HER SPARKLING JEWELS
|Quilt Notes: HER SPARKLING JEWELS sounds like it refers to something more valuable than jewelry — one's creative faculties perhaps, or a special love of life, or possessions more lively, like flowers exquisitely nurtured in someone's garden. On the other hand, the reference might be regal, for instance, "Her Majesty's Sparkling Jewels." In any case, just a wonderfully unusual and intriguing quilt name, even if seen from the more material-minded perspective.
According to Maggie Malone's 5,50O QUILT BLOCK DESIGNS (#1649), the pattern dates back to the Kansas City Star, which published patterns from 1928-1960. See also Malone's "500 FULL SIZE PATCHWORK PATTERNS" (includes templates, #38). Nancy Cabot illustrates the block simply as SPARKLING JEWEL. Nevertheless it is interesting that Cabot's headline for her column on March 11, 1937 is titled, "Sparkling Jewel Lends Brilliance to Quilt Design," so that the real "jewel" actually becomes the brightness of the inspiration for geometric pattern itself. Cabot comments as follows:
"SPARKLING JEWEL" is one of the lovely pieced patterns which have wide appeal and have enjoyed universal popularity since they first were pieced about 1839. It is one of the small patterns, measuring only nine inches square when completed. These blocks are set together to form an all-over design. The squares in the corners of the block form a most interesting mounting for a beautiful gem. The choice of color depends upon what type the "Sparkling Jewel" is to be, but a combination of printed and plain material is more effective than all solid colors."
As Ruth E. Finley points out in OLD PATCHWORK QUILTS AND THE WOMEN WHO MADE THEM, published in 1929 (see more at SARAH'S FAVORITE), there are a number of quilt names that seem to be quietly feminist in terms of a woman's freedom to make one's own choices, and which gradually entered quiltdom as women worked to acquire the right to vote, own property, and manage their own lives more directly. HER SPARKLING JEWELS, that is special to her, thus aligns itself with such block names.