Graduation Gifts with a Feminist Twist
The start of summer is also the start of graduation season – a time when college and university academic years come to a close, when exam stresses are lifted, dissertations are submitted, and celebrations abound.
This year has seen a record high number of university applications in the UK and it was also recently revealed that female students are now a third more likely to apply to university degree courses than their male peers.
Today’s education trends for women are a far cry from when Emmeline Pankhurst attended a Parisian finishing school in 1873. A snapshot of societal values of her era is portrayed in her words: ‘My parents, especially my father, discussed the question of my brothers' education as a matter of real importance. My education and that of my sister were scarcely discussed at all.’
But this didn’t deter her from fighting for the rights of women. This year marks the centenary of women first being given the right to vote in the UK, the fruition of tireless and tenacious campaigning by Millicent Fawcett and the suffragist party and thereafter, upping the ante and adding controversy, by the suffragette movement, led by Emmeline Pankhurst.
With this major historic achievement in mind, it figures that an item of antique jewellery from Mrs Pankhurst’s era, or inspired by it, would make a perfect and pertinent graduation gift for modern women. An item of suffragette jewellery is of particular significance evoking laudable personal qualities shown in abundance by the suffragettes; passion, fortitude, courage, resilience and a sense of justice.
Antique suffragette jewellery largely incorporates the three colours used by the suffragettes in their campaign banners and on their distinctive body sashes – purple, green and white. The stones used in these pieces usually reflect these colours, namely amethyst, emerald or peridot, and pearls or diamonds – a stunning and distinctive combination!
A statement piece set with such gorgeous gems is sure to be treasured by its recipient and can be a symbolic reminder of how strong attributes of character contribute to achieving personal and professional goals – relevant on graduation day and beyond.
In many images of Emmeline Pankhurst and her activists, they can be seen wearing a suffragette brooch or suffragette necklace, so it’s little wonder these have become iconic, sought-after styles and emblems of the battle for equality.
Laurelle antique jewellery is proud to offer a showcase of elegant suffragette jewellery featuring a range of unusual pieces including brooches, rings, pendants, bracelets, necklaces and bangles. Each piece is handpicked for our collection, chosen for its quality and beauty.
As well as the centenary of women’s right to vote in the UK, this summer also brings two more related anniversaries – 14 June 2018 marks 90 years since Emmeline Pankhurst died and 15 July 2018 marks 160 years since she was born. For those women graduating this year, be sure to create your own memorable graduation celebration and remember the battle the suffragettes and other feminists of that time fought, to pave the way for the rights of women today.