Big Antique Suffragette Brooch - Stunning Sunray Motif
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All Items: Estate Jewelry: Costume: Rhinestone: Pre 1930: item # 1030510
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When green, violet and white appear together on historic jewelry, this unusual color combination typically signifies that the piece was first owned by a member of the Suffragette movement -- for whom green represented hope, purple signified dignity and white stood for purity. The language we associate with "regard" jewelry applied, too: The "G" of green, "W" of white and "V" of violet comprised an abbreviation for Give Women (the) Vote. All this seems cryptic now, but was clearly understood by everyone in an era when messages were also communicated by which flowers you sent, how you held your fan and which corner of a calling card you folded down, if any.
To the Suffragettes' efforts through many decades in the U.K. and U.S., we modern women owe our right to vote. That right was finally extended to all American women in 1920 and to all in Great Britain in 1928. Thus, although most of the jewelry is Victorian, Edwardian or transitional, some dates from the Art Deco era.
Probable dating of this spectacular brooch would be 1920s, based on the findings and details of fabrication, as well as the style and size. Faux diamonds and emeralds are featured, along with a whopping big art glass amethyst and gilding so heavy that the metal is still bright nearly a century later. Surviving Suffragette brooches do tend to be in good shape, because most women wore them only for special events and then tucked them away as mementoes soon after the vote was gained.
Measuring 1.75 inches round, this is a jewel of impressive size and the domed shape adds to its strong presence. Openwork keeps it from being overly weighty, but there's still a good bit of heft. it's something you'd want to wear on a jacket or coat rather than delicate fabrics. The original idea must have been for it to appear on outerwear during women's marches and to be big enough for onlookers not to miss.
Provenance of the brooch is a Houston estate. Origin could be English or American, but the stones are most likely Czech.
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