Unlike the clothing, which as sellers become more savvy is becoming increasingly hard to find at affordable prices, vintage costume jewellery can still quite readily be found for pocket money - I think the most I've paid for a brooch was £15, and most of my collection were under £5. (As a result, my brooch collection has long since outgrown my first brooch board and I really need to make another one - or two).
I love kitschy vintage plastics. Bakelite is of course the holy grail of vintage plastic, but being highly collectable it's generally fairly high-priced. But other materials such as celluloid, lucite and early hard plastics aren't as trendy and so are much more accessible to those of us on limited budgets.
Kitsch plastic figural pins are my very favourite. These are the ones which can most often be found adorning my lapels (the ice skates normally live on my winter coat). If you're thinking about building a collection of vintage costume jewellery, think about which you're going to get most use of (that is assuming you're buying them to wear, which I hope you are because these darling pieces deserve to be seen). For me, the most versatile tend to be 'theme-neutral', like the bows or the oversize feathers and florals below. I also wear my dog and bird pins often.
How to buy vintage costume brooches... Unlike for most items, for which ebay would be my first stop, I've found it can be quite difficult to find a bargain on costume jewellery online - especially when you consider that the postage can add a hefty percentage cost. One way to get a bargain is to buy in small or larger 'lots' - that's how I bought both the florals above. The clear one came bundled with one other brooch, while the red daisy brooch was in a lot of eight (which also included the "to my sweetheart" envelope brooch above - I sold the rest, recouping what I paid).
The above all came from car boot sales and charity shops (except the enamel cherries, which was a gift). I can't remember exactly what I paid for each, but I'm pretty sure they were all under £3.
Building theme collections can be a fun way to focus your buying. I can't resist bird brooches whenever I see a bargain, and I have a bit of a thing for dogs and nautical themes as well. The poodle on the right is my newest addition - Mother bought it for me on a recent trip to Totnes.
Although I'm not really one for bling, I do love the understated glamour of marcasite. I owe my entire collection of marcasite brooches to my mother, with the exception of the one on the right, which I bought recently in a charity shop. It's a 'duette' - actually duette is a brand name, but has come to refer to all pins of this type - two matching dress clips fasten onto a brooch frame, so can be worn two ways. Art Deco and 50s marcasite jewellery can be found quite affordably, often cheaper than the slightly trendier rhinestone pieces.
See also: Top tips for Brooch Thrifting on Queens of Vintage.