One of my favourite book series when I was growing up was Anne of Green Gables. For those who are not familiar with them, the books are about a young orphan girl with red hair called Anne Shirley who goes to live with a middle aged brother and sister, Matthew and Marilla, on Prince Edwards Island, Canada. The couple has requested a boy to help with the farm but were sent a girl instead. The 8 book series, first published in 1908, covers Anne’s life from childhood through to marriage and motherhood.

A dramatic scene in the first book is when Marilla thinks that Anne has stolen her amethyst brooch.

Chap 13 – Marilla wore her amethyst brooch to church that day as usual. Marilla always wore her amethyst brooch to church…That amethyst brooch was Marilla’s most treasured possession. A seafaring uncle had given it to her mother who in turn had bequeathed it to Marilla. It was an old-fashioned oval, containing a braid of her mother’s hair, surrounded by a border of very fine amethysts. Marilla knew too little about precious stones to realize how fine the amethysts actually were; but she thought them very beautiful and was always pleasantly conscious of their violet shimmer at her throat, above her good brown satin dress, even although she could not see it.

Recently, I purchased the amethyst mourning pin pictured at the top of the post and it reminded me of Marilla’s much-loved brooch.  Her brooch was oval while mine is not, but it does have a central compartment containing braided hair, surrounded by a border of beautiful amethysts.

Amethyst mourning pin

The amethysts, which are foiled, are a beautiful deep purple and make the mourning pin very striking. It is easy to see why someone would treasure such a brooch and wear it for formal occasions.