from the Jewelry Box, part 3 of a 3 part series
The conclusion to the Jewelry Box blog series [hyperlink with posted jewelry blogs], we’re featuring brooches! Regina and Flannery shared several pieces of jewelry, among them three brooches. Each were indicative of a particular style.
Brooches have long been an essential element of any jewelry collection. Originating in the northern Europe and the Roman Empire, brooches were conventionally used to fasten cloaks and capes. The earliest designs were based on calf bones but expanded to more artistic designs by the sixth century. Throughout history, brooches have served a variety of purposes, from reminders of a deceased loved one to status symbols laid in ruby and silver. Cameo brooches exploded in popularity in Victorian England, and sweethearts exchanged personalized brooches as mementos in wartime. In America, brooches had a similar doubled function, used to fasten clothes, or simply showcase one’s wealth.
As mentioned in a previous blog, Flannery had a love for all things bird-related. Accessories were no different. This brooch shows an assortment of miniature multicolored birds, the design reflective of increasing interest in decorative items in postwar America. It is likely made of lucite, a common wartime plastic compound, making it easy to manufacture and distribute at a low cost once the war was over. Reminiscent of “Grand Tour” brooches, which were popular status symbols in late 19th century Europe, this brooch blends classical designs with new tastes.
This brooch shows a more refined and classic taste. The clustering of gems is reminiscent of French aigrette brooches, notable for their delicate, decorative nature. Often displayed on dresses or coats, this type of brooch serves more as a statement piece than a functional accessory. It was likely paired with simple rhinestone earrings, in the 1950s costume jewelry trend.
A more subdued approach to costume jewelry, this brooch was likely worn in the hair, due to its arcing shape. Its low-contrast design evokes the subtler fashions of the 1930s, while its shape draws from hair clasp designs of the late 1800s.
 Beth Bernstein, “A History of Brooches: the Evolution of Style,” October 9, 2016, http://www.thejewelleryeditor.com/jewellery/vintage/know-how/history-of-brooches-evolution-of-style/.
 Susan J Torntore, “Brooches and Pins,” LoveToKnow (LoveToKnow Corp, 2016), https://fashion-history.lovetoknow.com/fashion-accessories/brooches-pins.
 Illustration Journal, “The History of Pins and Brooches,” Illustration journal, March 2, 2018, https://carladebeerillustration.wordpress.com/2018/03/02/the-history-of-pins-and-brooches/.
 Bernstein, “A History of Brooches: the Evolution of Style.”