Rare Figural Lucky Horseshoe Suffragette Brooch c1900
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Directory: Estate Jewelry: Costume: Rhinestone: Pre 1910: Item # 1109796
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Suffragette jewelry is loaded with symbology based on colors, but this fascinating antique brooch adds another layer to the story via its horseshoe form. It's both a lucky charm and a feminist message -- a combination I've never seen before, but why not? Certainly, the Suffragettes could've used more luck; they suffered through a lot to win the vote for women.
As you know if you collect Suffragette jewelry, its quirky mix of colors held deep meaning for those who wore it. Green represented hope, purple signified dignity and white stood for the purity of their intentions. 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 it 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.
Possibly because it did double-duty, this brooch has seen more wear than the typical Suffragette jewel. Often, they look nearly like new because of being worn only to meetings and marches, then tucked away after female suffrage was achieved. Here we have a brooch in good, but not perfect, condition. The stones appear original, all with matching pointed tops, and the fastening system is right for the period (complete with elongated pinstem); however, it seems a bit of brass is missing from one end of the "shoe". I didn't notice this until I was taking pictures, so the loss isn't much of a detraction. No doubt a good jeweler could craft the missing piece, if it bothers you.
Overall size is about an inch in both directions and provenance is a Pennsylvania estate.
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