Thursday, 26 July 2012

Glimpse of Kimberley Ladies' Glamour

This summer's seasonal display features some of the Museum's collection of costume jewellery and handkerchiefs worn by the ladies of Kimberley. Exquisite pieces from the early 20th century are tastefully arranged on a green and pink background.

Centrepiece of Jewellery Display

The beautiful faux ivory jewellery box in the centre of the photo above is made from an early form of plastic. It hails from the era when public sentiment moved away from condoning the harvesting of elephants only for their tusks yet the rich texture of ivory was still sought after.

Assembling the display pieces
Much thought and work went into choosing the pieces to display, preparing each set, and arranging them artfully,

Pheasant feather hankie

Handkerchiefs were a practical necessity before the West's widespread use of facial tissue in 1924. The Museum's collection includes some delicately embroidered and lacy examples.

Golden locket and Art Deco pin

The pin at the top right is a combination of base metal and early plastic. After its invention in 1909, Bakelite plastic and its derivatives, were quickly embraced by costume jewellery makers, camera makers, and myriad other manufacturers. Cheaper than metal and gems, the material could be readily molded and colored and did not melt once set.

The golden heart locket on the left has a unique story.  It was found during the renovation of a house with a particularly dubious past. The house was originally built, at the edge of the McGinty Trail , as a residence for one of Kimberley's first downtown businessmen.  At one point in history, those living in the house had many temporary guests.

Victorian style silver brooch with matching earrings.

This thistle set is a fine example of "cairn gorm" likely proudly worn to hold the owners "plaid" (pronounced 'play - d', the large scarf draped over one shoulder) when she was dressed in her traditional Scottish outfit.  This style was likely popularized by Queen Victoria, who received many unique pieces commission for her by her husband, Prince Albert, from semi-precious stones he found while roaming the Scottish countryside.

An original enameled cherry motif brooch

The luscious cherry motif on the enameled brooch above is still popular and much imitated.

Clip-on and screw-on earring, bracelet and pink rose laced hankie

The 'scimitar'-shaped brooch above right, is a motif likely popularized by many movies of the times romanticizing middle-eastern adventures.

These are just a few pieces of early 20th century jewellery on display now at the Kimberley Heritage Museum.  Please click on the "Hours" tab at the top of this page to find out when we are open.

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