Antique brooches or pins as they are more commonly called in the US. have changed greatly in design over the ages, and this has been mainly dictated by the changes styles and fashions of clothes during the different antique periods. I say mainly, because there have been other factors, such as the discovery of an ancient city, which when excavated, the antique jeweler's have copied the styles of the ancient jewelry that has been found, and that is why in the Victorian era you have periods known as 'Egyptian revival', 'Etruscan revival' or 'Greek Revival'.Another influence on antique brooch styles has been the growth of the industrial revolution and the steam age had made travel to different countries a lot less expensive, so we see many European influences combining in the making of much of the antique jewelry from the mid-latter part of the Victorian period.
For the purpose of this blog we are going to break the antique jewelry brooch styles down into their different periods. Starting with:~1/ Georgian Brooch' 1800's -1830The fashion of the Georgian period had a huge impact on much of the antique jewelry. Clothes tended to be very lacy at the cuffs with long sleeves and high necklines of the dresses. Consequently it was impractical to wear necklaces and pendants, as these very often snagged on the fine lace around the collar. The sleeves of dresses during this antique period very often terminated in spectacular cuffs, which were not conducive to bracelet wear. Lastly the hair styles tended to be very ornate with a lot of curls that cascaded below the ear, making the wearing of antique earrings very difficult, and so consequently one the main pieces of antique jewelry in this period was the brooch. Antique brooches from the Georgian period tended to be large and bold, and sat in the middle of the chest area, just above a ladies cleavage. Very often the gold work was very intricate and was many little gold spirals terminating in a gold ball. This was known as antique Georgian 'canatille' work.
2/ Victorian Jewelry from 1840 - 1900Until recently, Queen Victoria was the longest reigning monarch, over sixty years. During her life time there were many different styles of antique jewelry, that complemented the changing fashion of clothes. This was also a time when versatility was appreciated, and very often you can see antique pieces of jewelry that convert from Pendants to Brooch's or sometimes the center of the Brooch/Pendant can be unscrewed and convert into a ring fitment. We have several convertible pieces of antique jewelry at Beverley R Jewelry, some of which you see pictured. There was also versatility of antique brooches having a basic form which could then have another piece added to convert it from a day piece, to a much more dressier night piece, as can be seen from the picture of the Antique Old cut diamond and natural Pearl Bow brooch, which has a large natural pearl and diamond cluster that can be added to suspend from the bottom of the antique brooch.Brooch's tended to be lighter, and the fashion was now to wear them on the shoulder, or at the top of an out fit just below the neck. In the mid to later part of the Victorian period antique brooch's could be of insects and animals, all gold or gem set.It was also a time when gentlemen could wear brooch's, which were known as stick pins, these were very often worn to keep a neck cravat in place. At Beverley R Jewelry we have a large selection of antique stick pins; which though unfortunately do not wear well with silk ties, can be worn on lapels of jackets.As was said in the opening of this blog travel was becoming a lot easier, and that had a two fold effect. Antique jewelry came from all over Europe, and we can see the popularity and influence of antique Italian cameos, and coral brooches. this latter part of the antique period with its more efficient transport also saw commerce pick up, and different types of fabrics were imported into Europe from the east. Much of the antique clothes were of silk and lighter fabrics, so the antique jewelry became smaller and lighter correspondingly.It was in Queen Victoria's reign that different Egyptian pyramids, Greek cities and Hittite towns were discovered, and the antique jewelers were very quick to copy the Jewelry styles that came out of the excavations. Many of the brooches from this time period had an eastern feel with flowing tassels and fringes. Again here at Beverley R Jewelry we have a large selection of these antique brooches. At this point in the blog we are going to move from the antique Victorian period to Vintage Art Deco period, as much of the Edwardian Jewelry is very difficult to differentiate from the later Victorian period.3/ Art Deco Jewelry 1920-1935The Are Deco period was a very decadent period, in every way, and certainly in the Vintage jewelry being worn. Pieces from this time period were diamonds and gems set in platinum. Very often in geometric shape. An innovation from this vintage time period which followed the versatility from the antique period was the adaptation of having a vintage brooch, split into two, forming a double clip brooch, which ladies could wear on lapels, the inside 'V' of a jumper; but also ladies became very creative, and wore them on the ends of sleeves, or on the top of the long gloves that were so popular in this vintage Art Deco period.4/ Retro Jewelry 1945-1950Vintage Retro jewelry again tended to have a bolder look. They were mainly in gold, and could be of naturalistic scenes or of abstract design, very often set with small diamonds or gemstones. These were set to enhance the design of this vintage jewelry rather than to be a focal point. The brooch seems to be one of the pieces of jewelry that is out of fashion at the moment, but like most things as time goes on, and contemporary jewelers looking to the antique and vintage periods for ideas will come back into style. A brooch is a piece of jewelry that can add glamour, sparkle, bazzazz, enhance and brighten up 'that little black number', that plain outfit or business suit, elevating it and the wearer to a level of sophistication, which would otherwise be lacking. Here at Beverley R Jewelry we have a large selection of Antique, Vintage and Estate Brooch Jewelry for the sophisticated collector and for those who want to set a trend in fashion rather than merely being a follower.