A welcome trend in the jewellery market has been the resurgence of the brooch. When on September 24 Baroness Brenda Hales gave her verdict on Boris Johnson’s ‘illegal’ prorogation of Parliament what many social media users really wanted to know is ‘where did she get that spider brooch?’ The jewel-encrusted arachnid joins other similar brooches she has worn on camera, including a gem-set caterpillar and a diamond butterfly.
Both in retail and at auction, the fortunes of the brooch are improving. Relegated for many years as ‘old fashioned’, brooches are once again being recognised by a generation of buyers as an accessory bursting with personality. As the most senior judge in the country will attest, a brooch provides an accent to an otherwise formal or monochromatic gown.
The Sworders’ Fine Jewellery, Watches and Designer Handbags sale on November 19 boasts some fine brooches catering for a range of budgets and tastes.
Two are perfect examples of French Art Deco - the chicest of all jewellery styles.
A crescent shaped brooch c.1930 composed of a rows of milligrain set diamonds punctuated by calibre cut rubies comes in a fitted case for J Chaumet, de Morel and Cie (of Paris and London). Attributed to the maker (still operating in Paris after 240 years) it carries an estimate of £5,000-7,000.
Lot 199 - A cased Art Deco platinum and gold, ruby and diamond brooch attributed to Chaumet, c.1930
An open navette form brooch c.1925 fashioned from frosted rock crystal, cabochon onyx and milligrain graduated diamonds set in platinum and 18ct white gold is equally stylish. It comes in a fitted case inscribed for Alfred Hamsy Joallier, 277 rue St Honore, Paris-Cannes. Estimate £2,500-3,500.
Lot 198 - A French Art Deco platinum, gold, rock crystal, onyx and diamond brooch, c.1925
Many brooches also find favour today for their versatility: they can also be hung from a chain as a pendant.
A textbook late Victorian sapphire and diamond sunburst brooch/pendant, c.1890 has a detachable brooch fitting as does an 18ct gold shield form brooch centred by a large mabé pearl and diamonds at the compass points by contemporary London maker Cassandra Goad (1997). They are estimated at £4000-4500 and £400-500 respectively.