A superb antique Victorian 9ct gold Mizpah brooch in excellent vintage
Stamped 9ct this has been professionally cleaned and polished and looks stunning
The brooch measures 31 x 18mm
What is Mizpah jewelry? Mentioned in the Bible, Mizpah is a Hebrew word that has come to connote an emotional bond between two people. Mizpah jewelry generally was exchanged between two people who were lovers or close friends and might be separated from each other for some amount of time, Rinker said. Some of the pieces are engraved with the phrase, “The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another,” which immediately follows the mention of Mizpah in the book of Genesis.
When was it popular? Rinker said Mizpah jewelry first came about in the 1850s and 1860s during the Victoria era and was popular through the 1880s before experiencing a drop-off in popularity. The pieces experienced a revival, however, in the early 1900s, when men were leaving their families to fight in what at that time was called the Great War (World War I).
By the end of the conflict, interest in the pieces waned and they never regained popularity, Rinker said, though “sweetheart jewelry” was popular during World War II, pieces also exchanged between loved ones separated by war.
Why did people wear Mizpah jewelry? The Victorian era was a very formal age, with strict rules for courtship; couples, for example, often were chaperoned on all outings until they were married.
The social mores of the time severely limited gift options between men and women. A man in those days never would have bought a woman clothing, and the gifting of a necklace might have suggested a closer relationship than what was acceptable. “You had to be very careful” with gift-giving in those times, Rinker says.
Enter Mizpah pieces, which could safely be exchanged as sentimental tokens of affection, some of which even containing a verse from the Bible, as noted above.
People also wore these pieces because they believed it would help their relationship grow, return their loved one to them or ensure the continuation of a friendship. They ascribed power to Mizpah, as people have done of jewelry and gemstones throughout the ages. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the Victorians and people up until World War I believed this was a kind of amulet of protection,” he says.
Will come in a Sheffield Goldsmiths gift box
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