Sweetheart badges, pin badges and regimental broaches are likely to have become fashionable around the time of the Boer War. They were made as tokens of remembrance, symbols linking loved ones with their absent sons, husbands and fathers or just merely as gifts. Very often the designs were of regimental badges or insignia or even good luck charms.
Although popularly known as Sweetheart badges, the name can be misleading as these badges or brooches were given to mothers and daughters as well as sweethearts or wives. Many veterans wore tie pins and lapel badges to signify their pride in their regiment or their service.
These badges come in a huge variety of designs made of many different materials and were designed to be fitted onto blouses, jackets or dresses. Sometimes made of precious metals such as silver and occasionally gold but more often of base metals with embellishments, enamelling and sometimes mother of pearl or other decorations.
Many different jewellers and badge manufacturers produced these badges with the earliest being from the late 1890's, through WW1 (when they reached their peak of their popularity) throughout WW2 and up until the 1950's and 60's.
Although not as popular these days, they are still produced by a few jewellers (my own son bought a solid silver Yorkshire Regiment broach for his mother prior to his deployment to Afghanistan in 2012 which she has worn with pride ever since).