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Today October 26th is the start of this years Period of Rememberance, the time of year when people start weaing paper Poppies, which we lose, or spend half our time redjusting and sticking pins in to our fingers or flesh in the process - or is that just me? For the last 5 or 6 years I'd chosen to buy one of the small metal pin poppies so save myself the blood loss and potential infections but in 2010 I started to see people wearing very pretty sparkly Poppies. I didn't think anything of it until 2011 when I decided to have a look and see if I could get myself one. I found it on the poppyshop website, and was pleased to see that there were three different sizes. I made my selection and ordered the small brooch for £12.20 inc postage. When it arrived I was pleased to see that the brooch is made of reassuringly heavy gold coloured metal with the red and black crystals securely inlaid. I'm not a girl who likes a lot of bling so while it is pretty and has some sparkle it isn't overly bling. As a reference the small sized brooch is 3.5cm long from the tip of the stem to the highest point of the poppy petal. Two years on the Poppy looks good as new, the crystals are still firmly in place, and the red colour applied to the bare metal between them has not lifted away despite my having put the brooch through the wash on more than one occasion. The clash of the brooch is a very solidly constructed hinged pin with a twist securing device. The Poppy is presented in a simple black card box with Buckley on the lid and the website address on the base in discrete silver lettering. Inside the Brooch is pinned to the black foam inner which has a small sticker on it stating that it is a Royal British Legion product. I have to say that prior to ordering my Buckley Poppy I'd never heard of Buckley but have since picked up several of their pieces second hand and all seem to be constructed with the same attention to detail and high quality finish. My Buckley Poppy lives on the lapel of one of my jackets year round but during the period of Rememberance it will be transferred between outfits, and it has garnered favourable comments by most people who have seen it regardless of the time of year. This year I have decided to retire my original Buckley and have ordered the new for 2013 design Buckley Poppy (medium £15, large £25) but I will no doubt be wearing both at various points over the next few weeks.
Every year towards the end of October I buy a poppy from the Royal British Legion and give them my loose change whenever I see a collection tin. Last year I bought myself one of the more fancy silk poppies, and whilst I was looking on the Poppy Shop website I noticed the Buckley brooch which had sold out. This year I made sure I bought myself one in plenty of time. Poppies grow in disturbed earth, after the Napoleonic wars poppies started to grow around the bodies of the soldiers who had lost their lives. After the WWI battles in the fields of Northern France and Flanders the poppy was one of the few plants to grow in the fields torn apart by battle. When the Royal British Legion Formed in 1921 they adopted the red flower as their symbol inspired by John McRae's 1915 poem In Flanders' Fields. The Poppy Factory was founded in Richmond, Surrey after Major George Hewson suggested to the RBL that members of the Disabled Society could make poppies. They were designed so that disabled workers could assemble them easily and this is the design is still in place today almost 90 years later. Buckley Jewellery were founded in 1989 with one aim to design and make affordable yet brilliant quality costume jewellery. Buckley have made some gorgeous Poppy themed jewellery which are available from the Poppy Shop, including the brooch I am reviewing today. The brooch is about 4 cm in length and 2.5cm wide. To look at it takes the same design as the traditional paper poppy but this is made from metal and plated with 18 carat gold and the flower part of the poppy is set with lots of gorgeous little red crystals, the black centre of the poppy is made from six black crystals. It comes in it's own black Buckley gift box, attached to a piece of sponge covered in a silky black piece of material. At the bottom right hand corner there is a small sticker with the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal logo on it. The way it is presented when in the box was very attractive. In order to remove the brooch from the box I had to take out the piece of sponge and undo the clasp on the back of it. It was a little fiddly but didn't take long at all. The clasp of the poppy is a safety type clasp so you have to twist it round in order to undo it and take the pin out. When the pin is placed back into the clasp and it is shut it feels very secure and I don't feel like it would come undone easily so I'm not worried about it opening and losing the poppy. The pin is hinged enough to attach to clothing without difficulty. When fastened to my coat the poppy looks absolutely stunning, especially against the dark blue colour of my coat. It is slightly smaller than the traditional paper poppy, but with the crystal flower and gold plated stem it certainly doesn't go unnoticed and a number of people have commented on it whilst I've been wearing it. It looks especially pretty when the autumn sun catches it and the crystals glint in the light. After Remembrance Day the box will be the ideal place to keep my pretty poppy safe until next Autumn. The Buckley Poppy is available in three sizes, the smallest costs £10.20 the largest is £25 and the medium one which I have reviewed is £15. This may seem like a lot for a poppy but all profits go towards the RBL and supporting the Armed Forces Family. Also this is a piece that can be worn year after year, as the Poppy design hasn't changed much in the last 90 years I imagine it will stay fairly similar for the next 90 years. Available from http://www.poppyshop.org.uk *************************************************************** (not in total word count) In Flanders' Fields John McCrae, 1915 In Flanders' fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place: and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders' fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe; To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high, If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders' Fields.