Landgirl1980: Vintage jewellery is, for me, a fast and effective way of adding style to an outfit. Be it a modern high street jumper, a Thirties tailored jacket or a chic Beret from eBay – a quick securing of the pin and you are off.

You can find all sorts vintage and retro delights in shops and sales, as well as online via stores such as Etsy. Here, the price will be reasonable to high –  depending on what you are after. Most charity shops in the UK will have brooches pinned to a mannequin or under glass at the counter, and the prices will be pretty purse friendly. But, for a real bountiful scoop, head to your local car boot or jumble sale. Most of my collection has been found in such places  –  usually for under £1.

With jumble sales, you may find them all thrown in to a basket with earrings, plastic necklaces and fashion rings. Sometimes a half-full-of-thread bobbin, just for fun. If you sift through the tat –  you may find treasure. I have found that a good proportion of jumble sales are organised and/or donated to by the older members of society. Well, at least the ones I have been to anyway.

I recently picked up three Forties celluloid brooches for 40p each. It was towards the end of the day and the lady on the stall advised me that they had been donated to the jumble by her mother who said of them “Here, have these old things, I bought them when I was a teenager, I don’t really like them anymore and they are not worth much “.  She also commented that had I not bought them, they would have been put in the bin, because she didn’t think that even a goodwill shop would be able to sell them on. Shocking. The landfill’s loss, my 120 pence WIN!!

At a carboot sale, my advice is to avoid buying from the sellers who have designated jewellery display boxes. You know, the big, flat glass topped affairs. Have a gander by all means, but I have yet to find a bargain. As with vintage sellers at fairs and the like –  they know what they are selling and want a good price for it. Fair do’s. Everyone has to make a living –  and you never know, you may find the brooch of your dreams for a steal.

I personally prefer to rifle through tat filled old food tubs of brooch pick’n’mix. Many treasures have been bestowed upon me as a reward for untangling other people’s costume jewellery. Five minutes spent patiently pushing faux cubic zurconia cast offs out of the way and I have found Fifties porceline brooches –  usually in perfect condition. 50p a pop and I was one happy chicklet.

I mostly come across celluloid, marcisite, porceline and enamel brooches. I feel that brooches on the whole have fallen a little out of fashion in recent years. Excellent news for the avid collector and novice alike.

I always check my thrifted brooches over for signs of wear and tear. I check the catches to make sure they are secure, especially if they the recognisable C fastening. Saying that –  I have bought a fastener free piece before, that was in perfect condtion otherwise. I simply glued a new clasp to the back. I could not leave it behind for 30p.

And neither should you. I recommend you go forth and thrift.

LandGirl1980 is Charly Surry, a gal with a penchant for history, head-scarves and humour.

Charly is a full time retro dressing, history book reading, letter writing (the pen & paper kind), old recipe trying, hair setting, red lippy wearing, cat loving lass. The female role within both World Wars grabs her interest most, but she also has a thing for Anne Boleyn and Royal History in general. Charly runs Well Rounded Retro, an Etsy shop stocking mainly plus-sized vintage and retro.



3 Responses

  1. Shauna

    I am extremely jealous of your celluloid bargain finds…I have thrifted many a pretty china, ceramic brooch but am yet to find a celluloid for a bargain. I too love brooches and am glad to find them off trend at the moment….making them a little more affordable and less competion for them. Lovely article. xx

  2. Rebecka

    You are one lucky brooch gal! Next time you go to a good boot fair,i’d love to come along..XX

  3. Helga

    Excellent tips,darl!
    Great score on the 3 40’s celluloid brocches!
    My best scores have been as you say,in piles of junk in an opshop or at a market.I buy broken stuff a lot, and that way can replace stones, or combine pieces.It’s fun.