The Brooch

Once considered fusty and outmoded, there are signs that the brooch is fashionable again. Last summer, for example, Uma Thurman wore a vintage Cartier Birds of Paradise brooch to the Met Gala. Look into the brooch’s history and you’ll find a fascinating world of ceremonial genres: the “aigrette” feather-shaped brooch, the “grand tour” cameo brooch, and the “en tremblant” – the figure that trembles like the flutter of a romantic heart. The diamond company Graff’s brooch of yellow and white diamonds, pictured here, exquisitely reinterprets the en tremblant for our era. The brooch is also a real power jewel. Think of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and her 2009 hymn to the brooch, Read My Pins, about her huge collection of brooches and how they expressed her politics. “I saw it as a visual way to deliver a message,” she said. For example, when her team learned that the Russians had planted a listening device in a conference room, she wore a brooch in the shape of a bug to their next meeting. “They got the message.” Now that’s statement jewelry.