This is an unusual brooch as it is in fact a miniature painted plate by the ceramics manufacturer Coalport.  It was made in the 1950s.  More commonly ceramic jewellery was in the form of flowers, I spot this type of brooch regularly in charity and vintage shops.  They can be just one flower of a cluster put together in an arrangement.

Examples of terracotta jewellery (3,000 -1,500 BC) have been found in sites of the Indus Valley Civilization in Mohenjo-daro, present day Pakistan. A wide array of jewellery and ornaments were found, including necklaces and bangles.  Excavated finds were originally placed in the Lahore Museum (John Lockwood Kipling, Rudyard Kipling’s father, was the first curator of the museum 1887-1893), but were later moved to New Delhi (India) where the British Raj planned a new museum. With partition Pakistan requested the return of items, eventually an agreement was reached.  A total of 12,000 objects were split equally between the two countries.  To the point where some were literally split, necklaces and girdles having their beads separated into two piles.

Coalport was started in Shropshire by a farmer’s son John Rose (1772-1841) in 1799 and located on the banks of the Shropshire canal.  A year later John’s younger brother Thomas set up a rival factory on the opposite bank of the canal.  Thomas didn’t have the staying power of his elder brother and sold his factory to John in 1814.  Following John Rose’s death the company went through various owners and configurations, being finally taken over by the Wedgwood brand in 1967.

Today ceramics are used widely by a range of jewellery designers.  Brooches depicting animals, birds, flowers and household objects can easily be bought online and do not cost a great deal.  At the other end of the spectrum in the Victoria & Albert museum’s jewellery collection there is a brooch by the Netherlandish designer Peter Hoogeboom  (2009) made of bamboo, silver, and porcelain.   It is 10cm in diameter and is entitled ‘Street Vendor 4’.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London