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The Brooch is back, Baby

Brooches are a type of jewelry you may associate with Victorian novels, glass-case museum displays or photos of the late Queen, but they are far from lost to the mists of time.

Although brooch adornment took a hit after the Depression, the trend has continued on and off since. Former Secretary of State and U.N. diplomat Madeleine Albright famously used her brooches as subtle political commentary in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Twenty years later they’re being rediscovered as accessories that can go on nearly any outfit.

They come in nearly all shapes and sizes and are made of gold, silver, platinum or nearly any other metal and can sport authentic or simulated jewels across the spectrum.

Conscious consumption and recycled fashion have helped fuel their rise, and gorgeous specimens can be found in antique and consignment stores in person and online and make for hours of happy hunting. They’re very similar to lapel pins but tend to be larger and purely ornamental, while lapel pins can serve many purposes.

Originally used as fasteners for collars, capes and cuffs, they’ve evolved into sweet or sumptuous statements typically worn on the left side of an outfit, but they can go anywhere in more casual settings, including in the center, on the right, at the waist or pinned several at a time onto jeans or jean jackets.

They’re even being worn in clusters of three or more for some serious bling.

If you want to try the look before buying one you can even use an earring, as long as it won’t damage the fabric or irritate your skin.

Shape shifters

One of the best things about brooches (pronounced like “broaches”) is their sheer variety.

You can find vintage cameo pins, dainty birds, colorful butterflies, designer logos, bold jewel-encrusted flowers and crosses and much more. Some even have interchangeable gems or other elements for a truly adaptable accessory.

Some can become the centerpiece of a larger statement by attaching to gold chains or strings of pearls draped onto a dress and over the shoulder.

The brooch’s vintage bona fides gives it extra power as a fashion statement, especially when it’s used in fresh or unusual ways for a thoroughly modern splash of individuality.

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