Where do you find your brooches, is one of the most asked questions I receive.
And it's also a difficult one to answer because I source stock from individuals, online, as well as at fairs and markets in the UK and Europe. I have built relationships with dealers who contact me when they have items that they think I will like.
The summer of 2021 I was extremely pleased to be able to source unworn, mint condition brooches from the 1980s via my favourite dealer. Attached to velvet sample cards with an insert noting their serial number, price and date of manufacture these brooches have been a wonderful flashback into the classic styles of the 1980s.
The remaining styles of these brooches are only available in person with me at Clerkenwell Vintage Fair.
They were designed and manufactured by Karl Fleischmann GMBH & Co.
According to the website "Fleischmann Company was founded in Pforzheim / Germany in 1948 and soon moved to the fashion jewellery centre – the small Bavarian town of Kaufbeuren – Neugablonz in 1964.
Designing and producing jewellery, brooches and buttons for the garment industry they later branched out and now specialise in swimwear and lingerie findings. They now produce functional parts for fashion garments – like rings, sliders and hooks – as well as fashion accessories, closures or beads. They offer bespoke design services and continue to develop and manufacture unique items for their customers worldwide. They are primarily based in Germany but have a Hong Kong site as well.
Their website covers all of the design and manufacturing processes. http://www.karl-fleischmann.de/en/produktion/schleudergussverfahren
It’s a treasure trove of photos, facts and explanations for all of the processes used to make costume jewellery in the past and today. Centrifugal and die casting, electroplating, lacquering, gluing and enamelling as well as quality control parameters. Because it is a site for their potential customers Karl Fleischmann GMBH & Co clearly explains why some items are more expensive based on the materials and processes needed to produce them.
In the 1990s I worked in the Social Marketing division of Durex selling unbranded condoms to charities, NGOs and the UNFPA. I sold in bulk. Forty foot containers of product. I was responsible for the entire business cycle from pitching, bidding, and receiving a customer order to creating a specification of product and packaging, ordering materials, as well as coordinating the logistics with the factory, and finally arranging the shipping of the finished products.
I visited the factories that produced the condoms, as well as the boxes, leaflets, and silicon. My favourite factory was the one that produced the specialised medical grade foil that wrapped the condoms. It specialised in recycled paper. There was a giant mixer/blender machine that pulped the paper. If you stood near it for a few minutes you became covered with a fine layer of paper mache´. Cool.
In short, I love a good production process and factories are my jam. And now I have brooch factories to visit…Heaven.