One of the best known range of jewellery by Exquisite of Solihull was the Souvenir Scottish Jewellery range.
The most popular piece of jewellery in this range were the brooches that were produced over a very long period.
The combination of lucky white heather sprigs and/or purple flower thistles, all tied up with the Exquisite trade mark ribbon or bow was produced in many different styles.
All things Scottish had become very popular by Queen Victoria’s passion for her beloved estate Balmoral, and this popularity continued into the twentieth century
Exquisite made gilt jewellery from 1914,and before moving to Solihull in the fifties was already making souvenirs from their premises in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. Many of these souvenir brooches were sold in Scotland and were widely available in many small souvenir shops. From the number in Birmingham and other places – I think they were also readily available across the rest of the UK.
So far I have counted at least a dozen different styles of the Scottish brooch. One source confirms that three brooches were registered in 1962. These brooches will have “EXQUISITE” and “REG” with the copy right sign on the back. The design numbers were 905225, 905226 and 905227.
However many of the brooches have “EXQUISITE” signed on the back of the brooch only without a copy right mark
Some have Exquisite in script on a flatter plaque with no copy right sign.
You can also find brooches that are unsigned with a riveted pin fastening – denoting an much earlier date probably pre 1950s.
Early brooches are also different in that the pin is in a gilt or gold metal. Where as the later brooches, the pin is the same colour as the brooch (silver) Also differences in the manufacturing processes can be seen. Earlier brooches were cast on a much flatter plate than later brooches, which have a more rounder and sharper shape to the back
More research is still needed to confirm dating and reg numbers to designs.
The brooches were all hand enamelled and so not only can many different designs be collected but each will have a slight difference in colour. Some of the brooches have amethyst purple coloured faceted glass stones. Again some of these stones are a very pale pink ranging to dark purple in colour
The brooches differ by the way the ribbon is wrapped around them and the number of sprigs of lucky white heather. Brooches are also available in a basket design, which are slightly rarer than the floral bunches.
When I am discussing the Scottish brooch range I am only referring to the ones that are enamelled and have heather or thistles, with or without purple glass stones in silver or gold tone metal.
Exquisite also produced a range of Scottish themed jewellery very similar to “Miracle” jewellery with faux stones such as turquoise and agate which look quite different. These were produced by Exquisite during the late sixties to seventies when the rise in Miracle’s popularity started to impact on their sales, and with the cheap imports into the UK of jewellery. Ultimately combined to the demise of their Exquisite range.
Vintage jewellery from Exquisite is easy to collect and very rewarding, as they produced some beautiful and traditional pieces for over 60 years.