Brooches are most probably the oldest type of jewellery dating from when human kind started wearing clothes and needed something to hold the cloth together.

The first item used as a brooch was most likely a thorn.  Brooches of other material, such as flint, have been found in caves from the Paleolithic age and, during the bronze age, brooches made of bronze were in common use.

There are some distinct types of brooches, most particularly in the type of fastening mechanism, and the earliest know type of fastening mechanism was the 'safety pin' - this had a pin, hinge, spring and bow all in one place.

A round shaped brooch, rather than bowed shaped, is called 'annular' and a 'discoidal' brooch and has a solid plaque or ornamental face with a simple pin and hook on the back.  The 'penannular' brooch was developed by the Celts and had a gap in the ring.