Brooches, Deco-rative keepsakes

Some brooches, at Deja Pseu's (of Une femme d'un certain age) invitation– and I look forward to seeing yours!   

With the exception of the first, all are Art DecoI've spent a longtime in Deco thrall; when I was single, my house looked like a set for "Mommy Dearest".  

One Saturday in the early '80s, I found this Edwardian turquoise and silver brooch in a Toronto vintage shop called Divine Decadence, a contrast among sumptuous satin and velvet evening wear. Not sure if American or Mexican; I liked its roughness and black matrix.

Ca. 1930 coral bakelite hand with roses, found in a Toronto antique shop now closed. Some women collect hand brooches. I often pin them to scarves, because I wear so few jackets anymore.

A diamond and demantoid garnet lizard crawls up a sleeve; the garnet variety is one of Le Duc's favourite stones; this was a gift from him. A lighter brooch is comfortable year-round; heavier pieces need a substantial fabric to hold them, something to think about when choosing.

Use a bulldog (the same thingy that secures a stickpin) for extra security– clasps can work lose. A view from the back with the bulldog attached. (IRL I'd slide it on while pinning.)

Georg Jensen silver leaf-motif piece, bought 20 years ago from a formal, slightly eccentric Viennese woman who kept a miniscule shop for a short time. Such merchants seem to dwindle by the year; they are nearly always older persons when you find them. She also sold mother-of-pearl buttons so heavy you could use them as doorstops.

Worn with dove grey freshwater pearls with a vintage clasp; from Kojima Company.

More a pin than brooch; emeralds and diamonds set in platinum, a Mother's Day gift at least 20 years ago. Le Duc bought it at an auction. 

Any green stone is good for redheads. Above, a look at the lively little emeralds up close.

This humble wood pin is simple but sentimental; it's carved with my mother's initials; I think her brother made it. She pinned it to the lapel of a jacket she wore to shoot skeet. I also had the jacket, made with remarkable workmanship–a leather front and knit wool sleeves–until lost moving years ago. Worn with the green turquoise Rescue Necklace from my ill-fated foray into DIY.

These brooches are at least 50 years old. I've worn them decades and hope to pass them on when I'm unable to work the teeny clasps. (I noticed while  shooting this that they get fiddlier by the year!)

I've owned fun and funky costume, but in the last move nearly all found new homes. I'd buy a synthetic again, Bittar or some talented local artist working in resin, but fake metals lack soul and plastic (bakelite excepted) doesn't excite me.

And since we often wear them near our hearts, shouldn't a brooch should make ours beat faster? 


fmcgmccllc said…
Thanks for the hint on the bulldog, I lost a wonderful brooch when it came unpinned. I collect gutta percha pins and of the clasps are so old and fragile to hold securely.
Susan B said…
Oh Duchesse, these are fabulous, thank you!! I see what you mean about the "lively" emeralds. Each piece you've shown is so unique and remarkable. I'm starting to be drawn to bakelite pieces too. Where can one find loose "bulldogs?"
Duchesse said…
Pseu; I found some here:
They are called "barrel-style clutches" on that site. My jeweler called it a 'bulldog' and gave it to me.

fmcg: Oh, sorry to hear that. It's so easy to lose them, somehow you'd think we'd hear them fall, but we don't. The clutch on a pin is a good peace of mind accessory.
LPC said…
Love the coral bakelite piece. I am not at all surprised to see you have a full store of brooches - seem to fit your style very well.
KSL said…
You have a beautiful collection and wear them well.
Britta said…
I like your brooches and how you wear them - gives me an idea where to try mine (I always thought them too heavy, e.g. a lovely sky blue Wedgwood brooch) - but now comes the time of scarves, so I will try again.
That first one reminded me of those arts and crafts Ruskin pins...
I must confess to liking the emeral and diamond one the best and my compliments to you on your elegant pearls.
Swooning from here :-)
Northmoon said…
Love the Georg Jensen silver leaf.

Good tip about the bulldog, I'll use one on a couple of my less secure brooches.
Anonymous said…
Happy to see your brooches, Duchesse! It's a good thing we're on separate continents or I'd be tempted to arm-wrestle you for that first one. (You'll see why in a day or so!)

And thanks for the bulldog tip. As soon as I figure out how to say it in Spanish, I'll be adding one to my jewelry box.
Anonymous said…
Off topic - Eric Bompard has 20% off select items.
Susan said…
I like ALL of your brooches!
Duchesse said…
Brigitta: The heavy ones are harder to wear and suit sturider garments like jackets. Very heavy brooches can put holes in silk scarves (I've done that).

Everyone: Thanks for your encouragement, I am rather shy about showing my possessions.

Anonymous: That current promotion (till Dec. 2) on 20 items is good for holiday shopping or if you want something among those items now, but the sale early in the new year is usually 30%, and can be even more. (But sometimes what I want is s/o).

Mardel said…
Love your collection of brooches, and of you wearing them. I love the way each piece is interesting in and of itself, but the way you wear it also adds to the whole.

Also glad to hear about the bulldogs. I lost a brooch I loved when it fell off and stopped wearing them for years, now I am gravitating toward them again.
Anonymous said…
Back to add that if you want to wear a heavy-ish brooch (nothing too honking) with a knit, you can cut out piece of sew-in interfacing about the same size as the brooch, hold it to the inside of the garment, and pin through it. It adds a little bit of temporary stability.
materfamilias said…
What a great collection -- and you've done so much work for us, putting them each against a different, suitable background.
I lost a beloved new brooch at a conference two years ago, only weeks after having bought it in London. I wonder if that bulldog would have saved it for me. . .
Anonymous said…
A beautifully balanced collection--it would be hard to pick a favorite.

Duchesse said…
rubi: Genius! Thanks for the tip.

materfamilias; If you saw the bottom half it was all jeans :)

c.: Shooting this realize wish I'd kept a couple old costume ones. Oh well.
Viktoria Berg said…
These are beautiful, I particularly take to the Danish one, perhaps I´m being Scandinavian patriotic (if there is such a thing). And that tip about securing an old brooch with a bulldog - I shall definitely do that to some of my old treasures!

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