May Morris was the daughter of the artist, designer and socialist William Morris. She was a talented embroideress and jeweller in her own right. May began to design jewellery around the turn of the 20th century. She was probably inspired by the Birmingham jewellers Arthur and Georgie Gaskin, who were old family friends.
May used colourful stones, often cabochon-cut (dome-shaped), and drew upon the forms and decoration of European folk jewellery. Many Arts and Crafts jewellers worked in this style. This brooch was probably inspired by a paste-set heart-shaped brooch which had belonged to the painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He had often painted her mother Janey Morris.