Iconic Jewellery: 100 Years of the Suffragette in Jewellery

Jewellery has long been used for far more than mere decoration. It is a means of expression; artistic, individual, and political. Suffragette jewellery falls into this latter category, and its rich history and inspired designs work together to create pieces which are as beautiful in context as they are visually.

Suffragette jewellery is that which pays tribute to the fight for women's suffrage, or the historic act of giving women the right to vote. In some cases, the piece may have direct links to the movement, or be originally from the period. Jewellery items of this time and style will often also utilise the colours associated with the Suffragettes: purple, symbolising dignity; white for purity; and green, demonstrating hope. The jewellery will often contain peridot, amethyst and diamond to depict these colours in precious stones.

It is difficult today to distinguish that which was worn by the Suffragettes themselves during the struggle, and that which has merely been inspired and designed as a tribute to those women and their fight. The key issue with these pieces is the tendency by experts and owners to categorise any jewellery which uses white, purple and green as Suffragette jewellery, or as being inspired by the movement. The risk here is the attaching of political agenda to a piece which may not have had any indication of presenting or promoting such an association. With pieces which come to auction or under new ownership with no paper trail, proof of ownership or provenance, there is no way of attaching any intention or origin to them. All we can do is use key indicators or existing knowledge to come to an informed assumption.

Whatever the origin, Suffragette jewellery acts as a memento to those glorious freedom fighters of old; women who, 100 years ago, took a stand against the oppressive, patriarchal societies in which they existed and fought for the rights of their fellow women. The beauty of the pieces, the clarity and cut of the stones and the bright colours flashing in their settings all come together to create jewellery which is both beautiful to behold and acts as a reminder of those who have come before.

Discover our collection of antique Suffragette jewellery at Laurelle Antique Jewellery.