Wheat Flower Brooch
January 31, 2011 4:38 PM   Subscribe

Antique wheat-flower brooch. What does it mean?

There's something about it that looks like more than just jewelry. Is the wheat (and possibly wheat flower) representative of some group, belief, religion, club, or.... anything? I couldn't find anything conclusive online, but my GoogleFu is weak, and lots of pages come up just because they think I'm misspelling "flour." I'm hesitant to wear the beautiful pin without knowing its meaning.

posted by you're a kitty! to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Try searching for the symbolism of grain. Unfortunately for the prospects of getting a definite answer, it's a pretty common symbol as it's a standard one for fertility (and agrarian industry, of course) in lots of different religions and cultures. See it here on the Soviet coat of arms for the Ukraine. One of those search results noted it as a symbol of the Eucharist in Christianity - because the host is made of wheat, I guess?
posted by XMLicious at 4:55 PM on January 31, 2011

Nothing specific, but it's a common symbol in the world of Ukranian egg painting
posted by Ideal Impulse at 5:04 PM on January 31, 2011

Could the flower be a sunflower? Then it could be a piece of jewelry for someone expressing allegiance to Kansas.
posted by pickypicky at 5:15 PM on January 31, 2011

Bundles of wheat are representative of Saskatchewan probably because of all the reasons above - agriculture, Ukrainians, and Christianity being significant in the province. There is a lot of art from the province that integrates the symbol.
posted by hydrobatidae at 5:30 PM on January 31, 2011

Grain occurs in blue lodge Masonic symbolism, but not really prominently by itself.

I don't know much about The Patrons of Husbandry (AKA The Grange) but as an agricultural organization it wouldn't surprise me if wheat had some significance in their rituals.

But it may also just be a brooch that's striking enough in its design that it happens to look particularly iconic, even if it doesn't have any intended significance. (I swear there's something magic about La Loteria cards even if it is just a kid's memory game!)
posted by usonian at 6:15 PM on January 31, 2011

Wheat usually means fertility. I don't think there is anything especially meaningful about the pin, other than its striking design.
posted by fifilaru at 6:48 PM on January 31, 2011

It looks like it was probably pulled off a larger piece, like a tiara. Is it silver?
posted by parmanparman at 7:06 PM on January 31, 2011

Response by poster: Is it silver?

Maybe, I'm not sure. It has a pin backing that seems pretty integrated, so if it was pulled off of a larger piece it was done by an experienced jeweler.
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:20 PM on January 31, 2011

For what it's worth, it doesn't look like silver to me. The colour seems slightly wrong, a bit too cold and bright, but what makes me fairly confident is the spikes of wheat. See how they're shiny all the way to the bottom? Sterling silver would tarnish down in those areas, nestled behind each other, and be impossible to get that clean. Similarly, the curve where the petals join the flower, and the grooves in the centre of it, would have a nice dark patina.

The brooch may be rhodium-plated, which is sometimes used as a way to prevent silver from tarnishing, but my guess is it's silvertone metal of some kind. Not that that takes anything away from it. It's a lovely piece, very detailed.
posted by Georgina at 3:17 AM on February 1, 2011

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