A male friend once said to me that the word 'brooch' was one of the wonderful words starting with 'B' that he associated with the fairer sex. I'm pretty sure at the time, I just raised my left eyebrow at him and gave him a scathing look (as I have been known to do, ahem). But when he elaborated, I could see his point and years later, his comment has stayed with me. Like blondes, breasts and Brigitte Bardot, the brooch is undoubtedly feminine, womanly and glamorous.
I've been collecting and wearing brooches for longer than I can remember. I inherited my great Aunt Betty's collection of costume jewellery to play dress-ups with at the age of about 7. Later, I also inherited pieces from both my grandmothers' collections and ever since, my stash of sparkly pieces has slowly grown. Charity shops, eBay, car boots and antique fairs, are all ripe picking grounds for pretty new additions. I'm fairly selective these days, only truly sparkling pieces or unusual shapes tend to catch my eye.
I don't have any pieces that are really worth anything very much. No diamonds and pearls. Nothing that would make the chaps at the Antique's Roadshow get excited and in a fluster. But I love my little brooches all the same. I like to wear several at a time, usually a couple of bigger ones paired with a teeny one or two. I used to worry about making permanent holes in soft fabrics with the pins but then I found this handy make-up sponge tip!
Pictured is only a small portion of my collection. I'm currently in two minds about how to display them. I used to hang them on these homemade Liberty fabric hoops but found they were a pain to take down when I wanted to wear them. I'm thinking a box frame like these might be the solution. At the moment they are pinned to a black velvet square in a box in my drawer.
Unlike my silk bed jackets and vintage nightwear, I do wear my brooches. Some have sadly lost a stone or two along the way but I know I'll get them repaired. I think they look best on black velvet, a heavy wool winter coat (or cape!), or dressing up a denim shirt. Do you wear brooches? Or are they too granny chic for you?
P.S. Read the first and second posts in the The Modern Collector series.