The "Czecho" signature lets us date this gorgeous Suffragette brooch to the first years of the Czech Republic (established in 1918). The region was previously known as Bohemia, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until World War I ended, and Bohemian glass has been prized from medieval times. Jewelry-making was a natural outgrowth of that skill.
Here the gleaming faux-gems and fancy metalwork fully live up to the area's reputation. Besides beautifully faceted pretend diamonds and amethysts, there are shimmering stones that look like green opals, formed in domed lozenge shapes -- and all this opulence rests on a ruffle of fine filigree within a frame that appears granulated with tiny golden beads. As you see, the design is almost entirely comprised of delicate openwork, so it's frankly miraculous that the jewel survived in this condition -- not perfect, by any means, but incredibly good. The gilding is worn and patinated in spots and there are little bends here and there, but all the stones remain well-attached and brilliant and the original fastening mechanism is intact. It's quite a large brooch, nearly 2 inches wide by about 1 3/8 inches tall, and its provenance is a Pennsylvania estate.
As you know if you collect Suffragette jewelry, the unusual color combination held deep meaning among 19th century and early 20th century feminists, 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.
Tucked away and forgotten for decades after women won the vote, Suffragette jewelry began rapidly gaining value when the movie "Iron Jawed Angels" appeared in 2004, revealing what the gals went through (including hunger strikes and beatings). We try our best to maintain a nice selection, but demand keeps growing. If this strikes your fancy, you'd better not delay. The last time we had such an appealing Suffragette brooch, it quickly landed in the collection of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, author of "Read My Pins".
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