Show Us Your Brooches!

It’s almost time to ornament. Not just tables and lintels and trees, but ourselves. Some, here in the US, adorn with holiday brooches. One can either make fun or enjoy. As holidays are best irony-free, I take the second course whenever I can quiet the thought, “Huh. Swarovski Rudolph. OK then.”

In that spirit, Sue, over at Une Femme, is having Show Us Your Brooches Day. High WASPs respond well to authority, so here you go.

It’s a baby pin, or so my mother said once. I had another, a bar pin of pale blue enamel with a little central diamond, but I think I lost it. Maybe gave it to a sister? Hmm. Along with two diamond stick pins. Lesson: Don’t give family jewelry to your teenager. Do give to your sisters and sisters-in-law.

I digress.

Can you imagine, no matter the financial resources, pinning diamonds and pearls on babies? Maybe this was for older girls? Perhaps one of you with deeper knowledge than I can shed light?

I digress again. Holiday brain in action.

I wear this piece two or three times a year, when I feel like sparkling in a discreet, daytime way. Pinned to a collar or a lapel. The particular shirt above is a Brooks Brothers no-iron button front, appropriately enough. This is the only brooch I’ve got, as remembering that I have a dangerous pointy thing somewhere on my clothes troubles me.

Here’s to you, Sue, and anyone else with Brooch Fortitude, less prone to accessory nerves. Long may you pin.

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  • That is so beautiful!! How long is it? If it is short, I can see it on a child’s riding shirt. It is exquisite!!! Enjoy it!


  • I don’t have any brooches. I find them matronly or something. Inherited brooches I had made into other kinds of jewelry. Yours is beautiful, and has lovely sentimental value.

    1:01 pm
    Ida said...

    Am with Kathy on the issue of brooches,to me brooch = matronly.

    What a sweet name ‘baby brooch’ tad risky on a baby. Ida

  • What an exquisite piece. The detailing is gorgeous. I inherited my grandfather’s diamond stick pin. Pointy things don’t work well for me, so I had it redesigned into a pendant. It’s one of my favorite pieces of jewelry now.

    Happy Thanksgiving Lisa from my house to yours.

  • I’d be concerned about throwing whatever I’d pinned it to into the wash.

  • So pretty. I didn’t wear pins for a while. Now I do. I’m not sure I’d pin small children though, I was the kind of child who would likely have been stabbed by anything on my clothing.

  • What a stunning brooch! Absolutely gorgeous.

  • i have a bar pin but have never been quite sure how to wear it. yours looks good on that collar. i may pin mine like yours and see. thx! :)

  • I’m definitely a brooch fan – usually on jacket lapel. No danger form the sharp pin there and I only need to remember to remove it for dry cleaning.

    anyone interested in brooches should see Madeline Albright’s book, ‘Read my Pins’.

  • I remember my mother had a large pin that she said was for the blanket on the baby carriage . Does this make sense?

  • I love the delicacy and subtlety of this pin. It seems so in character for you. Baby pins, I know, it really does seem like an odd concept. Thanks so much for joining the Brooch Party. You’re a good sport. ;-)

  • I think it was the sort of thing given by relatives on a girl’s first birthday? To be held onto by the parents, and brought out upon occasion later on, for going to family weddings and graduations and other such formal occasions. Then when the girl gets old enough to be responsible with her things and be given a nice polished wood jewel box it can be handed over to her to start off her collection of real jewelry.

    Irish Catholics tend to do the same with crucifixes for very young children, especially when on older member of the family passes away. Getting a gold crucifix custom made or sourcing it from somewhere remote so it is special and unique is quite common.

    You can still get baby brooches… they don’t tend so much to having jewels in them though. Plain gold for engraving seems more the norm now, possibly with a chip of a birthsone. Back in the seventies enamel bluebirds on either silver or gold were a common ornament on the baby jewelry my peers owned. I was very jealous of their bling, my family was quite austere in such matters, we had endless amounts of books but very little pretty.

    9:58 am
    Mary anne said...

    Books v bling? You got the better deal.

  • I take inspiration from Michelle Obama (in this as in so many things), and wear at least three brooches at once. My favorite combination is garnet-encrusted flower, an ivory carved flower, and a tiny tiny gold blob on a safety pin (made by a german jeweler who is to jewelry what Martin Margiela is to clothing: very high concept). Also good, a round brooch with a painted landscape, an oval with an old photo of a cowgirl, and the tiny gold blob. Just one brooch can be matronly indeed, but a bunch pinned to a shift dress can be great.

  • Baby pins are for fastening the backs of heirloom dresses esp. christening gowns. They also referred to as “Beauty Pins”

  • Like Madeleine Albright, I am a dedicated brooch lover. I have a small collection of vintage brooches that I find at my favorite local antique store, where the owner has a good eye for vintage jewelry. I try to wear one every week. They dress up an outfit with jeans, add the perfect finishing touch to a suit and complement a dress perfectly. Love my brooches. Thanks for a great post.

  • I too love brooches and find them matronly only on matrons. (Have you met a matron recently? It is a word my father used to describe what would now be called a SAHM.) Or the female warden of a prison. Come to think about it, I have never seen a brooch on a warden.

    As for baby pins, I think they were put on toddlers for ‘dress up’. People also tied hats on them, and sometimes they wore ID bracelets. Not so much worry then about choking or impaling plump little arms on pins. Charming piece.

  • Although I’ve never worn a brooch, and am a little hesitant about putting them into practice, I think they’re gorgeous and I love the look when I see them on others. Your baby pin is just darling.

  • In my husband’s family new mothers customarily receive a piece of jewelery. This piece is always referred to as “my baby brooch, ear rings, ring, whatever”.

  • Good, diamonds and pearls are my faves, and they are so beautifully designed into this exquisite piece. I hope it is passed down and cherished for many generations.

  • I adored the stick pins worn at the top of closed collars in the 80s. (I had several that were vintage or antique, and quite delicate.)

    Brooches are tougher, I think, especially if you’re small (or busty). But they add a certain “je ne sais quoi” that I think is truly signature and all the more so if there is history or a story attached.

    (I’ve had brooches on my mind of late… I have a few from both grandmothers. I need to search them out and see where they might work.)

  • I love brooches. My favorite is an art nouveau seed pearl brooch that was my great-granmother’s. I mostly wear it as a pendant, but it looks smashing on a suit. I also have a pretty jade brooch, although I seem to have misplaced that one…

    I have a small collection of stick pins: seed pearl, garnet, plain gold, and pearl/peridot/opal. I don’t wear these as often, but they are adorable pinned on a cardigan.

    I also have a tiny collection of “special” pins: my grandmother’s Kappa key and a Tiffany graduate pin – class of 1921 – from my alma mater. These only come out rarely, but for certain occasions, they’re perfect.

  • I am a devote of cardigan sweaters (preferably vintage men’s camel hair or cashmere of Scottish lineage). Nothing dolls one of those up better than a brooch.
    My favorite at the moment is a grey cashmere flower that I bought on Etsy from thejunebride. It looks gorgeous on my current favorite camel hair cardigan and is light enough not to pull or leave a hole.
    I have several vintage brooches as well that will reappear when this little fling is over.