Skip to content


Victorian acrostic ring with multiple gemstones

Rings vs. Brooches: A Journey through History with Roberts & Co

Unravelling the Threads of History: Rings and Brooches

In the ever-evolving world of jewellery, two pieces have consistently held their ground - rings and brooches. Regular and steady sales suggest their enduring appeal, creating a fascinating subject for exploration. This journey delves into their historical use and the changing tides of popularity, shedding light on their significance in the world of fine jewellery.

A Historical Perspective: Rings

The history of rings in jewellery is as rich and varied as the cultures that have embraced them. In many societies, rings have been used as symbols of power, wealth, and love. The Egyptians, for example, saw the circular shape of the ring as a symbol of eternity and often used rings in their wedding ceremonies.

A collection of vintage and contemporary brooches from various cultures and periods.

In Ancient Rome, different types of rings were worn to signify social status. Iron rings, for example, were often worn by the lower class, while gold rings were reserved for the higher classes. Additionally, signet rings were used by important figures to seal official documents.

In medieval times, rings were used not only as a fashion accessory, but also as a practical tool. Some rings were designed with hidden compartments to carry perfume, poison, or relics. 

Gimmel rings, originating from Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, are fascinating pieces of jewelry characterized by their unique design of two or three interlocking bands, symbolizing unity and love, traditionally used for engagements and marriages.

An Egyptian-style ring on a vintage backdrop, illustrating the circular design symbolic of eternity.

The Victorian era saw the rise of "acrostic" rings, where the first letter of each gemstone spelled a word or message. For example, a ring set with a Ruby, Emerald, Garnet, Amethyst, Ruby and Diamond would spell "REGARD", a popular sentiment in Victorian jewellery.

Today, rings continue to hold great symbolic value. Engagement rings and wedding bands, for example, are a universal symbol of love and commitment. They have also become a platform for self-expression, with people choosing rings that reflect their personal style, beliefs, and values.

Diverse assortment of Roberts & Co rings with varying styles and designs.

The ring collection at Roberts & Co features a mix of traditional and contemporary designs, reflecting our deep appreciation for the rich history of rings.

A Historical Perspective: Brooches

In the annals of jewellery history, brooches have held a significant place due to their dual role as both practical fasteners and ornamental pieces. Initially, brooches were simple utilitarian items used to hold garments together. Over time, they evolved into ornate pieces of decorative jewellery, often carrying symbolic or sentimental meaning.

Collection of finely crafted brooches by Roberts & Co, displayed on a contrasting background.

The ancient Romans, for instance, used brooches known as fibulae not just as cloak fasteners, but also as status symbols. These fibulae varied greatly in size and decoration, reflecting the wealth and status of the wearer. Moving forward to the Victorian era, brooches became a way of expressing personal sentiment. The popular mourning brooch, containing a lock of hair from a deceased loved one, is a poignant example.

An exquisite collection of brooches, showing the evolution of brooch design from different cultures and periods.

In the 20th century, brooches transformed into a medium of artistic expression. Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods introduced brooches with complex designs, geometric shapes, and a wide palette of colourful gemstones. Today, brooches continue to be versatile pieces of adornment, adding a touch of elegance or personal flair to any outfit.

Close-up of a detailed and ornate brooch from Roberts & Co's collection.

At Roberts & Co, we honor the rich history of brooches, crafting pieces that blend historical influence with modern style. From the understated and elegant to the bold and extravagant, our brooch collection offers something for everyone.

The Popularity Contest: Rings vs. Brooches

At Roberts & Co, we pride ourselves on our diverse collection of stunning jewellery pieces. Among these, rings and brooches often stand out as customer favourites. However, determining which of the two takes the crown for popularity can be a challenging task.

"A variety of elegant ring designs from Roberts & Co's collection displayed against a simple background.

Our sales trends indicate a consistent interest in both pieces, with their demand fluctuating based on factors such as fashion trends, personal style, and cultural significance. Rings, often symbolic of commitment, have traditionally been a top choice for customers looking for a personal or sentimental gift.

Brooches, on the other hand, offer versatility and a unique touch to any outfit. They can be worn on a lapel, scarf, or used to add sparkle to a bag. This versatility, combined with their historical charm, has seen them regain popularity, especially among customers looking for a piece that makes a statement.

A range of intricate brooch designs from Roberts & Co showcased on a lush velvet background.

Ultimately, the choice between a ring and a brooch often comes down to personal preference and the intended use of the piece. Whether one seeks the personal symbolism of a ring or the versatile charm of a brooch, Roberts & Co is here to meet those needs with our exquisite collection.

The Verdict: Rings and Brooches

Both rings and brooches have a long and storied history in the world of jewellery. Over the centuries, they've transformed from simple, functional items into elaborate pieces of personal expression and symbols of status and commitment.

A diverse selection of beautifully crafted rings and brooches from the Roberts & Co collection.

Rings, with their unbroken circle, have long been tokens of eternity, love, and power. Brooches, on the other hand, started as practical items before evolving into decorative accessories, worn as much for their beauty as their symbolic significance.

At Roberts & Co, we are proud to carry forward this history, offering an exquisite selection of both rings and brooches. Our collection ranges from classic designs to innovative styles, all crafted with meticulous attention to detail and a deep respect for tradition.

A close-up shot of a hand wearing a finely detailed ring from the Roberts & Co collection.

So, whether you prefer the timeless elegance of a ring or the distinctive charm of a brooch, we invite you to explore our collection. The choice, as they say, is yours!

Previous article Evolution of Wedding Rings: From Traditional Bands to Modern Eternity Rings | Roberts & Co