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Taken while on display

RAN Mother - sweetheart brooch made from Mother of Pearl

Date: 1939 - 1945
Height: 33 mm, width: 44 mm
Medium: Gilt wire, nacre
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Brooch
Object No: 00015184
Related Place:Australia,

User Terms

    This handmade brooch in the shape of Australia was probably made during WWII from mother-of-pearl as a gift for a female relative. Gilt wire has been shaped to form the words 'RAN Mother' on the front of the brooch.
    SignificanceThis item illustrates the impact of separation on families and loved ones during war. Handmade tokens such as this brooch provided a direct link between those in service and those waiting at home. For the wearer, these handmade mementoes served as a visible symbol of pride and patriotism and as a constant reminder of an absent loved one.
    HistoryInitially the act of creating and giving jewellery to a loved one was adopted by Australian troops while serving overseas in World War I. Servicemen frequently had to use their creativity to craft such tokens from the scarce materials available, often making the pieces from military badges, buttons or scraps of metal. Other soldiers commissioned jewellers or metal working businesses to create the personalised items. This type of memento is commonly referred to as 'sweetheart jewellery'.

    Due to their distance from home and the young age of many troops, unmarried soldiers often sent brooches to their mothers and sisters, instead of to a sweetheart. Although sweetheart brooches were less popular with Australian servicemen than their British and American counterparts, many Australian wives, sweethearts, mothers and sisters received them from members of the Royal Australian Navy during World Wars I and II. The jewellery was worn as a reminder of an absent loved one, and often utilised designs of a national or patriotic nature.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: RAN Mother - sweetheart brooch made from Mother of Pearl

    Web title: Handmade brooch featuring the words 'RAN Mother'

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