The Mizpah Brooch


The Mizpah  brooch is a symbol of hope for separated sweethearts and was found by a Detectorist. The jewellery was fashioned in various forms – rings, bangles and lockets and popular in the early 20th century. The general popularity of brooches at this time, as well as the need to accommodate a six-letter word, made them the most popular choice for women. They also offered the opportunity to include sentimental symbols, such as a pair of hearts representing two people united by love, as well as ivy leaves, signifying the closely binding ties of affection.

© David

The word ‘Mizpah’, which means ‘watchtower’ in Hebrew, appears in the Old Testament Book of Genesis and is the inscription on David’s example: The Lord will watch between me and thee when we absent one from another.

So it’s not surprising that Mizpah jewellery had its heyday during World War I, when soldiers bound for the trenches would give Mizpah brooches to their girls (or mothers), sometimes engraved with, or embellished by, an appropriate military badge or emblem. 

While waiting and worrying on the home front, the women who had received these symbolic tokens of love would have worn them proudly, no doubt touching them superstitiously every so often as though they had talismanic power.  Given the carnage of World War I, it is sobering to think of the heartbreak that must have been suffered by so many wearers of these little brooches, whose war-enforced separation from their sweethearts would, in the end, last a lifetime.

NOTES on this POST

Selfie © JW

This short blog is to help me determine how the site is ‘behaving’. I know that not everything is  working as it should, but I’ll get there eventually. 

I don’t know where I’ve used this article in the past but it was ‘David’ who was the catalyst. A brooch of this nature isn’t a common find for a detectorist. Perhaps if he is out there and reading this, he could supply more details. I also apologise for not seeking his permission, but didn’t think he’d mind.

The picture above is one of the clues as to what I’ve been up to during 50 days of lockdown and I hope to include it in a future post. Ah hum! Can’t wait. I’m not finding building this site easy.

At the moment I don’t have many followers. If you’d like to keep an eye on me, please sign up. Should be quite easy. Thank you!

16 thoughts on “The Mizpah Brooch

  1. I thought you had retired your blog John. As well as brooches Mizpah rings were also a popular sweetheart gift at the time. I have found a silver one!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for starting up again John.. I have missed these posts.. and wouldn’t you know it.. you have started with one of my favourite subject; my passion as it were.. WW1 sweetheart badges. I have not found a Mizpah yet.. but I am hoping.

    Thank you my friend


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just a question which you can delete later. I see a T used in the header Mitzvah. The brooch seems to be spelt differently and later during the story you dropped the t.
    Is there different ways to correctly spell it?


    1. Thank you for pointing that out, Ray. What a Wally I am! The spelling is now consistent and the same as that on the brooch. I need a good sub-editor and you fit the bill.


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