Tuesday 24 February 2009

Exquisite Jewellery Part 3 Leaf Series

This blog on Exquisite Jewellery by W A P Watson Ltd continues to create interest across the world. Please view the comment from the USA by Mike Savage, whose mother worked on the Exquisite range in the fifties. Mike the Ring O Bells garage is still there and thank you to all for the comments and emails!

I am still waiting to hear from the company in Shirley but have been busy researching at the local library. Only 3 paper clippings were recorded in the archives. From 1965, 1972 and 1973

In the Solihull news from Saturday 27th February 1965, Exquisite had celebrated its jubilee having been founded in 1915. 14 representatives now cover the country from Glasgow to Christchurch and from Northern Ireland (and Eire) to the East Coast. The business has one section working in Paris, where patterns are constantly being added by a team of designers.

"Inspired by King Tut" was the title in the Solihull News in August 26th 1972. Exquisite was showing a new range of jewellery inspired by the exhibition of King Tutankahmun's treasure in London. Most of the necklaces and bracelets are slightly smaller copies of the actual pieces in the exhibition. While the rings are have been created in a similar design to finish the set. Made in a lightweight gold plated metal they are hand painted in vivid jewel colours. The collection was available in Beatties of Solihull and Leslie's of Station Road in September (1972).
I have researched many styles of Exquisite jewellery and have yet only seen brooches and necklaces in turquoise faux stones and pearl beads, that look quite an Egyptian style; but I am sure that these are not this collection which I have yet to see samples. In the last blog when I wrote this, several appeared for sale on the internet - so maybe next update??

The last newspaper clip was from the Solihull News dated March 10th 1973, on the retirement of employee Harold Goldsworthy after 50 years with W A P Watson. His 200 workmates clubbed together to present him with a transistor radio and the directors gave him a gold watch to mark the occasion.

In the last blog, I had looked at signed jewellery pieces and unsigned pieces. In the Scottish range (which I will discuss the various pieces in another blog) you can find many unsigned pieces. I still believe they were manufactured before Exquisite used their signature. In these two examples from the front, they are very similar, with a more flattened leaf and different coloured glass stones. The back has signs of a different moulding process. The unsigned piece has a flat mould with a riveted clasp. The signed piece has been manufactured using a rounder mould and the pin clasp has been soldered to the brooch.

I would welcome any comments on the unsigned and signed Scottish range.

These are just some of the different ranges of
Exquisite jewellery identified so far:

Birthday range
Scottish range
Mother of pearl/Abalone range
Marcasite & enamel range
Butterfly wing range
Enamel & pearl range
gilt range
silver tone range
Leaf & the tree fruit range
Multi-coloured stone range
faux gemstone range
Turquoise & pearl range
Faux jade range
Cameo range
Painted scene's range
Glass bead range
Figural range
Enamel leaf range
And so many more....

Each of these ranges will be looked at in the blog in the coming year
Today's range is the Enamel Leaf Range

In the Enamel Leaf Range, there are brooches and earrings (clip-on style)
The range has the following leaves depicted:
Horse Chestnut
Mountain Ash

All the range was painted in the greens and brown enamel as near to the natural colour of the individual leaves.

The box list has the leaf range in brooches and earrings only, but there are a few necklaces appearing on the internet for sale. These are mostly unsigned pieces. the vine seems to have been the most popular as there are many available on the market.
There are also some pieces that look to have been hand-painted, so well that the clasp and the back are also painted! However, the leaves were also available in silver-tone, gold-tone and enamelled in many other colours and marcasite etc. The same mould was used across a range of finishes.

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About Me

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Solihull, West Midlands, United Kingdom
I preserve the past. Researching family and local history. Finding about mine and other people's ancestors, is just one of my passions. I also love vintage costume jewellery made here in the UK. I write about my finds and like to research.