Sunday, February 15, 2009

Scottish Heart Brooch

When Jim asked me to marry him way back in 1977 I asked him if he would give me a luckenbooth not a ring and he did. A luckenbooth is a traditional Scottish love token. I still have that sterling silver brooch and have continued to collect heart brooches over the years. I like the very simple ones and even the busy Victorian agate and cairngorm ones of the late 19th Century.

The Luckenbooth Brooch is a traditional Scottish wedding brooch given to the bride by the groom on their wedding day, and subsequently pinned to the shawl of the first baby to protect it from "evil spirits". By the 18th century it had also became a common decorative symbol in Native American costume.

The Luckenbooth has figures very similar to the Claddagh Ring, and a similar purpose of being a love token. The luckenbooth charm also continues the traditional theme of heart and crown. The earliest records of heart-shaped brooches in Scotland date back to 1503. In the 18th Century, these brooches were often known as 'Luckenbooth' brooches because they were sold from locked booths in the jewellery quarter of St. Giles.

By the mid 18th century luckenbooth tokens also featured heavily as English trade silver items to the native peoples of the eastern woodlands, particularly the Iroquois of the Six Nations. As a result, luckenbooth brooches also became a common decorative symbol in 18th and early 19th century native clothing.

Another legend of the luckenbooth is that it was a symbol of love and devotion, which Mary Queen of Scots is said to have given to Lord Darnley. It has the St. Andrew Cross, the Scottish Thistles, and Entwined Hearts.

The early brooches worked with a tongue that peirced the garment one wore the piece on but latter they had a hinged pin and finally those today have a safty clasp. Many of the older luckenbooths were fashioned from a single flattened silver coin by tinkers.Some were single crowned hearts while others where two hearts with a single crown.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

I'm looking for the author of the inscription "Of earthly joys, thou art my choice." Your single heart pin is nearly identical to the one I have. Do you have any idea of its value?

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