An example of how to use vintage pins in a modern way. Create a wedding bouquet out of a collection.
There’s a subset of folks in the vintage dressing and collecting niche who wear and collect vintage brooches. Some are pure collectors, some like to wear their purchases and some like to do other fun stuff with their finds, like make vintage brooch bouquets out them (see above).
Nowadays, although women still wear brooches and designers still design them, the heyday for brooches in the fashion world existed from about the 1920s to the 1970s.
There has been some recent renewed interest in brooch wearing in the last decade or so (think Gossip Girl) and there’s plenty of vintage-esque designs on the market at shops like Anthropologie and real vintage brooches at Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods if you are looking to add some to your own jewellery box.
But first, it’s probably a good idea to have a little knowledge before you get started. So, who were the big costume jewellery vintage brooch designers of the past and what were their most popular designs?
Signature Design from Henry Schreiner. Photo by Estate Jewles by George & Raf.
The company was started by Henry Schreiner, who actually worked for Christian Dior prior to opening his own design house. His costume jewellery designs were handmade and signatures of the brand included: large, eye-catching, colourful designs that often featured a reverse setting of rhinestones as well as the ruffle brooch.
Circus Brooch from Schiaparelli. Photo from faubourgsaintgermain.com.
Elsa Schiaparelli was the lead designer behind the Schiaparelli line of clothing, jewellery and perfumes. She was a contemporary to Coco Chanel. As a jewellery designer, she was active from the 1920s-1970s. She actually licensed her name to different companies for the production of her costume jewellery (Davis Lisner Co. and Ralph De Rosa).
She was very much inspired by the art movements of Modernism, Futurism, Cubism, Art Deco, African and Primitive Art, Surrealism and especially by Salvador Dali.
Frank Hess For Miriam Haskell
Designed by Frank Hess and for Miriam Haskell. Photo via Ayana Designs.
Miriam Haskell 1920s-1950s
Miriam Haskell founded the Miriam Haskell Company in 1926, and while not a designer herself she had an eye for design talent. The memorable Haskell designs were floral-themed with gilt findings and lots of filigree, faux pearls, Austrian crystal beads, Murano glass and rose montées.
An example of a Pin by Coro. Photo by VintageParis.
Floral Pins and the Coro Duettes
Coro 1900s-1970sEmanuel Cohn and Gerald Rosenberg are the founders of Coro Jewelry. From 1901 to the 1970s, their work was sold under the name of Coro, Corocraft and Vendome. Best known for their tremblant floral pins and the Coro Duettes, which were pins that could be worn together as a set or individually.
An example of a Boucher Animal Brooch. Photo by RMSjewels .
Before founding his own company in the 1930s, Marcel Boucher worked for Cartier and Mazer Brothers, two other big names in jewellery design. He is best known for his enamel pieces and his fruit, animal and figure brooches.
A Vintage Weiss Brooch with Aurora Borealis Crystals. Photo by HeirloomBandB.
Weiss Jewelry was founded by Albert Weiss, who worked for Coro before opening his own design house. His most well-known designs include ones with smoky rhinestones and designs that utilise Swarovski’s polychromatic aurora borealis crystals.
Lisner Jewelry 1900s- 1970s
Vintage Blue Lucite Lisner Earrings and Brooch Set.
Lisner Jewelry 1900s- 1970s
Most well known for selling Elsa Schiaparelli’s designs, Lisner Jewelry also had some success with their Lucite designs.
Vintage Trifari Crown Brooch. Photo by ArabellaReason.
Trifari 1910s – Present Day
Founded by Gustavo Trifari, the most popular time period of Trifari designs spanned from the 1930s-1968 while the company was under the design direction of French designer Alfred Philippe. His most popular designs were by far the Trifari Crown Pins.
Vintage shops in London are great places to find brooches.