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We may think that mass production is a modern invention, but the Scandinavians created brooches on such a scale as far back as the 9th and 10th century. Cast in bronze from a clay mold, the Scandinavians favored an oval shape and would decorate the jewelry with detailed designs. Beads made of amber and glass were often incorporated as well. The brooches, while pretty, functioned as a clasp for Scandinavian women's dresses.
Other societies, such as the early Irish, also used brooches to fasten men's cloaks or mantles. Even the Greeks and Romans secured their clothing with the functional, yet decorative brooch.
Early brooches from the Bronze Age, like the ones in Viking-inhabited lands, were made of bronze and occasionally decorated with gemstones. The shape of brooches became more of a factor to later cultures. The Victorians like to craft brooches in the shape of Celtic knots, nature-inspired shapes such as birds and flowers, as well as cameos.
Platinum and diamonds were commonly used for brooches in the early 20th century. These designs evolved into more delicate looks and were now held on with a new safety-style catch. As brooches became purely decorative, women began to wear them in a variety of locations, including at their waist and on their shoulder.
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