When my sister and I were very young we each had a little elephant brooch, which we wore on our winter overcoats. I don’t remember wearing brooches again for over 50 years, as they slipped out of fashion in the ‘swinging sixties’. We has badges for school, girl guides and the Red Cross, but that’s hardly the same thing,

However, I’m starting a little campaign to make brooch wearing popular again. It’s part of my policy to use everything I kept after a major decluttering.

The little Blue Wren pictured below on my shirt was a gift from my sweet young great-nieces Ellie and Ashlyn, who know how much I love birds.

Here are four I inherited from my mother-in-law. Jean continued to wear a brooch when nobody else did. And yes, I now wear the zebra and the frog quite often. The other two are more formal, but I’m determined not let them just sit in a drawer.

I understand that brooches began as fasteners rather than purely decorative objects and of course you can still use them that way.

Source – Wikipedia


Do you remember that burst of excitement re brooches in 2019, when British judge Lady Brenda Hale wore the giant spider? The media said it was a coded message about Boris being caught in a web of his own deceit. Lady Hale insisted this wasn’t true, but….

Confession – there is one brooch remaining in my possession that I can’t bring myself to wear. What on earth possessed Jean to buy this ruby eyed toucan? It will have to go.

The world’s most expensive brooch belonged to the late Queen Elizabeth, a gift from her grandmother, Queen Mary. The Queen jokingly referred to the two enormous diamonds as ‘Granny’s Chips’. Totaling 158 carats and worth over £50 million pounds, they were ‘chips’ from the famous 3,106 carat Cullinan diamond.

I can’t resist adding a little piece from the days of the Great Depression.


The story of the adventures of a valuable diamond brooch for which the Melbourne police are now searching….

Left for an hour on a bed in a Melbourne home, it was one of the few articles of value overlooked by burglars, who ransacked the house a few minutes later.

Stolen from the owner’s cabin on an interstate steamer shortly afterwards, it was recovered by the Sydney police, when two thieves were arrested at Neutral Bay.

Taken back to Melbourne it was left again on the same bed as previously – but on their return visit on that occasion, the burglars did not again overlook it.

Now the owner wonders if the Sydney police might again come to her aid. (The Sun, July 20 1029)

Maybe if I left Jean’s toucan out on the bed a helpful burglar might swipe it. 😎

I’m sure the current passion for vintage fashion is increasing interest in brooches, so I may not look that out of place wearing mine.

For more on Lady Hale’s famous brooch collection, CLICK HERE.

  1. Love brooches and love the toucan – bird brooches are my thing.

  2. Hello Pauline,

    I enjoyed your article on Bring Back the Brooches and I note your brooches from days gone by, particularly the Blue Wren for I too am fond of birds.

    It is my feeling that brooches have been back in vogue for quite some time. My daughter has a very large collection and usually wears a different brooch to work each day. Over the years my collection had grown and I am particularly fond of brooches that depict Australian flowers and fauna.

    In 1963 I was gifted a brooch by Australian designer Donald Simpson that was given to me by a well-known ice cream manufacturer at the time. Rather large and ostentatious I did not wear it in the days of my youth. But in my older years I have worn it on a couple of occasions. Donald Simpson brooches are now collector items and a work colleague of my daughter has the largest collection of Donald Simpson brooches in New South Wales.

    Lady Hale is not the only person to wear magnificent brooches that carry a message. Madeleine Albright, the former Secretary of State under Bill Clinton was well known for wearing brooches with a purpose. They sent a strong message depending on the occasion.
    Perhaps you know of her brooches but in case you don’t, considerable time can be spent on readmypins.state.gov enjoying her marvellous collection.

    And the toucan – since it was given to you by your sister, perhaps you could pass it on to another family member.

    Thank you for your article.

  3. Did you know that Brenda Hale lives less than a mile from me. We’re not exactly friends, but friendly, and often stop for a chat! I have great respect for her. William Hague also used to live in Richmond (our local MP for 25 years), as does Baroness Angela Harris. I remember Lady Hale once telling me that their coat pegs in The House, were low down, like in an infant school, and in alphabetical order. So her’s, William’s, and Angela’s were all next to each other due to their surnames all starting with H. I laughed at the image!
    I also love broaches, although I cannot remember the last time I wore one of mine. Certainly before I retired and that was well over 20 years ago.

    • Pauline

      Now that you mention it, I do remember you speaking about Lady Hale. She sounds rather wonderful.

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