The Luckenbooth is a traditional Scottish wedding brooch given to the bride by the groom on their wedding day, and subsequently pinned to the shawl of the first baby to protect it from “evil spirits”.
The brooch was also created with the power of easing child birth and insuring a good flow of breast milk when pinned to the undergarments near the left thigh. When pinned to a baby’s shawl, the brooch served as insurance against the child being whisked away by the “wee folk”and replaced with a changeling or a stack of wood.
The Luckenbooth has figures very similar to the Claddagh Ring , and a similar purpose of being a love token. The luckenbooth charm also continues the traditional theme of heart and crown. The earliest records of heart shaped brooches in Scotland date back to 1503. In the 18th Century, these brooches were often known as ‘Luckenbooth’ brooches because they were sold from locked booths in the jewelery quarter of St. Giles, Edinburgh.
By the mid 18th century luckenbooth tokens also featured heavily as English trade silver items to the native peoples of the eastern woodlands, particularly the Iroquois of the Six Nations. As a result, luckenbooth brooches also became a common decorative symbol in 18th and early 19th century native costume.
Artist: Maxine Miller