The "Czecho" signature on these lovely Suffragette earrings lets us date them precisely 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. Bohemian glass has been prized from medieval times and the stones here certainly live up to the area's reputation. Its enamelwork was admired, too, and that features here, as well.
Although the dating is technically transitional, falling between the death of King Edward and the period dominated by geometric Art Deco style, these earrings are extremely Edwardian in spirit, so would have been crafted soon after the war. The screw backs are also right for that period, when women found ear-piercing rather barbaric.
I especially love the fresh apple green of the emerald-cut faux peridots, which repeats in tiny round stones on both white-enameled blossoms. Stronger hues come into play, in accents of faux emerald and amethyst.
As you know if you collect Suffragette jewelry, this 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.
Measuring about 3/4 of an inch tall and a 5/8 of an inch wide, these are large enough to be noticed easily, but not overpowering. They reached us from a St. Louis estate in superb condition -- not unusual, because Suffragette jewels were worn typically for meetings and marches, rather than on an everyday basis. Assuming careful storage, the stones and even the gilt metal settings can look practically new. In this case, only the actual screws have darkened with age, since those weren't gilded.
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 good selection, but demand keeps growing. If these strike your fancy, you'd better not delay.
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