This lovely Silver Engraved “Mizpah” Cross from 1882 is sweetness itself. But looking deeper, there may be more to the story!
The history of Mizpah jewelry is a fascinating layering of religious and cultural changes throughout England. During the Victorian Era, men and women who were courting were rarely left alone together and had to adhere to strict rules limiting almost any kind of intimacy. Even gift-giving was chancy; a young man would have never bought a piece of clothing for a woman, for example! Rings and pendants and other jewelry were more acceptable tokens of affection, and because religion was such a deep part of European and British life, many of those pieces of jewelry would have displayed a biblical reference. The word ‘Mizpah’ comes from the Old Testament and was translated to mean ‘May God watch over you.’ During the late 1800’s travel was long and arduous, and often lovers would give gifts with ‘mizpah’ inscribed on them, as a physical prayer of protection. It’s possible that this lovely cross was given from one smitten lover to another before a lengthy journey, and it may be that this pendant was the only romance the couple were allowed!
This shining silver cross was made in Birmingham, England in 1882. It weighs 9.0 grams and measures 83.5 mm high by 42.3 mm wide, with a thickness of 5 mm. The front of the cross is engraved with sprays of leaves, buds and flowers, with ‘MIZPAH’ stretching across the horizontal arms. There are several hallmarks on the reverse side: the Lion Passant, the Anchor, and ‘h’ for 1882.
This would be such a charming gift to give or receive. Of course, the gift need not be romantic; for instance, it would make a lovely First Communion present. Make it personal and have it inscribed with a name or initials on the back!
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