When you think about a brooch (or pin) as a jeweled accessory, do you picture Queen Elizabeth II or your grandmother? Think again. Brooches have resurfaced as popular and essential items of adornment. You’ll see them worn in a myriad of ways: on lapels, waistbands, collars, pockets, purses, hats, belts, shoes, and scarves. Aside from being the most versatile type of jewelry, the right brooch can add instant personality to your outfit.
To inspire you to add brooches to your jewelry wardrobe, I’ve styled some fun pieces from the TruFaux Jewels boutique. Although each outfit features a brooch pinned to a denim jacket, another wardrobe staple, you could substitute a blazer for a dressier look.
The word colorful only begins to describe this Gemstone & Silver Rope Double Bow 1940s Brooch by Reinad. With stones to represent amethysts, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, peridots, citrines, and pink tourmalines, this large (3 ½” by 3 ½”) but graceful piece is about as versatile as they come. With a silver lame shirt under a blue denim jacket, this outfit is fairly neutral, yet the brooch really pops. Or create a more striking ensemble by pinning it to clothing in your favorite of the featured gemstone colors.
I love the sterling silver jewelry William Hobé made in the 1940s. This piece – my Amethyst, Emerald, Sapphire & Sterling Basket Brooch – has the elements found in many of his creations: layers of textured leaves and buds surrounding faceted colored stones. Jewels by this maker were well-designed and hand-crafted. You could incorporate one of the gemstone hues into your outfit for a more colorful look. Or simply wear this brooch to bring a quiet splash of colors to a neutral ensemble, as shown here.
Chic Easy Pieces
This 4-inch tall Pink Tourmaline, Sapphire, Peridot & Sterling Bouquet Brooch, also by Hobé, is another interpretation of his flower, buds, and leaves motif. How elegant it looks on this pale blue denim jacket, which tops a navy pinstripe skirt. The pink, blue, and pale green stones give you options for adding more color to your ensemble. With the right jewels, looking chic is easy!
Go for the Bold
Brooches made in the Retro Modern style of the 1940s were typically big and bold, to add pizazz to the austere clothing worn during World War II. At 1 ½” x 3 ½”, this Amethyst, Diamanté & Vermeil Sterling Bouquet 1940s Brooch by Coro is a great example from that era. This stylized bouquet of flowers in gold-washed (vermeil) sterling silver can be worn horizontally or vertically. Either way, this gorgeous brooch adds drama to a simple jeans, sweater, and denim jacket. If violet is one of your favorite colors, add it in your shoes or bag.
Another Retro Modern piece by Coro is this Blue Topaz, Ruby, Diamanté & Vermeil Sterling Brooch. At 2 ½” by 2 ½”, it isn’t as big as many of its contemporaries, but its colors are definitely bold. The gold-washed sterling silver is fashioned into fabric-like folds, a typical motif of that decade. The teal blue stones with red accents are not that common, so I chose a sweater and handbag to emphasize them. If you wore a white top instead, the brooch would still stand out enough to start a conversation.
Fresh and Fun
One of the most fun pieces I have to offer is this Ruby Bead & Rondelle French Art Deco Pinwheel Brooch from the 1930s. I think it’s a great variation on the circle pin. A red accessory always projects energy. And this one does that with a lot of class!
Another fun piece from the Art Deco era is this Scarab & Sterling Broochby Walter Lampl. Motifs associated with Egypt (such as scarabs, lotus flowers, hieroglyphics, and pyramids) were common in Art Deco jewelry. The scarabs in this piece are glass molded to look like carved gemstones: chrysoprase, tiger’s eye, carnelian, amethyst, and rock crystal. This range of colors allows you to choose which to emphasize in your outfit. Here I’ve completed the jeweled accessories with my Carnelian German Art Deco Drop Earrings (an orangey-brown). The shoes and bag are in shades of brown.