£8.99


[MB01]

Measuring 5cms wide and 2.5cms deep, delivered in a leatherette gift box

finished in an antique copper colour


The Royal Engineers Mizpah brooch makes a charming gift for any loved one, be it a wife, mother or daughter, followed by a wealth of meaning and history


Dating from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries during a period when the symbolic power of sentimental jewellery was understood and enjoyed. Mizpah jewellery was fashioned in various forms – as rings, bangles and lockets, for example. 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.


Brooches also offered the opportunity to include other sentimental symbols, such as luck-bringing horseshoes, or a pair of hearts representing two people united by love, as well as ivy leaves, signifying the closely binding ties of affection.

 

The word Mizpah, which means ‘watchtower’ in Hebrew, appears in the Old Testament Book of Genesis,

 

31:49: ‘And Mizpah; for he said, The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another’.

 

This short biblical verse is often inscribed in full on Mizpah jewellery, as in the brooch below. ‘Mizpah’ which may sometimes be portrayed as a watchtower or lighthouse therefore symbolises the wish that two people who have been separated from one another will remain safe and well while they are apart, and thus also the hope that that they will be reunited.


It’s not surprising that Mizpah jewellery had its heyday during World War I, when soldiers bound for the trenches – and sailors, marines and airmen, too – 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.


When I read about these brooches I fell in love with the symbolic meaning and all that went before them. I felt it was time the Corps resurrected the Mizpah brooch to be worn and loved by the Sapper Sweethearts of today.


 



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