The next time you talk to someone wearing a spider brooch or a shark, you might wonder what they mean. Are they trying to tell you something?
For monarchs, judges and politicians of every hue, a brooch is often a message board. It's true of women at the top of the US government - and members of the ACT assembly.
Nicole Lawder knows that. She is a member of the ACT Legislative Assembly who has hundreds of brooches, so many she has lost count. Maybe 600, she reckons.
A few are traditionally made ornate items of gold, silver and jewels but most are much more modern, fashioned from all kinds of colourful, contemporary materials like resin, plastic, enamel, porcelain or wood.
Sometimes this Queen of the Brooches (as she doesn't call herself) just wears them as ornaments, say to lighten a dark suit, but sometimes she wears them to send a signal.
"When I was elected, one of the government members called me an unparliamentary name which she had to withdraw so the next day I wore my cow brooch," she says.
She wore the symbol of the name she was called like a badge of honour and as a very public reprimand and reminder to the woman opposite who had been so rude.
"Another very common one is snakes and spiders which can send a message that you think you may be dealing with someone who is a bit slippery, a bit untrustworthy, someone who may be a bit poisonous.
"One of my favourite brooches is the troll brooch which I sometimes wear if I am feeling a little under attack on social media to symbolise online trolling."
She has a friend who does a lot of work "about predator trolling" - really aggressive and terrible behaviour, using the internet and social media.
"She often wears brooches of dangerous animals like sharks and spiders and things with big teeth because she's talking about a very dangerous and dark issue."
Recently, a British judge delivered a scathing judgement against the government in London. It was widely seen by opponents of the government as the sharpest of rebukes against the prime minister, Boris Johnson, who had suspended the Westminster Parliament to, as his opponents saw it, stifle democratic debate at a moment of national crisis.
Delivering the Supreme Court judgement that Johnson had acted illegally, Lady Brenda Hale wore a great big spider brooch, shining out on her stark black dress.
Within hours of the judgement on the other side of the world, jewellery dealers in Australia were getting inquiries for spider brooches. One Melbourne and Sydney business, Helen Badge Jewellery, had five people seeking the brooch or one like it.
The Canberra politician and brooch aficionado saw a significance. "For me, it symbolised that she was dealing with someone who was quite tricky, who liked to weave a web," says Lawder.
"A spider is traditionally that kind of message, that you are dealing with someone who is quite tricky to deal with. You have to deal with them very, very carefully."
Other politicians have used brooches.
The American Secretary of State in the Clinton White House, Madeleine Albright, wore brooches with a purpose, so much so that 200 of them were exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington under the title, "Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection".
"On good days, I wore flowers and butterflies and balloons, and on bad days, all kinds of bugs and carnivorous animals," she has said.
"I saw it as an additional way of expressing what I was saying, a visual way to deliver a message."
There were other messages. "I had an arrow pin that looked like a missile, and when we were negotiating the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Russians, the Russian foreign minister asked, 'Is that one of your missile interceptors you're wearing?'
"And I responded, 'Yes. We make them very small. Let's negotiate'.
"Or, after we found that the Russians had planted a listening device - a 'bug' - into a conference room near my office in the State Department, the next time I saw the Russians, I wore this huge bug. They got the message."
When Hilary Clinton won the nomination for president, Ms Albright tweeted a picture of a breaking-the-glass-ceiling brooch.
Some reckon the Queen sends messages with the brooches she wears (and, she being Queen, she has a good collection of brooches).
When President Trump visited Britain last year, perhaps overly keen royal watchers spotted a trend.
"On the first day of the Trump visit, the Queen wore a simple green brooch that was given to her by the Obamas to signify their friendship," observed the Guardian shrewdly.
"On the second day, she wore a brooch given to her by Canada, a country with which Trump is less than pleased at the moment (also, it was in the shape of a snowflake, a classic Trump term for people who disagree with him.)
"And, for the last day, she chose a brooch the Queen Mother wore to the funeral of King George VI, so not one associated with happiness and joy.
"Queen's brooches: 3. Trump: 0."
Except that the point of sending a signal is that the other person gets the message. The Queen's might have been too subtle for President Trump.
But for Nicole Lawder, the messages are clear. She has been a badge wearer since university - and brooches are just posh badges.
Then, as a young idealist, the messages were direct and political, about Saving the Whales or banning the mining of uranium.
Today, she is more sophisticated. She participates in online brooch forums. She buys brooches everywhere she goes, from Tasmania to South America to China to opp shops in Canberra to the internet. Many are modern and stylish, particularly those by a French maker called Lea Stein.
Some are messages, mostly subtle - perhaps reminders of people and places, perhaps political.
If you see her wearing a snake or a spider or a shark when she talks to you, it might not be a compliment.