Brooch


Brooch
Detail of the Irish pseudo-penannular Londesborough Brooch

A brooch (pronounced /ˈbroʊtʃ/); also known in ancient times as a fibula; is a decorative jewelry item designed to be attached to garments. It is usually made of metal, often silver or gold but sometimes bronze or some other material. Brooches are frequently decorated with enamel or with gemstones and may be solely for ornament (as in the stomacher) or sometimes serve a practical function as a fastening, perhaps for a cloak.

The earliest known brooches are from the Bronze Age. As fashions in brooches changed rather quickly, they are important chronological indicators.

Contents

Fibula

Braganza Fibula/Brooch, Hellenistic art, 250-200 BC, British Museum

The fibula or fibulae (plural) is an ornamental clasp used by Romans, Greeks, Germanic peoples and also by Celts and migratory tribes in Europe from the Early Bronze Age. They may have replaced fibulae made of more perishable Neolithic materials, such as bone to as late as 800 AD.[citation needed] Fibulae are useful type-objects: carefully catalogued local typologies, dating and distribution of fibulae can help date finds where neither numismatic nor ceramic materials provide a secure date. Fibulae were shaped somewhat like a large safety pin and were used to hold clothing together. They came in many varieties and held prominent significance for the identity of the wearer, indicating ethnicity (until local costume became Romanized) and class. Elaborately designed fibulae were an important part of Late Antique dress, and simpler ones were part of Roman military equipment.

The same types of fibulae can often be found on either side of the Roman limites, both among "Roman" and "barbarian" populations. The cultural interplay of elite objects designed to show status can be quite complex. For example, Lawrence Nees, Early Medieval Art[1] notes fibulae depicted in ivory diptychs of Stilicho and his entourage:

"The type of fibula worn by Stilicho and his son, and by Turcius Secundus, occurs also among metal works of art commonly termed barbarian, as new Germanic figures usurped the symbols of imperial authority. It is likely that this type originated among Celtic groups and came to be adopted as an exotic fashion by Roman aristocrats, becoming 'naturalized' as an important Roman emblem, and then exported".

Ancient fibulae are prized items for collectors since they are well preserved in many cases and are not difficult to obtain; divorced from their cultural context, they still present a fascinating array of shapes and decoration.

Celtic brooches

A hair brooch from the 19th century, in the collection of The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

A distinct tradition of penannular brooches and the related pseudo-penannular types developed in Early Medieval Ireland and Scotland, producing some of the most elaborately decorated brooches ever made, including the Tara Brooch.

Hair and portrait brooches

From the eighteenth century through the Victorian era it was fashionable to incorporate hair and portraiture into a brooch.[2] The practice began as an expression of mourning, then expanded to keepsakes of loved ones who were living.[2] Human hair was encased within the brooch or braided and woven into a band to which clasps were affixed.[2] It was not uncommon for miniature brooch portraits to incorporate ground human hair as pigment.[2] Two sided swivel brooches would display a portrait on one side and a lock of hair on the other; the latter could be crafted with semiprecious stones to resemble a bouquet.[2]

Notes

  1. ^ Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 75
  2. ^ a b c d e Tanenbaum, Carole; Rita Silvan (2006). Fabulous Fakes: A Passion for Vintage Costume Jewelry. Toronto: Madison Press. p. 12, 18–19. 

References

External links

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Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Brooch — (br[=o]ch; 277), n. [See {Broach}, n.] 1. An ornament, in various forms, with a tongue, pin, or loop for attaching it to a garment; now worn at the breast by women; a breastpin. Formerly worn by men on the hat. [1913 Webster] Honor s a good… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Brooch — Brooch, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Brooched} (br[=o]cht).] To adorn as with a brooch. [R.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • brooch — [brəutʃ US broutʃ] n [Date: 1200 1300; : Old French; Origin: broche pointed tool, pin , from Vulgar Latin brocca, from Latin broccus sticking out ] a piece of jewellery that you fasten to your clothes, usually worn by women American Equivalent:… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • brooch — [ broutʃ ] noun count a piece of jewelry with a pin on the back that you fasten to your clothes …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • brooch — early 13c., from O.Fr. broche long needle (see BROACH (Cf. broach) (n.)). Specialized meaning led 14c. to distinct spelling …   Etymology dictionary

  • brooch — [n] ornamental pin bar pin, breastpin, clip, cluster, jewelry; concept 446 …   New thesaurus

  • brooch — ► NOUN ▪ an ornament fastened to clothing with a hinged pin and catch. ORIGIN Old French broche spit for roasting , from Latin brocchus projecting …   English terms dictionary

  • brooch — [brōch, bro͞och] n. [ME broche: see BROACH] a large ornamental pin with a clasp, worn by women, usually at the neck …   English World dictionary

  • brooch — /brohch, broohch/, n. a clasp or ornament having a pin at the back for passing through the clothing and a catch for securing the point of the pin. Also, broach. [1175 1225; ME broche BROACH, differentiated in sp. since ca. 1600] * * * Ornamental… …   Universalium

  • brooch — (esp. BrE) noun ADJECTIVE ▪ cameo ▪ diamond, pearl, etc. VERB + BROOCH ▪ have on, wear ▪ …   Collocations dictionary


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