Signed EXQUISITE Brooches - 1960's Designer Enamel Flowers and Leaves Brooches-Very Collectable!
Caroline Henney Vintage Costume Jewellery
jewellery, earrings, collectables
The Exquisite Company was based in Solihull, Warwickshire, Great Britain which is very near to Birmingham. Birmingham has been one of the major centres for the manufacture of jewellery in Britain for around 200 years and is still home to an area called the 'Jewellery Quarter' where you can buy jewellery from small workshops and larger concerns. There is an excellent Museum housed in an old Victorian jewellery factory; visit www.jewelleryquarter.co.uk for more information. Back to 'Exquisite'; there is little published information about the Company. Pieces of costume jewellery often bear the ‘Exquisite’ signature and from my experience of styles, I would guess the various things I have seen date from the 1950s to the 1970’s. Exquisite registered some of their designs so we can be certain that they were working in the 1960’s. They placed leaflets in some of their ranges that tell us that they have had their items “specially designed for them and protected under registered design numbers”. I have discovered these sheets in the Birthday Flower Brooches, Leaf Brooches and Earrings and Scottish Souvenir Brooches boxes. The first of the Flowers number 904077 relates to the year 1962 whilst the last registered number 914747 relates to 1964. Exquisite may well have gone on to produce their brooches for many years after this, of course. For the Scottish items they gave a Showroom address in Hope Street, Glasgow. The registration numbers given mean that the designs themselves were registered in Britain. This system of protecting a design began in the year 1842 under the guidance of the British Patent Office; however the design registration is a different thing from a patent. At the start a ‘Diamond Mark’ was used up until 1883 when it was replaced by just numbers. Many pieces of Victorian jewellery have the diamond mark; I have seen it mostly on Whitby Jet and silver. The best website I have found for reference about British Registration marks is one that relates to pottery but the facts relate to jewellery too! If you put in http://www.thepotteries.org/mark/reg.thm you will get there. ‘Exquisite’ pieces are quite distinctive, many feature coloured cold enamel work with a gold tone or silver tone finish which appears to be over some kind or pot metal or aluminium. The necklaces produced by the Company seem to have very light weight chains so would likely be anodized aluminium. Some pieces are gem set with glass cabochons, faceted and iridized crystals and press moulded glass. The most iconic and collectable seem to be the Birthday Flower Brooches, which were produced in two sizes, some with earrings and necklaces to match; the Leaf Brooches and earrings and the Scottish Souvenir pieces. They are really lovely and have been the most successful sellers on my new website www.bagthejewels.co.uk.
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