Suffragette Jewellery: a Steampunk Feminist Perspective

Suffragette Jewellery: Green (Give) White (Women) Violet (Votes)

Suffragette Jewellery: Green (Give) White (Women) Violet (Votes)

Being a suffragette was a risky business, with arrest or institualization a very real threat to politically active suffragettes. Supporting the suffragette movement carried the risk of ostracization from polite society. So how could you support the movement without being overt? The answer was in Suffragette Jewellery, in the colours of the movement.

Suffragette brooch, English 1900

Suffragette brooch, English, circa 1900

Suffragette bow brooch  England  Circa 1905

Suffragette bow brooch, English, circa 1900

Suffragette Pansy French Brooch. Art Nouveau Floral.

Suffragette Pansy French Brooch. Art Nouveau Floral.

The jewellery was often quite beautiful in its own right, which meant it could be worn without too much risk. By wearing it, you could recognise another suffragette while she recognised you in return. In this manner, allies of the movement could show their support and possibly recruit new members for the cause. People often think that the suffragettes weren’t subtle, but they were. They worked on several levels, because they were fighting to breach the huge wall created by a patriarchal society.

I’ve mentioned before how jewellery can be used as a metaphor in a narrative. This is another fine example where you can add layer of significance to a character by just adding a few items of jewellery. Your suffragette character can wear her heart on her sleeve, around her neck, on her finger or anywhere else she might like. Your female character can be secretly rebellious, signalling a larger rebellion to come.

Suffragette drop earrings

Suffragette drop earrings

Edwardian Suffragette Pendant - The Three Graces

Edwardian Suffragette Pendant – The Three Graces

Suffragette Tourmaline ring, circa 1901-1914

Suffragette Tourmaline ring, circa 1901-1914

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12 Comments

Filed under Analogy, Bling, Steampunk, Steampunk Feminist, Suffragettes

12 responses to “Suffragette Jewellery: a Steampunk Feminist Perspective

  1. How beautiful is that jewellery! I’ve always been drawn to purple/green colour combos but never realised that it was related to such an awesome movement!

  2. I just needed to finally comment here. I’m a new follower and have so enjoyed your posts! Especially the ones pertaining to the suffragettes! I’ve been working on my steampersona and know that she will certainly be working with the suffragettes. The jewelry was something I hadn’t heard of. Thanks for your awesome blog. I look forward to future posts!

    • Suffragettes are making a big comeback at the moment. I know of at least two projects, a movie and a graphic novel, that are coming out this year with a suffragette theme. Life is just brilliant sometimes.

  3. How fascinating! I had never heard of suffragette jewelry. No wonder i’ve always liked purple (or lavender) with green. 😀

  4. The Suffragette bow brooch is beautiful! It is nice to know the meanings behind this jewelry. Chris

  5. Just found this article, what an amazing piece of history! Thanks so much for sharing this story. You’re an awesome writer and you have a new follower! 😀

  6. Fascinating thanks for sharing

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