Medieval Antique Brooches
In Medieval times, brooches were an integral part of the wardrobe and medieval jewelry. They were used to fasten and secure cloaks, tunics and other items of clothing. This meant that antique brooches at this time were functional as well as ornamental.
As can be imagined, the brooch was an essential accessory in the Middle Ages, as so many items of clothing needed to be securely anchored. Jewelled belts were also common ancient antique jewelry at this time. In the early Middle Ages, estate jewellery and brooches were often of Celtic design, and were generally made from pewter or sterling silver.
The most common type of brooch in the latter years of the period was a circle pin. These brooches were usually made from precious metals, and they were very often decorated with jewels. It was also customary for them to be adorned with inscriptions praising loved ones. Some elaborate ancient antique brooches of the time alluded to the traditions of courtly love, and small figures of lovers would be made from gold and decorated with enamel.
Roman Brooches (Fibulae)
Early Roman antique brooches were intended to be used for the fastening of garments such as togas, and they were formed of the pin, or acus, a bow and a catchplate. In appearance, they were very similar to modern safety pins. These brooches were made in Britain, and were very fashionable in the western provinces of Europe. The basic design would appear to have originated with the Celts, and fibulae were made all through the Iron Age and the Roman Era.
A common fibula design of the second and third centuries was the crossbow. This was identifiable due to the higher arch of the brooch. Many fibulae were enamelled, and fish, insects and also animals featured frequently in the decoration. Polychrome discs and more substantial blobs were also used, polychrome being a decorative technique where three or more colours were used together. The remains of an enamelling workshop creating vintage jewelry were found in the small village of Pachen, near Trier in Germany. Evidence suggests that the workshop made ancient antique brooches from nearby deposits of copper, as well as repairing metal objects such as goblets. Apparently, the workshop also forged coins!