Antique & Vintage Brooches

Brooches to adorn an outfit from viking to retro designs


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Explore Vintage & Antique Brooches

Today we think of brooches as a purely decorative item but brooches in their earliest form had a far more important role. In a time before buttons, ancient and early brooches were used to hold clothing together.

The earliest forms of antique brooches appeared during the Neolithic period and Bronze Age with straight pins used to secure clothing. The design evolved as time progressed to the Roman fibula (Latin for brooch). These brooches have a curved top allowing the sprung pin to hook into itself and form a secure closure.

During the Viking period, brooches were used not only as a functional device but also to show the status and wealth of an individual. The practical uses of brooches ceased during the Middle Ages when early brooches transitioned into ornaments used purely for adornment and decoration, ushering in a new phase for this jewellery item.

Vintage brooches, including stunning examples of art deco brooches, can be found in an array of designs featuring precious metals, gemstones of every kind, fine enamelling, engraving and carving. Due to their versatile nature, vintage and antique brooches, including vintage art deco brooches, can and have been worn on hats, scarves, overcoats, ball gowns, sashes, belts and even as pendants.

In the realm of vintage and antique adornments, the Victorian brooch, with its intricate designs and historical allure, seamlessly bridges the gap between past functionality and present-day elegance.

Queen Elizabeth II was rarely seen without one of her elegant brooches. Since her coronation in 1952 she has delighted us with creations from the finest jewellery houses such as Garrard and Cartier to name a few. Vintage brooches became especially popular in the 1950’s for this reason!

Vintage brooches offer a glimpse into history, from their utilitarian origins to their ornate designs today. Whether adorned with precious metals or intricate gemstones, these accessories, like the elegant brooch clip, have stood the test of time, evolving from practical fasteners to symbols of status and style.


There are many different ways in which you can inspect whether a brooch is vintage or antique. You can look at the clasp of the brooch as these changed throughout the eras. Other ways include looking at the hallmark or maker's mark so that you can identify the age, and the cuts of gemstones and diamonds.

When cleaning antique or vintage brooches, you can either use a soft cloth or simply use warm soapy water and brush with a soft toothbrush, depending on what the brooch is made from.

These can be worn and given a new lease of life. For most old brooches and pins it is best to appreciate them and hand them down to your family as they will appreciate in value over time.

Vintage brooches and antique brooches can vary in value due to the different materials used, the gems incorporated and also whether it is a signed piece. They can range from £100 up to £100,000 and upwards.

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Updated 15/04/2024 at 2:26PM

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