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Marcasite and enamel brooches, BJL Bohemian Jewellers Ltd.

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    Posted 6 years ago

    (31 items)

    **Updated with new information, see below**
    The green budgie brooch belonged to my Grandma, and she passed it on to me with another brooch in the late 70s/early 60s - I can't remember if she had just got tired of them or if I badgered her for them! She probably have had them a while, but I don't know how old they might be - 50s or 60s maybe? It's in great condition.

    I recently bought the scorpion (my zodiac sign) and the penguins. They're all rhodium plated with marcasite and enamel, and coloured glass eyes. The scorpion and penguins are signed "BJL B" with a stamp on the back of the brooch. The budgie is signed "BJL" stamped on a raised block on the back of the brooch. I have also been lucky enough to find an original Bormarc brand box (see the update below for brand name details).

    Looking into BJL, I could only find a couple of blogs saying "no-one knows what BJL stands for", but then I got lucky and found a book advertised (Marcasite Jewellery - History, Designers and Manufacturers by Patricia McMullen, 2016) which claimed to contain the information about the full name of the "enigmatic" BJL manufacturer.

    **UPDATE April 2019**
    I recently managed to find a copy of the book in the National Library of Scotland and found out the following which I have summarised in my won words below.

    Bohemian Jewellers Ltd was formed in 1946 in Birmingham, UK. They produced jewellery under the registered trademark “Bomarc”. Almost all BJL costume jewellery is signed with BJL, with some pieces carrying an extra B in addition to the BJL mark. Occasionally pieces crop up that have no stamp, but can usually be confirmed as BJL by finding the same design that has been signed. (*I've also noticed that comparing these to similar brooches from another company, that BJL brooches all have bead-set marcasites, where the metal has been pushed over the stone to secure it. Some other brands have glued-on marcasite stones, so it's reasonable to assume that unsigned pieces with glued on marcasites are not BJL - my own observations, not from the book.)

    Interestingly, they also made some sterling silver marcasite pieces. These carry the makers mark BJL with an upper-case D above the L along with other UK assay marks. This makers mark is registered to Bohemian Jewellery Ltd with the London Assay office.

    In the 1960s, BJL joined forces with Ellisons & Co. Ltd. The Ellisons branch of the business was more high end, producing gold and silver pieces under the trademarks Elmarc and Zeeta. In 1971 the company changed its name to Bohemian Ellison & Co. Ltd, changing again in 1985 to Bohemian Ltd. The company closed in 2008.

    A Bomarc advert dated June 1961 features a diving kingfisher, robin, and rose and orchid brooches. There are also a range of cameos, Limoges miniature painting brooches in marcasite-set frames, and a pendant with a large green stone in a silver or rhodium marcasite setting.

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    1. TassieDevil TassieDevil, 6 years ago
      These are gorgeous Pebble!!! The book sounds really great too for research!!
    2. pebble pebble, 6 years ago
      Thanks Ms.CrystalShip (Doors fan?) and Tassie for your comments, I don't wear them much but they remind me of my grandma when I look at them - she always wore a brooch.
      Thanks everyone else for stopping by and clicking love :)
    3. Newfld Newfld, 5 years ago
      Both the budgie and seahorse are so beautiful, totally love them
      - Jenni
    4. Gillian, 5 years ago
      I think this may be BJL Jewelery:
    5. billretirecoll billretirecoll, 5 years ago
      It's funny how they've mixed two different makers, both are nice, but I think the older ones like yours are pebble, are nicer! :^D
      Thanks for the link Gillian, and for the post, pebble! :^)
    6. pebble pebble, 5 years ago
      Thanks Newfld, Gillian and Bill for your comments :)
      I do see BJL brooches popping up on Ebay occasionally, I saw the seahorse one once but not the budgie.
      Just noticed this listing, I love these two (but not the price, lol!).
    7. pebble pebble, 4 years ago
      I've recently found some information about Bohemian Jewellers Ltd. in the book mentioned above so I've summarised the info in the main post. I've collected a few more brooches since I first posted this! I've also removed the photos of the seahorse brooch from this thread as I'm convinced it's not made by BJL.
    8. pebble pebble, 4 years ago
      Thanks valentino97, they made the budgie in blue as well, I'm always keeping an eye out for one! Research is always fun, I learn a lot from this site so hopefully this will be useful to people.
    9. vintiquechique vintiquechique, 4 years ago
      Brilliant - I was just trying to find out about a pair of BJL earrings. Thank you!
    10. pebble pebble, 4 years ago
      Glad it was helpful vintagechique!
    11. Ionalake614, 3 years ago
      Thank you for your information and 2019 update on BJL brooches - have only just joined CW and was looking for information re the same and an unusual small enamel and marcasite brooch - two children ( in white enamel ) facing each other, both wearing petal-shaped marcasite hats holding a marcasite posy between them. It has the raised BJL mark on reverse. Such an unusual theme for a brooch!
    12. pebble pebble, 3 years ago
      Hi Ionalake164, glad it was useful to you! The brooch that you described is the one representing the star sign Gemini (the twins) in the BJL zodiac series.

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