Odd Obsessions is a new twice-monthly feature I'll be doing about my current strange fascinations. Anything from unique jewelry, natural ephemera, unusual traditions or happenings, and other oddities. Hope you guys enjoy this new series!
On a recent antiquing trip, as I was perusing through the glass display cases, my eye was immediately drawn to these furry little feet sitting amongst the old jewelry and dusty treasures. I had to find out what they were! These grouse claw brooches come from Scottish tradition during the Victorian era. Scottish men would pin them on their kilts for good luck, particularly wearing them on hunting trips. The feet are often adorned with gemstones or colored glass, and some have additional embellishments like the stag head seen on 1, 3, and 4.
Grouse claws were also distributed as Mizpah brooches (these ones typically have an engraving of two hearts with an arrow through them on the back along with the word). "Mizpah" is a Biblical term roughly meaning "God watch over us while we're apart." The jewelry was given as a sign of love and remembrance during long separations. What could be more romantic than receiving a taxidermied bird foot upon your lover's departure?
These are still manufactured today, so they're not too terribly difficult to get ahold of. I'd love to snatch one of these up for my collection, or better yet, get one as a romantic gesture from Dave the next time he leaves on a big trip. ;)