chants that became popular during the 19th century.  

Over the years, the styles have changed and evolved but the demand for floral brooches have remained quite high. 

Portrait Brooch

This is reminiscent of the 18th century brooches that feature a miniature portrait as its main design. The mini portrait can be painted on the mother of pearl, ivory, or porcelain. The vintage pieces were typically commissioned by a member of the family to honor another loved one or the deceased. 

Enamel Brooch

Enameling is one of the greatest forms of art that showcases the tremendous skill of the craftspeople who make them. This is the go-to choice for those who want embellished brooches without using gemstones. The process of making enamel dates back to the times of Ancient Greece. 

types and function of brooches

How to Wear Different Types of Brooches

Even though brooches are considered formal and vintage in appeal, there are fun ways you can try to wear them. There are no hard and fast rules on how you can wear them. However, the right styling approach can help to elevate your look. Here are a few ideas you can try depending on the types of brooches that you want to use.

  • Attach it to your scarf 
  • Clip it to one side of your dress or blouse
  • Clip it to a hat or beanie
  • Attach it to a bag or clutch
  • Pin it to your sweater
  • Pin it to the lapel of your coat or blazer
  • Use it to bring two ends together (such as for your cardigan)
  • Pin it to your hair
  • Pin it to the waist of your skirt or pants
  • Wear it like lapel pins
  • Wear it like a pendant

If you want to get your hands on vintage brooches, they are widely available online or in your local antique jeweler. There are several types of brooches and they come in various designs – from simple to elaborate – so you can always find one to suit your style preference.