This unusual vintage brooch is designed after the Scottish traditional kilt pin and features the foot or claw from a grouse, the national game bird of Scotland. The claw is encased in a silver metal setting with a thistle design and a purple glass stone. This piece was made by Miracle who specialise in Celtic jewellery and mark their pieces with the word Mizpah.
Old jewellery items marked ‘Mizpah’ were given to a loved one as a parting gift. The word Mizpah is a biblical, Hebrew, word meaning ‘watchtower’ and describes an emotional bond between two people who are separated.
From the mid 1800’s, pieces of jewellery and keepsakes marked ‘Mizpah’ were given as love tokens to signify their bond. The word meant:
‘The Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from another’
In other words, ‘keep us safe while we’re apart’.
Grouse foot pins were the traditional means by which to keep a kilt from gaping open and were worn when hunting grouse to bring good luck. However, this piece was made much later, probably in the 1970’s or 80’s and was specifically made to be worn as a brooch. This can be seen by the white fluffy appearance which is less macabre looking than the earlier pins.
This unusual taxidermy brooch measures approx. 7cm at its longest point. This is a vintage piece but appears to have been kept in its box, so is in excellent condition. The box is in good condition, but the tartan design has faded to the front and one side.
If you'd like to know more about the history of grouse claw kilt pins, please take a look at my blog.