Just in from England, this wonderful antique Suffragette necklace is loaded with Bohemian glass emeralds, amethysts and pearls in an openwork gilt setting of paisley-like Art Nouveau curves.
I've never seen a more ornate or beautifully preserved example of 19th century Suffragette costume jewelry. Obviously, every bit of it is original, since all the many stones are perfectly matched. Even the gold foil at the back of the emerald-cut green crystals is fully intact and the snake chain finishes with its original filigree box clasp. This was certainly a jewel prized by its first owner and it's been equally cherished by her heirs. Overall length is 16.5 inches.
As you know if you collect jewelry of this type, the unusual color combination had great meaning for early feminists. 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.
Although forgotten for many years, these jewels have been rapidly gaining value since the star-studded TV movie "Iron Jawed Angels" appeared in 2004, revealing what the gals went through (including hunger strikes and beatings). Wearing Suffragette jewels is a great way to show your pride and appreciation and, now that the genre has been rediscovered, they're getting much harder to find. We're very fortunate in being able to offer you this splendid piece from an English estate.
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