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The jewel-encrusted arachnid joins other similar brooches she has worn for the cameras, including a gem-set caterpillar and a diamond butterfly.

Both in retail and at auction, the fortunes of the brooch are improving. Relegated for many years as ‘old fashioned’, brooches are once again being recognised by a generation of buyers as an accessory bursting with personality. As the most senior judge in the country will attest, a brooch provides an accent to an otherwise formal or monochromatic gown.

Baroness Hales would no doubt approve of the Victorian gem-set frog brooch sold for £2200 at Lawrences of Crewkerne on October 10 and the splendid stag beetle brooch set with diamonds, rubies and oval opal cabochon sold for £9400 at Wilkinson’s in Doncaster on September 29.

The latter is stamped with the maker’s initials JVA for the Finnish goldsmith Johan Victor Aarne (1863-1934). He worked for Fabergé from 1880-1904, when he left St Petersburg to start his own workshop in Viipuri, Finland. As Arane’s Russian period work is signed in Cyrillic BA, the signature JVA to this piece confirms it as a Finnish jewel.

Unique and chic

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French Art Deco rock crystal, onyx and diamond brooch c.1925 – estimate £2500-3500 at Sworders on November 19.

The Sworders Fine Jewellery, Watches and Designer Handbags sale on November 19 boasts more than 80 different brooches catering for a range of budgets and tastes.

Two are perfect examples of French Art Deco – the chicest of all jewellery styles.

A crescent-shaped brooch c.1930 composed of a rows of milligrain set diamonds punctuated by calibre cut rubies comes in a fitted case for J Chaumet, de Morel and Cie (of Paris and London). Attributed to the maker (still operating in Paris after 240 years), it carries an estimate of £5000-7000.

An open navette form brooch c.1925 fashioned from frosted rock crystal, cabochon onyx and milligrain graduated diamonds set in platinum and 18ct white gold is equally stylish.

It comes in a fitted case inscribed for Alfred Hamsy Joallier, 277 rue St Honore, Paris-Cannes. Estimate £2500-3500.

Many brooches also find favour today for their versatility: they can also be hung from a chain as a pendant.

A textbook late Victorian sapphire and diamond sunburst brooch/pendant, c.1890, with a detachable fitting is estimated at £4000-5000.