World War II–The American Flag–and Jewelry
Yeah yeah, Benjamin. Here we go again. Jewelry and the War and the
American Flag. Tell us about it. We really can’t wait. Yawn yawn.
'Scuse us while we take a nap.
The War, the big War, the World War II war…elicited patriotism
from many corners…not the least of which was Hollywood. There
were films made that became classics that will last as long as we
have memories. Who out there never saw Casablanca? Most know that
James Stewart joined the Air Force. Some know that our fighting
forces were also blessed with the presence of Clark Gable and
Tyrone Power. Behind the lines were Bob Hope, and behind him,
Marlene Dietrich–I want to tell you–no one in the world can sing
Lily Marlene the way she did–and Ray Bolger, and Jack Benny, and
on and on.
But there was patriotic jewelry too. A motif with rubies and
diamonds and sapphires crossed the American continent. Trumpets
blared, troops marched, and the American Flag became a bejeweled
ornament worn by the women of our country. Hollywood led the scene.
- “So Proudly We Hail” was the movie. Claudette Colbert and
Veronica Lake and Paulette Goddard wear patriotic jewelry in the
film. Flags and shields and other naval doo-dads. Norma Shearer
wears an American flag in the upper left hand corner of her white
The sacrifices the stars put up with were enormous. Enormous I
say. Why, Joan Crawford was one who was quite willing to put up
with less. In 1940 she bought a 75 carat amethyst ring and had it
mounted in yellow gold. When Ava Gardner married Mickey Rooney, her
6.5 carat diamond from Van Cleef and Arpels was also set in gold in
lieu of platinum. Platinum, you see folks, was in short supply as
it was being used by our armed forces for military purposes, and
some great stars were willing to do with less. Patriotism took on
The prevalent theme for World War II jewelry…red, white, and
blue…of course. Alice Faye and Carmen Miranda–who out there
remembers, not only the names, but also the faces–Faye and
Miranda wore the colors in their war movies. Rita Hayworth wore the
colors in the form of a ring in Blood and Sand. Even in that great
classic movie we have all seen, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,
Doc grades stones of different colors. And the colors
were…yup…you got it folks. Red, white, and blue.
And so…to quote Cyrano…as I end the refrain…I bring you a
piece to look at. The American Flag, created by a Philadelphia
jeweler by the name of J.E. Caldwell. Y’all know where to go to see
And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
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