A gold antique brooch which has been handed down through generations of a family was recently shown on Antiques Roadshow. The brooch was taken along to the TV show in Surrey by Victoria Wilson, as she wanted to know more about the jewellery. In 1939, a Polish lady, Katarzyna Krauze, was taken to a Siberia labour camp by the Russians as a prisoner of war. Everything was taken from her family except her cardigan, which she used to hide a white gold brooch.
It is believed that the brooch was acquired by Victoria’s great grandmother during the late 18th Century or possibly early 19th Century. Katarzyna and her family were given a short time to pack some belongings, which is when she sewed the brooch into the lining of an old cardigan. Her husband and son were separated from Katarzyna, and her daughter Irena, at the labour camp. The brooch was kept hidden until mother and daughter were released in 1941. In 1944, the pair travelled to England. When Katarzyna died in 1953, the brooch was passed to Irena. As the brooch was so precious to her, it was never worn but stored safely in a jewellery box.
Victoria has said that although she will wear the brooch on special occasions, it will be kept in a safe. Expert John Benjamin believes that the brooch was made in Russia but said that the piece “transcends value”. Antique items all have a tale to tell, although not all as extraordinary. Useful items of antique furniture, like antique chests, are often passed down through families, forming a part of their history.
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