Pinning Down the History of Brooches

History of the brooch


front view Georgian diamond brooch English berganza hatton garden
Georgian diamond brooch, English, circa 1740.
Ref: 25435

Thursday 24th October 2019

Brooches have evolved considerably from their beginnings in the ancient world. Brooches were used in a functional capacity to fasten or secure articles of clothing. The earliest of brooches consisted of thorns, flint, and sticks. During the Bronze Age the pins were then handcrafted out of metal. The purely practical uses of brooches stopped during the middle ages and brooches transitioned into becoming ornaments used purely for adornment and decoration.

In Georgian times brooches were often foil backed and had closed back settings. This was to enhance or change the colour and lustre of the gemstone. The Victorians favoured the mourning brooch which frequently had black enamel and was engraved with the date of the deceased and encapsulated a lock of their hair. The brooch occasionally had a removable glass panel to store the hair.

Aigrette brooches were the height of fashion from the 17th to the 20th century. They were feather-shaped and set with flat-cut diamonds or garnets in silver settings. They could be worn in the hair and were very detailed, often with tiny birds flying around the plume.

En tremblant in French means to tremble. This style of brooch often resembled a floral form or flower spray. The centre of the flower was attached to a mechanism that allowed it to quiver when worn. En tremblant brooches were normally set with rose-cut or old-mine cut diamonds, and became fashionable in the 18th and 19th century, before electricity was invented. The trembling effect was most captivating when the diamonds were caught in candlelight.

Brooches can be found in an array of designs featuring an array of precious metals, colourful gemstones, fine enameling, engraving and carving. Due to their versatile nature brooches can and have been worn on hats, scarves, overcoats, ball gowns, sashes, belts and even as pendants.

Here at Berganza we have brooches from all eras. Roman through to vintage, we have a vast collection of unique and one of a kind pieces. If you would like to own your very own ancient, antique or vintage brooch come and visit it us in store or view our entire collection online.

Victorian gold mourning brooch berganza hatton garden
Victorian gold mourning brooch, circa 1840.
Ref: 25384
Victorian diamond riviere necklace berganza hatton garden
Victorian diamond riviere necklace, circa 1850.
Ref: 26581
view antique amethsyt brooch Carlo Giuliano berganza hatton garden
Rare amethyst, emerald and pearl brooch by Carlo Giuliano, English, circa 1890.
Ref: 25355
Antique brooch set citrines amethysts berganza hatton garden
Victorian amethyst and citrine brooch, Scottish, circa 1860.
Ref: 25415
Vintage ruby diamond brooch berganza hatton garden
Vintage ruby and diamond brooch, circa 1950.
Ref: 25427
Georgian miniature and diamond brooch berganza hatton garden
Georgian miniature and diamond brooch, French, circa 1800.
Ref: 25348
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Updated 17/09/2020 at 5:18PM

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