Do you like brooches? They seem to be the jewellery item most prone to coming in and going out of fashion, but I must admit I like a good brooch. It always seems such an ideal format for displaying gems because little consideration needs to be paid to shape or proportion. Unlike ear-rings, bracelets and necklaces, a brooch can be as big or as small as you please. Also, wearing jewellery can seem a burden in our present situation. Ear-rings can be a nuisance when you’re taking your mask on and off, necklaces get in the way if you are inclined to hang your mask around your neck (I’m not, as it happens) and it’s much easier to wash ringless fingers. A brooch, though, just sits nicely on your clothing and doesn’t get in the way at all.
I have four brooches at the moment.
This maple leaf is the only decent piece in my brooch collection, by which I mean it’s ‘real’ silver as opposed to base metal. It was a gift many years ago from one of my sisters and I love it. Understated and elegant, it’s one of those items that turn out to be exactly right whenever I am struggling to decide quite what I need.
This brooch, which I’ve owned for a few years now, was a charity shop find. It has a nice vintage vibe and is the largest of my brooches. Although it’s quite heavy, it is surprisingly versatile and I really should wear it more often than I do.
Ah, the cheap and cheerful Avon brooch! Somehow for me this bridges the gap between the vintage styles I like and the tawdry trinkets that come out as we head towards Christmas. It doesn’t light up or scream “I’m off to a party!”, but it adds a little festive cheer to an outfit. Speaking of tawdry jewels, my mum had an enamelled brooch that was in the shape of a Mexican man playing a guitar.
This one is my most recent find, a vintage item from an Etsy seller. Where my other brooches are quite restrained, this one does all the talking. The green and red stones make this quite appropriate for the Christmas season, but really I’d probably wear it all year long, depending on the outfit it’s going with of course. This is the kind of ‘gem’ combination I was thinking of when I wrote a short story earlier this year about an old lady and her brooch that has mystical powers.
“I love your brooch,” I began and she said it was old. “Was it a gift?” I asked.
“You think, perhaps, it was a present from my perfect man? It does look like a love-token, but it isn’t. Funnily enough, I was given it by an old lady in a café, a long time ago. I was about the same age that you are now. She was a total stranger and as we sat, sharing a table, she told me the story of her life, a life so full of romance and adventure that it made me ashamed of how little I was accomplishing.”Pamela Boxall
And here the little collection is, all together. I’ve photographed them on a scarf that belonged to my dad and that is appropriate, in a way, because my dad was very fond of tie-pins which are, of course, the male equivalent of a brooch. Now, that has given me a splendid idea for a little piece to put in my novel…
What’s your favourite type of jewellery and do you tend to wear it, or just like it in a more cerebral way?