maandag 13 maart 2017

Celluloid heroes

If you've been following my blog for a while, you've probably noticed that I have a thing for brooches, picking them up, preferably as cheaply as possible, at flea markets and in charity shops

A couple of weeks ago, the lovely Kezzie asked if I would do a blog post entirely dedicated to my collection. As she is a wearer of brooches herself, regularly publishing her 5 brooches posts, I am honoured to be asked, so here's a little peak at my collection of "broochage" (word pinched from Kezzie)!


I never set out to collect brooches, so I've never seen it as a collection. I'm just drawn to them and - having been born with what I call the "collecting gene" - one brooch just lead to another, and another, so that at a rough guess I now own about two hundred of them.

For I don't know how many years, I've hardly ever been known to leave the house without wearing at least one brooch.

I even wore them before I started wearing vintage and my first brooches were bought brand new on the high street. Here are some of those I am still wearing regularly today. Except for the butterfly, they're all from the IKEA of clothing: H&M.


My first vintage brooch, this cute little fox, was bought at a flea market many years ago.








I love him dearly and was heartbroken when I appeared to have lost him one day.

Somehow, he wasn't there when I wanted to unpin him from my cardie that night.

At first, I thought (or rather, hoped) I'd lost him at work but when I got in the next morning, he was nowhere to be found.








Fast forward a couple of weeks later, when I was plumping up the cushions of the sofa (which we euphemistically call the "chaise longue") in our spare room, and there he was! Phew!



Over the years, I kept on picking up the odd brooch, at flea markets and charity shops as well as the high street.





And although I have never worn them, I'm proud to own these three brooches which belonged to my Great Aunt Josephine.

They were languishing, unloved, at my parents' house for years until they came home with me to Dove Cottage.

It is said that the longer the pin, the older the brooch, so it's safe to say these ones are quite old.










I often wear these brightly coloured plastic brooches bought in a shop on Cardigan's high street, Mundos, while on holiday. They are new, but definitely have a vintage look. I've seen Kezzie wearing the duo of birds in bright pink!



Then two things happened which greatly boosted my collection of brooches.

First, I met the Brooch Lady at a flea market. Eighty plus years of age, she has been collecting for over thirty years, resulting in a collection of over 3000 brooches. My heart ached when she told me she was selling them so that her children wouldn't be stuck with her collection after she's gone.

They are reasonably priced, generally between € 5 and € 10, so I usually buy two or three brooches off her.



Then, while on holiday in Wales in June 2015, I kept finding brooches at a car boot, charity shops and a flea market. Here's a display of the total of 18 brooches I brought home that year.

Needless to say, this big explosion in broochage posed an altogether different problem, that of storage.



Last year, I hit upon the idea of storing them in empty cutlery boxes, which I'd found at a vintage shop. Soon, I ran out of space and had to look out for more boxes.

I use the 1970s round orange plastic jewellery box to store a selection of brooches, making it easier to choose on a day-to-day basis.

The orange apple ice bucket holds some of my bangles, and most of my non-vintage brooches are stored in the child-sized little sewing box.

The 1950s wooden jewellery box, on its spindly legs, holds miscellaneous vintage accessories.

As for the brooches, I try to group them per type, colour or theme, so here are some more for you to enjoy.


These celluloid brooches dating from the 1920s/1930s all came from the Brooch Lady, except for the one on the left, for which I paid € 0,50 in a charity shop. It's a souvenir brooch from Le Sacre Coeur in Paris. They are so delicate that I hardly ever wear them.


While I was photographing some of my collection for this post, it struck me how many of them are featuring flowers.

I've got several animal brooches as well, especially dogs, which is quite a surprise as I'm really more of a cat person. Aren't the little poodle pins delightful?


I'm sure you have seen all of my Bambi brooches before, but here they are, all together.
I simply cannot resist anything featuring baby deer. My favourite is the large green ceramic one.


I am certainly not an expert, but over the years, experience, as well as a lot of googling, has learned me what to look for. An important clue to whether a brooch is vintage or not lies in its fastening, so it's vital to learn at least a little bit about the different hinges, catches and pins.

In general, however, it's a love at first sight thing for me. If I love it, and the price is right, I buy it, not caring whether it's modern or vintage.

There are, of course, certain brooches I can spot from a mile off, like these pretty celluloid Edelweiss brooches. They usually command much higher prices than the 1 or 2 € I paid for them.

The pair of yellow-hearted ones comes with a set of real tinkling bells, which drive me and everybody else crazy when I'm wearing them.



Obviously, these are just a fraction of my little babies, so watch this space for a second installment at some point in the future.



28 opmerkingen:

  1. Beautiful! My favorites are your Great Aunt's broaches, and that green 'Bambi'!!

    How ingenious of you to store them in empty cutlery boxes!!! That's a perfect way to store them!!

    My heart ached too for the 'Broach Lady'. I'm sure it must give her some consilation to know that a few of her precious pins went home with you.

