Sweetheart brooches

August 11, 2011

As a little foretaste of the photoshoot I had last monday, I decided to write a post about sweetheart brooches which are also known as 'badge brooches'. The Sweetheart brooches are essentially costume jewellery with a military theme, usually given by the servicemen to their sweethearts - hence the name "sweetheart brooch - as mementos or reminders of their absent loves. The women wore it as a token and as a support to those who were fighting at the front, but also to show their pride in having a husband or sweetheart who was serving his country.

On my shoot last monday I wore my RAF sweetheart brooch from the WW2. A gift a friend gave me when we first met. He knew that I am collecting sweetheart brooches - even though I am still at the beginning of this rather interesting collection -, so I was absolutely thrilled when I unwrapped the package, and a very old RAF brooch was displayed.

{ My sweetheart brooch - a true antique piece of history }

It fitted the shoot só well, as I was posing at the grave of a fallen Sergeant from the RAF { Jack Wilson }, who crashed with the Sterling bomber in 1943. He became only 23. The 12 graves are a part of the foundation Broken Wings, who strive to honor those in World War II, whom gave their lives for our freedom. They also want to remember the younger generation nowadays, of the sacrifices these soldiers made.

Sweetheart brooches were the most popular form of wartime jewellery - the regimental badge of a loved one who was fighting at the front. The brooches were usually made of metal, sometimes enamelled, on a mother-of-pearl background. Most of the time they came in the form of a brooch, but rings, ear-rings, and scarf pins were also available. For those who could afford it there were regimental badges set with marcasites or even precious metals set with gem-stones. However, soon the use of scarce material for jewellery was legislated against. In the area of jewellery, only identification bracelets, cuff-links, wedding rings, and studs were allowed to be manufactured, but only under licence.

Soon DIY versions of jewellery became all the rage. But I will post another postlet about that asap, as I find much pleasure lately in making felt flowers as brooches. Yes, ladies, a tutorial is on it's way!

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  1. You wore that brooch too well; it made me so very proud!

  2. How sweet! I have a sweetheart bracelet and matching locket that were my grandmother's.

  3. Wauw, that's a real treasure Tia!

  4. @ Ro; Thank you darlin'

  5. That is such a lovely present and a very appropriate gift for you- a fellow RAF loving gal!
    I bought two brooches the other day- I couldn’t believe my luck- I’m sure you would love them as much as I do- I just haven’t got around to posting about them yet!
    Felt brooches are great fun to make, aren’t they?! I have a bundle of flowers that need sewing up in my basket- Miss, you have inspired me to finish them! Tups x

  6. Yes, it's so funny, cause I am not connected to england by blood, but there'd always been something that drew me to the RAF. Maybe it's because they flew my favorite plane of all time; The Spitfire.

    I had a photoshoot at some RAF graves last monday as some sort of tribute. Well now, that brooch came in really handy, right?

    I am looking forward to see yours!



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