A brooch is an ornamental piece of jewelry that can be affixed to clothing, cloaks or hats by means of a pin with or without a clasp. Brooches were first worn in a functional capacity to fasten or secure articles of clothing. They evolved from these simple pins to elaborate fibulae and eventually to items of pure decoration. During the Middle Ages, brooches transitioned from serving this practical function to their current purely decorative one. Brooches have been constructed out of every conceivable jewelry material from precious metals to plastic. Every motif, theme, fad, and fashion has been construed as appropriate for brooch design. All manner of jewelry techniques have been applied from enamel, gem-setting, animation, engraving, etc. allowing brooches to become badges that make a fashion statement (and sometimes a political statement.)
The fashion for brooches has continued to thrive with examples in every decorative period through today.
Front View of an Edwardian Bow Brooch.
Reverse View of an Edwardian Bow Brooch.