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Home > A little history about brooch

A little history on the brooch: a jewel with a rich background

The brooch in Antiquity and the Middle Age

The brooch is probably one of the oldest pieces of jewelry.
Its ancestor is the fibula, of which traces can be found as early as the Bronze Age. Its initial role was purely utilitarian as it was used to fasten clothing. It was during the Greco-Roman period that the fibula, initially reserved for men to hold their gowns, became more and more ornamental on its visible part, and gradually approached the brooch as we know it today.

Becoming a symbol of opulence and a distinctive ornament of the social functions of its owner, the brooch is adorned with various stones and is worn indifferently by men and women who use it to discipline their hairstyle.

With the invention and democratization of the button, the brooch lost its usefulness and retained only its ornamental character.

It becomes more than ever a jewel with a high symbolic value, with the predominance of the religious symbol, but also of the love symbol. In the Middle Ages, it was common to offer a brooch in the shape of a heart or engraved with a romantic inscription as an engagement jewel.

The brooch in Modern Times

The 17th century was a pivotal time, thanks in particular to the discovery of new gemstone mines. The jewelers make the brooch their favorite creation field and elaborate more and more voluminous and sought-after jewels. The gems are chosen according to their meaning, and the brooch retains its title of symbolic jewel, especially for men for whom it has a military significance.

Women adorned their bodices with ever more spectacular creations, and even "assemblable" and "dismountable" objects were created to cover the entire front of a garment. The object is then multi-purpose: we see the appearance of brooches that can be transformed into pendants by a subtle set of screws on the pin.

The techniques evolve and we compose brooches called "trembling" which move according to the movements of their owners. The gems then reflect the light and shine with a thousand lights.

The brooch in contemporary times


The brooch thus crosses the periods and the various artistic currents, in particular the Belle Epoque and the Art Nouveau where it becomes either smaller, sober and discrete : round brooch of collar, representing Nature, the Woman, decorated mainly with diamonds and/or pearls, or then very sculptural and coloured under the influence in particular of Froment- Meurice or Lalique.




Under the influence of Art Deco in the 1930s, the antique brooch becomes geometric and graphic. We see the emergence of brooches called "plate", whose metal is worked in ajours, engravings, and decorated with precious stones, such as diamond, sapphire ... We choose the gems for their colors and especially their contrasts.

The great names of jewelry such as Cartier, Boucheron, Van Cleef ... created their collections of precious brooches and are forces of innovation. It was in the mid-1930s that Louis Cartier introduced the clip system for brooches, allowing them to be worn on thinner fabrics. It was also during this period that Van Cleef developed the double prong brooch.


The years 1940-1960 are very focused on "mini-sculptures" brooches representing animals : it is the full bestiary period. Domestic or wild animals are represented in two styles : either a predominance of gold, often textured, and gems used for key elements such as the eyes, or a staking on the entire animal, with a use of enamel and gems according to their colors.

The brooch today

A special jewel, because it highlights the garment rather than the skin tone, the brooch is back in fashion.

Whether you choose an antique brooch or a vintage brooch, the diversity of shapes, volumes and colors makes it a chic accessory that gives an outfit its charm and personality.

Whether you choose to use it to close a dress or a neckline, or whether you choose it only for its decorative aspect by adorning a jacket lapel, a stole, a voluminous turtleneck, the brooch allows you to let your imagination run free.

Today, it can be worn discreetly or totally fancifully, alone or in combination with other pieces...

The brooch is more than ever an essential accessory and perfectly trendy, by its symbolic side, elegant and / or outside the codes.

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