How to Identify and Date a Vintage Brooch

Posted in Jewelry Identification and Dating - Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 at 5:17 pm


Not sure if your brooch is an antique, vintage, or a more modern piece? Here is a helpful guide to dating brooches. It’s all about the back…

Looking at the clasp, pin, and hinge is the easiest and most accurate way to date a brooch.

Tip: Make sure when purchasing an antique brooch online to make sure you view a photo of the back. If one is not provided, ask the seller to provide one.

The T-Bar Pin and C-Clasp


T-bar pins and c-clasps were used predominately through the Victorian era. The pins on brooches from this era were usually really long, often extending past the body of the brooch itself. This helped keep the piece secure on heavy Victorian fabrics, and served as an early safeguard before the safety clasp was invented.

Around the of the turn of the century, hinges became smaller and more rounded. Brooches with a c-clasp and small hinge (not tube hinge) usually date around the late 1800s-1900.


The Trombone Clasp


Named after the trombone-like gesture required to pull open the tube shaped closure; Trombone clasps were also used during the late 1800s. They are most often found on European made pieces. This type of clasp can sometimes be found on European jewelry from the 1940s as well.

The Safety Clasp


The original style of safety clasps was invented around 1910. They worked a little differently than the modern ones, since the lever rolls down instead of upwards. It was essentially a C-clasp with a closure.

Around the 1920s the modern fold-over safety clasp was invented. This helped secure the heavy jewel encrusted pieces of the time. This also made brooches more functional for the modern woman, as it
helped keep the brooches protected against her new more active lifestyle.


I collect many types of brooches from the 1800s-1990s. Get a sense of how the brooch evolved over the decades at the LUXXOR Vintage Store.

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