It's 1908. The suffragettes are fighting for the basic right to vote. The Women's Social and Political Union claimed the colours Green, White and Purple/Violet. Now some believe this made up the acronym. Give Women the Vote. It fits but it's not really true. Give Women the Vote was not their slogan, it was instead simply Votes for Women. The reason why they choose this colour scheme is because it showed hope, purity and dignity. Now how does this fit in with jewellery I hear you say. Well, around that time there was a lot of jewellery such as brooches and rings which included Peridot (Green), Pearl (White) and Amethyst (Purple/Violet). Below is an image of a brooch we have in stock from the same period.
Now, many believe this combination of gemstones were used to show support. But after extensive research, I have found this to be only partly true, if at all. Historians say there is no written record that this was the case. Most supporters sold their jewellery to fund the movement. Maybe people who did wear the jewellery wore it as a discreet nod to the movement? Or they may have been part of the high society (think of Winifred Banks from Mary Poppins).
That's highly possible. But another fact which will debunk the theory it was for the movement is because of the King. King Edward VII loved the gemstone Peridot, as a result, Peridot was included in a lot of jewellery of that time, mid 1800s until 1900. Then you have the fact that Purple and Green are directly opposite each other on the colour wheel, making this combination a sure thing, as they are complementary colours (thanks GCSE Art).
It's a coincidence that the colour scheme of the jewellery of the time matched a slogan which the suffragettes could have used. But it does still resemble hope, purity and dignity. And who's to say any piece of jewellery means anything? After all, we all give inanimate personal meanings. We associate them with events or feelings. So if a piece of jewellery reminds you of something, like the suffragette movement, give it that label. Give it that meaning and purpose. Cherish it and enjoy it. Wear your pendant whilst being thankful for what they went through. They fought for the rights you have today.
Being specialists in Antique and Pre Owned Jewellery, we do get a lot of these pieces in, so keep an eye out on our online shop!