This brooch is from Estonia made during the Communist era. It was at a time when materials were scarce. So, this brooch and the others I bought are made of what would be described in an auction catalogue as ‘white metal’ a low grade of silver, not the 925 standard we have in the UK or the USA. The enamelling is not as ‘clean’ and smooth as that of Scandinavian and the clasp is just an adapted safety pin. In 2011 I was in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. While wandering the medieval streets of the old town I came across an antiques shop. Now my Estonian is non existent but with the help of ‘good old-fashioned sign language’ I managed to communicate with the shop owner, and he brought out a tray of jewellery. There were four brooches in the tray, this Christmas Tree and three stylized trees with green, orange and turquoise enamelling. I was attracted to the simplicity of the design. The fact they are not pure silver and their quality is not in the same league as some of my brooches does not worry me at all. I think the shop owner was slightly surprised when I bought all four. There is a mark on the back of the Christmas Tree brooch – T32, I have been unable to track this down. I am guessing it is a design number. If anyone knows what it means please do contact me.
In the film ‘Quartet’ 2012, I spotted one of my ‘Tree’ Estonian brooches, worn by one of the extras in a dining room scene. If you haven’t seen ‘Quartet’, like opera and love Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey) and Billy Connelly, give it a go, it is a heart-warming comedy about getting older disgracefully. Here is a trailer, sadly no sighting of the brooch.
Rooftops of Tallinn Medieval Old Town
The “Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn” was made an UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1997 and in 2011 Tallinn was the European City of Culture.