The Brooch Unpinned: The Goldsmiths’ Company Collection 1961–2021

12 Apr 2021 - 30 Jun 2021 · 9am - 5pm
Free admission
The Goldsmiths' Centre
Event type

‘The Brooch Unpinned’, exhibition and online events programme, celebrates the art of the brooch and the dynamic relationships it creates – between maker and wearer and between wearer and viewer. It explores a selection of British brooches from the Goldsmiths’ Company’s unique jewellery collection, tracing the evolution of contemporary design in this most wearable and revealing of accessories.

From ancient times, a brooch could be an emblem of authority, wealth and power. Before buttons or hooks, a brooch was the only way to fix textile to the body. That relationship with the body, and with textiles, underlines the role of micro-engineering in making a brooch work. 

Brooches are versatile, can be worn to convey a message, or to spark a conversation. Brooches were at the heart of post-War jewellery design. Wendy Ramshaw referred to the brooch as ‘a portable artform’, and, as exemplified by our latest acquisitions for the Goldsmiths’ Company collection, they continue to fascinate and challenge contemporary makers. 

Brooch, 1962, Andrew Grima (made by H. J. Co. Ltd) – Photographer: Clarissa Bruce
Brooch, 2007, Daphne Krinos – Photographer: Clarissa Bruce

Online Events

The Brooch: A Versatile Jewel | 28 April

with Rachel Church

What makes a brooch such an interesting, versatile piece of jewellery? Brooches began life as dress fasteners, but their decorative potential soon made them the perfect way to make a splash and send a message.

In this talk, Rachel Church will look at how brooches have been used since the middle ages as beautiful dress accessories, as tiny pieces of art, or as canvases to send a message about politics or identity. 

Christina Jansen in-conversation | 19 May

with Anna Gordon and Jacqueline Mina

Jewellers Anna Gordon and Jacqueline Mina share a fascination with precious metals. Each designs unique, exquisite jewellery, Anna exploring contrasting opposites - black and white, hard and soft, natural and man-made, delicate and strong – Jacqueline manipulating and combining precious metals in a painterly way, taking inspiration from textile drapes such as devoré velvets with etched patterns.

Director of The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh, Christina Jansen, will be in conversation with Anna and Jacqueline, considering their approach to designing and making jewellery, in particular brooches, reflecting on their inclusion in The Brooch Unpinned

Balancing the Brooch: Approaches to Design | 3 June

with Rachel Church, Daphne Krinos, Dr Dora Thornton, Ginnie de Vroomen and Emmeline Hastings

Join Goldsmiths’ Company Curator Dora Thornton and designers Ginnie de Vroomen, Daphne Krinos and Emmeline Hastings, in-conversation with jewellery writer and curator Rachel Church, as they explore approaches to designing jewellery.

In particular they will consider the brooch, as celebrated in the exhibition The Brooch Unpinned: The Goldsmiths’ Company Collection 1961–2021, discussing the need for balance, weighting and pins alongside creativity and expression.

This exhibition held at the Goldsmiths’ Centre will remain open subject to Government COVID-19 guidelines alongside an online events programme. The Goldsmiths’ Company curatorial department curated The Brooch Unpinned and associated programme in partnership with the Goldsmiths’ Centre.