Home Front – WWII Sweetheart Jewelry

 

Anne Clare, The Naptime Author, was kind enough to allow me to steal this article off her site, so Pacific Paratrooper could deliver a sweetheart of a post!  Please go visit her and enjoy her other historical posts!

Does your family own any jewelry from World War II? Curator Kathleen Golden shares a few sweet pieces from our collection.

In honor of Valentine’s Day and the giving of trinkets and baubles, I thought it would be fun to share a collection of objects in the Division of Armed Forces History called “sweetheart jewelry.” Sweetheart jewelry first became popular during World War I, as a means of connection between wives, mothers and sweethearts back home and the men fighting overseas. It was one of many things that soldiers either made or purchased, along with pillowcase covers, handkerchiefs, compacts, and the like. But while the practice began back then, the concept really took off during the Second World War.

Sweetheart jewelry of World War II vintage was made of a variety of materials. Due to the rationing placed on metals during the war, many of the items were made from alternate materials such as wood and plastic. Sterling silver was not rationed, so it was used to produce better quality jewelry.

Why was this type of jewelry so popular?

It was fashionable: rationing of material resulted in clothing with little embellishment. Pinning a brooch on a lapel or wearing a locket gave the wearer a little bit of glitz.

It was patriotic: many of the pieces were produced in the shape of patriotic symbols; the flag and the American eagle were most often depicted. The slogan “Remember Pearl Harbor” found its way onto many pins, often accented with a pearl. Several of the costume jewelry manufacturers of the time, including Trifari and Coro, made patriotic-themed pieces.

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It reflected a sense of service: many women proudly wore the pin version of a “man-in-service” flag, the blue star in the center, on a white background, with a red border, to indicate a son or husband in service. The service pins, more rarely, could have two or three stars, and rarer yet, could contain a gold star to indicate a death in service.

The collection in the Division of Armed Forces History contains numerous examples of the types of jewelry I’ve outlined. Here are a few favorite examples:

The production of sweetheart jewelry pretty much ended after World War II. In recent years, collecting the vintage pieces has been on the upswing. But during the war, it seemed that everybody had a piece or two.

While rummaging through my grandmother’s jewelry box a number of years ago, I found this patriotic pin:

The “Uncle Sam” hat is embellished with rhinestones, and on the brim is written “In Service For His Country”. I don’t know the particulars of how it came to be in her possession; my grandfather didn’t serve in World War II, but family members and friends did. I’ve worn it from time to time, usually on a patriotic holiday, or if I just feel like giving a shout out to our soldiers serving overseas. One day, in memory of my grandmother, it will become part of the museum’s collections.

Kathleen Golden is an Associate Curator in the Division of Armed Forces History. 

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Click on images to enlarge.

 Home Front Humor –

“When you boys finish with your Civil Air Patrolling, I’ll have some iced tea ready for you.”

“But Ida, do you think you’ll be HAPPY polishing shell casing?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jude ‘Frank’ Babineau – Toronto, CAN; No. 2 Forward Observation/Royal Artillery. WWII

Ceaser Cellini – Cliftin, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/11th Airborne Division

MAY WE ALL REMEMBER ANZAC DAY, 25 April 2019

Peter Fitanides – Natick, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 406/102nd Ozark Infantry Division, medic

Frank Gonzalez – Tampa, FL; US Army, WWII, Sgt., 738th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion

Marshall Heffner – Ocean Springs, MS; US Merchant Marine, WWII, ETO

Elmer Janka – Wautoma, WI; US Army, WWII, ETO, 1st Infantry Division, Signal Corps

Frank Keller – Murray, KY; USMC, WWII

Ivan Miles – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Army, WWII

Charles Parker – Slagle, LA; US Army, WWII, medic

Olen Shockey – Lexington, OK; US Navy, WWII, PTO, LCS Machinist Mate 1st Class

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on April 25, 2019, in Home Front, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 125 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    VALUABLES…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We do see many modern day military trinkets around these days, your post made me realise that these same patriotic trinkets, must have also been around during the war years in various forms. Definitely worth keeping an eye out for as they do symbolize much to many people and are worth collecting for war memorabilia.
    Great re-post as usual gp.
    Would love to locate one of those WW2 Clickers though.
    Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Moet ook erg belangrijk geweest eijn in oorlogstijd een geschenkje dicht bij je hebben dat je moed gaf en en verbinding met diegene die belangrijk voor je waren

    Liked by 1 person

    • Een soortgelijk idee bestaat vandaag de dag met het geven van schoolringen en belofte ringen. Een deel van je geliefde wordt gekoesterd. Bedankt voor het langskomen, Mary Lou!