    Happy thrifting ;)

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you! I'm glad you like the green Bambi which is one of my favourites too. xxx

      Verwijderen
  2. Yyyyyyaaaaaaay!!! I love this!!!! SO interesting to hear about them and see them grouped together. I love the flower ones and the little boat. How sad that is about the brooch lady. Xx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you Kezzie! I see you have spotted my little "Westward Ho" boat, which I found at a flea market in Carmarthen! xxx

      Verwijderen
  3. I'm so glad you did this post. I've been admiring your collection, and it has been fascinating to see a bit more of it.

    Storage is tough!. I still haven't worked out a good system for brooches, but bangles fit nicely in long plastic trays-the sort you'd use in the fridge.

    I can relate to the Brooch Lady. I really need to start finding homes for some of my stuff.

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thanks Goody! Storage is tough indeed. Although the cutlery boxes are a good storage solution for my brooches, it's not easy to make day-to-day choices. Love the idea of the long plastic trays for bangles. xxx

      Verwijderen
  4. Thank you for this peek into your impressive collection! I too started with modern brooches, before I was into vintage style. We have some twins, I spied quite a few brooches there that I have too! Or had, as I gave away about 40 brooches as favours at my wedding. I look forward to installment two xx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Giving away brooches as wedding favours is quite an original idea! I'm quite attached to mine, though. xxx

      Verwijderen
  5. What a collection of brooches! My favourite is the fox, I'm so glad you found him!
    Your storage corner looks lovely! I don't wear brooches very often but I have a few, I keep mine pinned to the torso of a broken dressmakers mannequin. xxx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Glad you like my storage corner. It was only completed last week! xxx

      Verwijderen
  6. You have a very eclectic brooch collection, I love the little fox and the micro mosaic one is lovely too, I've looked at them a few times and keep finding another one I like, the poodles, we have one so I have to mention them! xxx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you Sally. Well done on spotting the micro mosaic one. I've got another few of those, which will be for a next post. xxx

      Verwijderen
  7. Oooh, how lovely! Thank you for sharing. I have barely any compared to you. I really like the white mop top doggy xxx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thanks Melanie. That doggy reminded me of my friend Inez's cute little dog Nikki. xxx

      Verwijderen
  8. Good grief you really have serious and fabulous collection! Mine is nowhere near so I store them in 3 pressed glass snack/condiment dishes with each compartment being for a different catagory (birds, animals,rlowers etc) once a librarian! lol

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. What a lovely idea to keep them in pressed glass condiment dishes. Oh, and I might not be a librarian but my cutlery boxes are each holding a different category as well. xxx

      Verwijderen
  9. Glad you finally found your Little fox brooch, it's so cute!. And I'm loving your collection, and those storage boxes look cool too! (I really like to know how people store their bijouterie!) I have a weakness for floral brooches too, lizzards and birds, and rhinestones!
    Very interesting to know about the Brooches Lady's story and why she's selling her collection. It's not so sad if you think she's taking care of her collection, sharing it with people who could enjoy every piece. Spreading the love for little pieces of art!
    besos

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you Monica. I'm glad to see the little fox is getting so much love. I'm always interested to know about other people's storage solutions too. As our house is rather small, all tips are welcome. xxx

      Verwijderen
  10. your brooch c ollection is absolutely amazing i adore those dog brooches. Particularly the poodle

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. I had a feeling you might like the little poodles, Kate. Now why would that be ;-) xxx

      Verwijderen
  11. Wow, what a collection. I'm not a brooch person myself, I think I have a total of five. I do like your fox/cat/dog brooches best and Aunt Josephine's opal brooch comes a close second. xx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you Fiona. The opal brooch is lovely, isn't it? I don't think I will ever wear it though, I'm so afraid of losing it. xxx

      Verwijderen
  12. 200?? wow!!
    how you chose between all that prettiness? did you ever buy a double because you did´t remembered to have one already?
    although i have inherited a mini collection of brooches i don´t where them often - most vintage brooches are to tiny for my taste :-)
    xxxxx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. I have my favourites, but try to rotate the ones in my day-to-day box every month or so. I've quite a good memory for detail, so it has not happened yet. I have been known to buy double books, though ... xxx

      Verwijderen
  13. Those celluloid cameos are beautiful. I really like both the elephant and the Romeo and Juliet one. I'm glad the fox came back to you.

    I went through a phase of buying brooches, though I haven't acquired any new ones in ages. I seem to have stopped wearing them so often - something that needs remedying.

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. It definitely needs remedying Mim! I think brooches can add a quirky element to any outfit. xxx

      Verwijderen
  14. I'm so glad that you found Mr Fox, he's lovely.
    My Mum had one of those orange ice buckets, it languished in the cupboard for years before she sold it at a car boot sale, if only she'd been more creative in it's usage!
    I love the little white flower with the leaf and the red (or is it orange) centre - so simply and perfectly pretty!

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. I got my orange ice bucket from a flea market, and immediately saw its potential as a storage solution. It also compliments the orange and cream 1970s jewellery box. I often wear the little white flower brooch, as it's very versatile, but I'm weary of wearing Mr. Fox now ... xxx

      Verwijderen