Edwardian Suffragette Pendant 9k Gold Pearl Amethyst Peridot

“I would rather be a rebel than a slave" - Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the British Suffrage Movement

She carried a sign and wore a purple scarf tied around the brim of her hat that covered her nose and her mouth. Most of the women there were dressed the same, carrying their own signs. A colorful crew of beautiful women, she thought as she looked around at her fellow women-in-arms. It was 1918, and they were so close, so close to gaining purchase, to finally having the right to vote, to being a true and equal part of society, to having an actual voice in the decisions which affected them every hour of every day.

A plague was ravishing Europe, the Spanish Flu they called it, because only the Spanish newspapers had been left uncensored to write and warn about it. For almost four years there had been a war on, a great war, the War to End all Wars, they said. Her fellow women had stepped up, they had taken on the jobs that their husbands and sons had left behind; they had marched into factories and stores and warehouses across the land. The men had left her town and her country in droves to go and fight on the front lines, and it was her job, and the job of all these women around her, to keep the country moving, fulfilling all the essential needs of it’s people and it’s fighting forces. So yes, she marched, and she held her sign high and she shouted from behind her covered face, because she would do this, she would push and push and push, for herself, for the daughters she had yet to have, for her nieces and her friends and most of all for her country, her beloved England.

This could be the necklace she was wearing. We’ll never really know, but it was hand crafted in England around 1910 and it is set with the colors Green, White and Violet which, possibly subversively, may have also been the letters for the suffrage movement, Give Women the Vote! The Green in this case is a sparkling round peridot drop, the White is 27 creamy pearls and the Violet is of course a wonderful amethyst heart at the pendants center. This pendant is made in 9 karat gold, as much English jewelry was at this time, and is marked to the reverse with ‘9ct’. This pendant measures 62 mm from top to bottom and is 35 mm across, it weighs 3.7 grams. There is no chain included, but we have a lovely off-line selection of chains and would be happy to help match one up, just let us know.

On November 21st of 1918, the Parliament of England passed the Qualification of Women Act which gave the vote to about 8.5 million women in the UK, however it extended voting rights only to women over 30 (the age for men was 21) who were land owners or the wives of landowners, occupiers of property with annual rents over 5 pounds, or graduates of British Universities. It would take another 10 years until laws were passed extending voting rights to all women over the age of 21.

At times the fight for suffrage was brutal and bloody, including the events of Black Friday, November 18, 1910, in which a peaceful march to Parliment turned deadly when police and male bystanders attacked the women and beat and sexually assulted many of them. Clashes with police became common and over 1,000 British women were arrested and many were kept in extremely poor conditions and often force-fed during hunger strikes. Their tactics would be adopted by the American suffrage movement and used by them to gain the right to vote with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on August 18, 1920. They fought for their rights, and for mine.

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