5 things to look for when shopping Goodwill's brooches

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
November 18, 2016

Joan Rivers BroochOnce used as a functional tool to secure heavy wool or leather cloaks together, these days brooches come in a variety of styles and sizes and can make a bold or subtle fashion statement, depending on your personality, of course.

Think back to some of the most notable movies or shows depicting Grecian and Roman empires. Those large, gaudy bronze-forged pendants often encrusted with gem stones adorned to a garment were the ensemble’s focal point. Brooches have evolved through the years and today are worn for a variety of occasions.

And fortunately, Goodwill has a number of brooches available on its online store ranging from costume jewelry to some high-end pieces.

But why are some brooches $4.99 while others may cost upwards of $100? Here are some tips to take into account while shopping brooches:

  1. Name matters: When determining value, it’s always a good idea to check the brand name attached to the piece of jewelry. Naturally, a Tiffany & Co. piece is going to cost more than something more mass produced. Juliana brooches are also often high value. A Schiaparelli piece can go for hundreds or even thousands.
  2. Open backs: If you are looking for a quality brooch, then you want to find one with an open back so the stone is visible on the bottom and the top. Cheaper brooches will be closed on the bottom or glued shut.
  3. Quality control: Semi-precious stones such as garnet, peridot, amethyst, citrine, blue topaz and turquoise will increase value and cubic zirconia is always better than glass. Of course, a diamond, ruby, emerald or sapphire holds more value than a semi-precious stone.
  4. Foil beware: Look out for brooches with foil backs. They have a tendency to become damaged, unless you are very careful. If they get damp, they can start to peel. Or if you use hair spray, you can ruin the front of the brooch and the spray can sink into the back and affect stones, giving them a dead look.
  5. Determine metal type: Brooches come in all forms from silver tone, gold tone, sterling silver, gold or even platinum. The majority of costume jewelry is going to be gold tone and silver tone. The type of metal will certainly affect the piece’s value.

Goodwill’s online stores—eBay, ShopGoodwill and Etsy—are all great places to find the perfect brooch, and be sure to check out our Sparkle Sale November 22 - 30 in our online stores!


Andrew is a Content Specialist for Seattle Goodwill and has a wealth of writing, communication and digital media experience. He loves all things sports related and owns a treasure trove of memorabilia. He also enjoys storytelling, the outdoors and sugar is his kryptonite.

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