Anyone who knows just a little bit about Suffragette jewelry will tell you that there is a lot of debate as to wether or not it even existed outside of a few rare examples. I'm not here to argue the point, if you'd like I'd be happy to send you many links supporting both sides. The truth of it, as far as I can tell, is that 'The Women's Social and Political Union' in England was a group of courageous and strong women who stood up as one and demanded to be counted. The colors of the flags they waved and the buttons they wore were purple to symbolize the instinctual need in all of us for freedom and dignity, white to symbolize purity, and green, symbolic of hope and the color of Spring and new life.
Of course any large social and political movement has an inevitable effect on fashion and so these colors did become quite fashionable at the time and many an Edwardian lady could be found decked out in the somewhat odd combination of green, white and purple. It follows, then, that Edwardian jewelry began to be made in these colors as well. Whether this lovely pendant was made to symbolize the Suffrage Movement or simply made in the colors of the time we will never know, is it the chicken or the egg? Was it subversive? Probably not. More likely it had to do with an outward expression of comradery, of hope and the longing for a brighter future, something many of us can relate to today.
The pendant is lovingly handcrafted in 15 karat gold and set with gem quality dark purple amethysts, bright sparkling, clean white diamonds and flashing demantoid (green) garnets. Made by the famed Murrle Bennet and Company, an Anglo-German firm started by Ernst Murrle and JB Bennett, which produced pieces for retail by the store 'Liberty and Co.', famous London Arts and Crafts dealers. The company was in existence from 1886-1914, this pendant was most likely made around 1908-1910. It is marked on the back with the Murrle Bennett and Co mark and with a 15kt stamp indicating the purity of the gold.
This pendant has a very feminine look and feel and great detailing, including a hinged lower half just to give it that extra bit of movement and insures that it lays completely smoothly on the chest. This is not it's original chain, but I bought it this way, so I'm selling it this way. I think they look really nice together, the chain on it's own is gorgeous, it is French, done in 18 karat gold, it is marked with the French eagles head on the bale. I believe the pearls are natural, the chain is 18" long.
Both pieces are in excellent condition. The Murrle Bennett mark was struck a bit funny and is very difficult to see without a loupe and the piece in your hand, I purchased it from a very reputable dealer in London and have looked at the mark quite closely, I am certain that it is the MB&Co mark with the large C, but I do apologize for not being able to provide a better photo, in person it is much easier to see. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions you might have about this rare and important piece of jewelry.
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