      Like

  4. Ingenuity, the war gave some good things too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Apropos of my earlier comment, Look what I stumble across today . . . https://www.nma.gov.au/explore/blog/convict-love-tokens

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It was one of many things that soldiers either made or purchased. Like your post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. In the midst of lonliness and hardship, life was easy during those times.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A couple of years ago I was in Paris and had convinced a publisher that an article I was researching on sweetheart jewelry would be interesting. They bought it and off I went to do my research. My dad, a WWII vet, got sick that same month so I stopped researching and made my way back to the states. He passed away two weeks later and I never did finish that article. So thanks for reposting this. It made me think of better days.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I hadn’t hear of these, although I knew of the tokens and trinkets exchanged between loved ones when convicts were transported to Australia, dating back to the late 1700s. I spotted one necklace made from a 1944 Australian Florin in your photos. I just sent a batch of florins to auction! (still coins, not remodelled).

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t have any of the jewelry but those are amazing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I can only imagine how important it was, G. How significant it was to loved ones. Thanks for sharing. And thanks to Anne as well. I enjoy her blog. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was looking for a different kind of story to break things up and there was Anne’s post!! She was kind enough to allow me to do this. I’m so glad you already know about her.

      Like

  12. What a lovely and romantic post, GP! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ook in de oorlog willen mensen wel eens een extraatje om zich zelf op te smukken

    Liked by 1 person

  14. creatively
    caring
    crafts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is marvelous, GP. I do have a thing for vintage costume jewelry. This was a fun, change of pace, yet still perfectly relevant to your blog. Thanks for sharing. Hugs to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This was delightful, GP, and very informative. I hadn’t thought about the rationing of material and how plain clothing was. That makes the jewelry even more special.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Anything that helps, I’m in soldier.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. How interesting, GP. I’ve never seen such things, and hadn’t even read of them. I can imagine that they might not have made it into the general antiques markets because family members who have such pieces want to keep them and pass them on.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’ve got Trench Art, but not any jewelry..that I’ve found yet! I reckon mom’s got some lying around somewhere. Maybe!
    These are so much fun, I’m glad you shared with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ohhh, I will check this site out! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Would have been a nice treasure for both to have actually. My family never had these either, but hope those who did will keep them for future generations.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thanks so much for the mention, GP, and I’m so glad you (and your readers) found the topic interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Great article. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Fascinating facts and images, GP. I don’t think our family has Any of this jewelry, but my dad made a lighthouse table lamp out of a brass shell casing. He was in the Royal Dutch Navy on submarines.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I have an RAF wings sweetheart broach that belonged to my mother. It wasn’t from my father as they didn’t know each other during the war, and they were only teenagers. I don’t know it’s history, she never really talked about it, so it’s all very sadly vague.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Good one, GP. Interesting pieces of history.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. That’s really lovely! Had not seen these before.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. This is wonderful, my great grandmother had a metal shaped bracelet with a heart and names in it sent by my GF from overseas, he made it himself. I still have it!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. What an unusual subject for a post. Very interesting though. Thanks for sharing it!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Sir, I am going to reblog this article for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I didn’t find any such ornaments among mother’s things…but her husband to be was a Scot!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I enjoyed that. Anne always does a good job with her posts.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Sweet post, GP. Love the embellished Uncle Sam hat. I realize that time passes and as the daughter of a WWII vet, I was more surprised than I should have been that these men are now the grandfathers and great grandfathers of younger people today. (Makes sense since we are likely grandparents ourselves if we had kids.)

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Another way to involve everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I don’t think this was a thing over here, I hadn’t heard of them either. Cigarette lighters made from bullets are though! 🙂 I see a fair few on our war museum travels.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Dad gave my mother a heart-shaped locket for their first anniversary–with pilot’s wings on a pearly background. Yes, it’s mine now. I was born the next month–two days before D-Day.

    Like

  37. How cool is that. If I have one of those, I’d love to wear it going to see the Memorial Day parade or Fourth of July parade with my red, white and blue outfit. Love the cartoons.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Sometimes antiques vendors at antiques shows not only display war medals and pins, but also civilian jewelry from that period, as well. All of it is interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Wonderful, never heared or read before. I think here in Germany i should not wear such things? 😉 Thank you and best wishes for the day! Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  40. They always go down well on our antiques programmes

    Liked by 2 people

  41. How interesting and unusual, GP. I don’t recall anything like this being worn by my family in London during the war. At least none I was ever shown, or told about. Good to see that they will be remembered.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Thank you for linking to this story.

    Like

  43. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  1. Pingback: Home Front – WWII Sweetheart Jewelry — Pacific Paratrooper – Michael D. Turashoff

  2. Pingback: Home Front – WWII Sweetheart Jewelry | homethoughtsfromabroad626

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