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Sweetheart Jewelry


Wait, Artifact Wednesday? Because today is Valentine's Day, we decided to present a couple of special pieces in our collection! (But we will also be posting a special Artifact Friday this week, so be watching for it!)

The concept of “Sweetheart Jewelry” was developed as early as World War One, but it is most prominently remembered from World War Two which is what is covered in this post.

Because of World War Two, rationing of precious metals and substances began, so typical necklaces, bracelets, and rings were not produced during these years.

But, men still wanted gifts for their wives, fiancés, and sweethearts back home. Gifts that would symbolize their fidelity, and affection, and represent the country they were serving.

Manufacturers came up with "Sweetheart Jewelry". Sweetheart jewelry took up all forms including necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, pins, and even makeup compacts.

This jewelry was made from recycled materials including metal, glass, and even items that your typical soldier would have on hand.

 The design of the jewelry was most often patriotic, but it was also unique to the branch in which the man was serving. For example, US Army Air Corps sweetheart jewelry had the wings on it, the Navy had the anchor, and the same was true for each of the other branches being represented by their insignia.

  My grandmother received a sweetheart necklace from my grandfather when he joined the Marine Corps, and it had the USMC emblem on it.

Our collection is home to different sweetheart jewelry pieces.

The two I will highlight today are items that were gifted to sweethearts of two Second World War service members.

One is a heart pendant with the US Army Air Corps emblem on it (pictured above). While we know little of the backstory as yet, this was apparently given to the sweetheart of Leonard Bolain. Leonard Bolain served in the US Army Air Corps during World War Two.

The other piece of jewelry we are featuring today is a sweetheart bracelet that belonged to Robert Abb, a bombardier on a B-17 Flying Fortress. He met Margaret Louise Loop when he was stationed in Idaho teaching bombardier school. During this time, he purchased and gave her a bracelet with the bombardier symbol on it.

The brutal reality of this war greatly affected the men who fought it in so many ways. But the most prominent way was that it helped them prioritize what was truly important in their lives, and one of these things was building a legacy of love with the women for whom they were fighting. It was future hopes and dreams like these that kept these men alive during the darkest days of the war.

These pieces of jewelry symbolize what they were feeling and are great reminders that we should always treasure the ones we hold dear.

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