I have been collecting jewellery of every kind for so long now I don’t know when it began. I have strings of beads, pairs of earrings and brooches. I don’t remember which was my first brooch, but I used to wear them on my business suits. Back then ‘business’ dress was the order of the day. The only way I could show any individuality was a fancy brooch on the lapel. I started in a small way with a discrete gold pin but as time went on they got bigger and bolder.
Now there are over 700 in my collection. I wear all my brooches and I’ll buy one because I like the design, the colour, or it just speaks to me. Some are favourites and I wear regularly: a small stone cameo set in gold from the 1850s, a large yellow spray of flowers by the designer Staret from the 1940s, a red metal and paste abstract circle from the 1950s and a silver Möbius knot by Vinianna Torun Bülow for Georg Jensen from the 21st century. Some I buy just to go with something special. I have a Danecraft knitting brooch, as a knitter I just couldn’t resist that one. And for Christmas, I have a variety of festive trees. I love sparkles for the evening. I have a couple of 1930s diamante brooches that convert to a pair of dress clips, very versatile. I wear a brooch every day, sometimes I wear two, three or more in combination. Some of my earliest brooches were Lea Stein, I have a number of her pieces. I like their boldness of colour and use of plastic.
I have a growing number of reference books. I look through them both in terms of researching new purchases or just wonderment at the beauty of the jewellery. I also use the internet to help when researching a brooch. I catalogue all my brooches in a giant excel spreadsheet (I know, geeky) and keep them in an 1860 collectors cabinet with 18 drawers. I haven’t filled all the drawers yet, space for some more. I buy brooches from anywhere and everywhere, online, antique markets and fairs, auctions, shops and dealers I know. Some have cost a few pounds and one or two have caused me to reign in my expenditure for the rest of the month. Am I going to stop buying brooches? – No, there are thousands more to be discovered, investigated and most importantly worn.