Read’s in Rosebank have in stock a beautiful 15 carat pendant in the suffragette colours of purple, white and green. The term suffragette refers to women who were involved in the movement of attaining the right of women to vote between the late 1800’s and 1928.
It is important to note that the colours of purple, white and green were never officially adopted by any suffragette group, although they were widely used by the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in England at the time. These three colours, in fact, became so associated with the organisation and suffrage in England,, that most people of the period, men and women, were aware of the connection. The colours represent freedom and dignity (purple), purity (white)and hope(green). Jewellery with these colours was worn to indicate public support of the movement.
In 1908 Mappin & Webb, the London jewellers, issued a catalogue of suffragette jewellery for Christmas and in 1909 the WSPU presented specially commissioned pieces of jewellery to leading suffragettes Emmeline Pankhurst and Louise Eates.
The pendant that Reads presently have is set with pearls, peridot and amethyst on a 9carat gold chain and is dated circa 1900.
Read’s in Rosebank have some really interesting and beautiful items of jewellery that really give an insight as to how women in Victorian times were living their lives. Women generally have always been interested in nature and this is reflected in the jewels of the time. Read’s have several Pansy brooches, one in particular is a most beautiful Bohemian garnet pansy brooch about 3.5 cm across and another is a Victorian silver gilt citrine and amethyst Pansy brooch which has a completely different feel. The Pansy flower was used extensively during this time as the Victorians were very taken with the language of flowers and the meaning of Pansy was and is “You are in my thoughts” The Pansy jewellery appeared in many forms and with different gems. Read’s also have Pansy rings, which are highly sort after and collected.
Then together and to compliment the flower jewellery there are the insect brooches, which are very decorative, appearing in all sorts of gems from diamonds and rubies to garnets and turquoise.
The Victorians were great romantics and hearts are found in abundance in jewellery, some collectors specializing in them.
Jewellery is always closely tied to economics and when one looks at an item of jewellery it nearly always tells a story for example during the Anglo Boer war diamonds were not readily available in England and one sees the jewellers using other semi precious stones like peridots, seed pearls and amethysts.
Read’s is well worth a visit to feast your eyes on wonderful jewellery.
Click here to view Read’s SAADA member page.