1920s Art Deco Jeweled Suffragette Earrings
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Directory: Archives: Estate Jewelry: Costume: Rhinestone: Pre 1930: Item # 706912
GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
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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 well understood by everyone in the days 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.
These spectacular earrings were among the last examples, dating from the 1920s. By American 75-year standards, they're already antique, not just vintage. Richly embellished with faux pearls, amethysts and beautifully marbled jade(probably Czech), the earrings are highly dimensional and of excellent quality, with a nice heft. Each measures about 1 inch by 1 1/4 inches. The gilt metal features lattice-like detail and cutwork and its color is prettily patinated by age, not brassy. Based on dating, they were most likely made in England (although they could be American, produced in celebration of the Suffragettes' recent triumph here). Condition of the earrings is lovely and the original screw backs are present. Interestingly, we had this same design once before, but with lavender jades as the central stones and accents of emerald and pearl. It's beautiful, either way.
Suffragette jewelry has been rapidly gaining value since the movie "Iron Jawed Angels" appeared in 2004, revealing what those 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. These reached us from an East Coast estate.
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