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A Christmas Story: The Opal Christmas Tree Brooch
- Views : 152
- Category : McKenna Mulvany
- Date Posted : Dec 19, 2022
The holidays are the perfect occasion to wear all your favourite opal jewellery pieces. But there’s one trend that you may not know about, and it takes festive dressing with opals to the next level… the opal Christmas tree brooch!
After falling out of style in the 200s an 2010s, brooches are once again coming into fashion as a decorative and bold form of statement jewellery. However, brooches have an incredibly storied history, dating as far back as 3300 BCE. In the beginning, brooches served a functional purpose, and were used to fasten ancient garments such as loincloths, cloaks, and togas. As such, they were an everyday clothing item for both men and women.
During the Middle Ages (5th century), brooches began to evolve into the more ornate accessory we know them as today. Each era brought a new trend, including the mourning brooch (18th century), which is famously associated with Queen Victoria, the aigrette brooch (19th century), with delicate metalwork, bejewelled birds, and plumes of feathers, and floral spray brooches (20th century), an opal version of which was owned and worn by Queen Elizabeth II.
With their intricate and opulent designs, brooches were considered to be a sophisticated item of fine jewellery. However, during the second half of the 20th century, particularly during the 1980s, the jewellery world was changed forever with the rapid rise in popularity of costume jewellery. Practicality and glamour were replaced by over-the-top designs that often exuded humour and camp, such as the opal Christmas tree brooch.
Opal Christmas tree brooches come in many different (and creative) styles, however, the most common design features a pyramid of precious opals stacked in the shape of a Christmas tree, interspersed with rubies, emeralds, and other colourful gemstones, which act as the tree’s “ornaments”. Atop the brooch there will typically be a gold or silver star. The concept was so well received that famous fashion designer Betsy Johnson released her own version as a part of one of her accessory collections, the design of which has inspired countless look-alikes.
The Christmas tree brooch is a perfect example of the versatility of opals and how they can be used in jewellery making. What do you think of the opal Christmas tree brooch? Who knows- perhaps someday the Brisbane Opal Museum will design one of our very own!
Bernstein, B. (2016, October 9). A history of brooches: the evolution of style. https://www.thejewelleryeditor.com/jewellery/vintage/know-how/history-of-brooches-evolution-of-style/.