Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Symbols of Love - Scottish Luckenbooth

Locked booths were shops in Edinburgh from St Giles to Canon gate on the Royal Mile. They became the city's first Jewellery shops in the 16th century (1700's). At least the first permanent jewelry shops as traveling vendors did exist. It was these shops that gave the love token, Luckenbooth it's name.

Traditionally given to a bride by her groom on her wedding day as a symbol of love (heart) and loyalty (crown). It was believed to ease child birth and insure good breast milk. Later it is pinned to the blanket/shawl of the baby as insurance against the child taken by the "wee folk" and to protect against evil spirit

Today the Royal Mile still produce these love tokens. Hamilton & Young offers the two above.

Often Luckenbooths are decorated with the thistle. The legend is the guardian thistle saved an entire Scottish army in the Battle of Largs in 1263. A soldier of the Norse invading army stepped on one, cried out, alerting the Scots. The Scottish defeated their attackers that night. It became the national emblem of Scotland along with the along with the Latin motto, Nemo me impune Laecessit -"No one provokes me with impunity."

The Crown on most Luckenbooths are designed after the crown of Mary Queen of Scots. She gave a Luckenbooth brooch to her betroth. Her gift was decorated with her monogram and a thistle.

The above luckenbooth is offered by Schredds. It is a lovely antique hand engraved brooch circa 1870.
These jewelry pieces have traveled the world. They were used as trade jewelry with the six nations and Iroquois Indians. Inspired the Iroquois created their own "Iroquois brooch"

When we look at the Luckenbooth, we can see a symbol of love. Love of country, of wife and of children, made by Scottish artists. No wonder the Luckenbooth is said to be most romantic artifacts of Scottish history.

The last brooch shown is made by Historic Impressions.

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