What do Exquisite, Mirella, Dragons and WAP Watson Have In Common?
What do Exquisite, Mirella, Dragons and WAP Watson have in Common?
Answer: WAP Watson was the manufacturer of all three; Exquisite (Costume Jewellery); Mirella (Gold plated Gift ware); Dragons (from the Tudor Mint ‘Myths and Magic’ range).
I have written this blog for my friends and acquaintances in the Vintage & Antiques Community on Google+ but I hope all visitors to our site find it useful!
The WAP Watson Ltd Company was founded in 1909 by Walter Archibald Parker Watson, in Hockley Hill, Birmingham, UK but he sold the company to Augustus Power and Clarence Flint in 1914, whom retained the company name.
The company was known as producers of costume jewellery under the Exquisite brand range. My favourite has to be their ‘Birthday’ range, where they fashioned matching brooches, clip earrings, necklaces and bracelets according to the flower attributed to the month you were born. The range comprised hand painted enamel in different tones and colours. Very pretty!
The flower, in this image, is the Fuchsia for those born in July: lucky for them, it’s my favourite flower…..
The Exquisite jewellery designers were said to be Paris based but much of the jewellery was fashioned to UK flora.
The company continued to expand and move premises before ending up at Vulcan Road, Solihull, Birmingham, UK, in 1954.
Signatures were not introduced on the Exquisite brand until the mid-1950s. It is actually difficult to confirm whether or not WAP Watson manufactured your costume jewellery, as most of their pre-1950s jewellery is unsigned. You have to be familiar with their styles and range.
To complicate matters further, prior to their move to Solihull, the company sold ‘Exquisite’ jewellery wholesale. Fortunately, post 1954, the brand name ‘Exquisite’ was only used for their own range and sold directly to shops rather than wholesale.
The Mirella trade name was also introduced in the 1950s for their gold plated giftware; mirrors, pill boxes, pens etc.
Unfortunately, by 1977, the Exquisite jewellery range ceased due to competition from the Far East, particularly Hong Kong, but the company did gain some ground in the souvenir gift market. They also had a range of leather crafted souvenirs sold under the “Manor” brand.
The WAP Watson company is best known in the latter part of the 20th Century for their Myths and Magic range of figurines under the Tudor Mint brand. The Solihull factory closed in 2000.
Want to know more about Costume Jewellery. Then click on the following link to read more in another of our blogs ‘What does Radio and Imitation Jewellery have in common?‘