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Article: Brooch


Ancient brooches

  • Brooches from antiquity and before the Middle Ages are often called fibulae.
  • They were necessary as clothes fasteners and markers of social status.
  • Metalworking technology advanced during the Iron Age, leading to the creation of decorative fibulae.
  • Celtic craftsmen in Europe decorated fibulae with red enamel and coral inlay.
  • Brooches in ancient Britain were commonly made of copper alloy or iron.

Medieval brooches

  • Germanic tribes during the Migration period created distinctive metalwork.
  • Migration period brooches combined Late Roman and Germanic art forms.
  • Colourful and technically superior jewellery was created during this period.
  • Almandine, a burgundy variety of garnet, was commonly used in brooches.
  • Brooch designs included geometric decoration, bird motifs, and intertwining beasts.

Anglo-Saxon brooches

  • Early Anglo-Saxon brooches were mostly Continental styles.
  • Circular brooches appeared in England in the 5th century.
  • Kent craftsmen developed their own distinctive styles and techniques.
  • Circular brooches became the preferred type by the end of the 6th century.
  • Brooches declined in the 7th century but reappeared and remained fashionable in the 8th century.

Celtic brooches

  • Celtic brooches were elaborately decorated penannular and pseudo-penannular types.
  • Celtic jewellery differed from Anglo-Saxon craftsmanship.
  • Inlaid millefiori glass and curvilinear styles were common in Celtic brooches.
  • Celtic artisans were known for their inventiveness, complexity, and craftsmanship.
  • The Tara Brooch is a famous example of a Celtic brooch.

Scandinavian brooches

  • Scandinavian brooches were intricately carved with animal style ornamentation.
  • Viking art styles, such as Oseberg, Borre, and Urnes, influenced Scandinavian brooches.
  • Various forms of brooches were common, including circular, bird-shaped, and oval.
  • Jellinge and Borre art styles were prominent in Scandinavian brooches.
  • Scandinavian seafarers during the Viking Age explored, raided, and colonized new lands.

Brooch Data Sources

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