Saturday, 21 May 2011

Scottish Jewellery - Ptarmigan or Grouse Foot Brooch

Okay so you either like them or thing they are grouse! That is Scottish jewellery Ptarmigan or grouse foot brooches!

Since the Victorian era when Scottish jewellery became popular. The birds foot of the Ptarmigan has been used in the jewellery industry, to produce claw brooches.
Originally worn on kilts, shawls and cloaks - it was prized for good luck especially when on a game hunting trip. Still very collectible vintage jewellery today.
Grouse bird foot brooches can be found in both silver and costume. The silver ones are hall marked and were made by the Ward brothers. (Ideal for dating with the hallmark) The brothers were originally producing jewellery in Scotland but also opened another factory in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter, as the popularity was such for their Scottish and other jewellery.
They also produced costume grouse pins under the Mizpah range.

The signature is above with two hearts and an arrow through. Not signed Mizpah on some pieces. Made by Quarrier Ward and the Ward Brothers - the designs now owned by Miracle.
Some brooches are unsigned and may be displayed on just a card.  

The real feet are decorated with Cairngorm stones usually of glass but some are the real gemstone. They can also be found with amethyst coloured stones. Again some of the stones are real amethyst and usually on the silver versions.
Earlier brooches are made with very skinny feet and later versions being fatter. I think the later ones are not real feet but manufactured. Different finishes are also available with either smooth silver or silver tone to a pattern on the jewellery. Still made today by Miracle as still very popular Scottish souvenirs.

Above is a silver ptarmigan grouse foot brooch.

Also available in just silver tone if you do not want a real foot!

8 comments:

  1. Oh my!
    I just found two of these (like the one on top) in my Mum's jewelry box! (She's 101 now and we are srting here things from her home.)
    A friend sent me this link!
    Goodness! It was a shock to see the exact same thing!

    Thanks for letting me share!

    Mimi
    Collage Pirate

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was given a grouse claw pin, with silver cuff and amethyst stone on that end and as a ring on the middle claw, by my English grandmother when I was 10. I am now 74. It has the heart and arrow
    markings on the back. What is it worth today? AVP

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am sorry but we do not do valuations. It would also depend on if this is silver and as such will be marked or costume jewellery as the company made both.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The heart and arrow mark is probably MIZPAH - 'may God watch over thee and me while we are apart'. Lots of info on MIZPAH on Google :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. As explained above - the hearts and arrow signature with or without the Mizpah signature was made by the Ward Brothers from Scotland. Who had factories in both Scotland and Birmingham. The signature is on the back of a piece.

    Not to be confused with the Victorian MIZPAH jewellery which was usually heart designs with the words Mizpah on the front. Sentimental and worn by someone separated from their loved ones.

    Two very different styles of jewellery and should never be taken for the same meanings.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was wondering if you could tell me where I could find information on dating Ward Brothers Mizpah jewellery. Just looking for a timeline of when they went under WBs, Mizpah, Mizpah England, Miracle etc. Very difficult to find due to the separate Victorian Mizpah jewellery info. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have never looked at the Ward Brother's in depth (should do as Ward is a family name!) I would start at the libraries local to their factories in Birmingham and Scotland. Looking for old jewellery books, catalogues, newspapers, etc. I think that this research need to be done off line. Not easy but you should get some idea of a time line. You could also contact Carole who runs the Miracle Yahoo forum, she may have an idea and help you further.

    Good luck regards Sue

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have very beautiful clip mate brooch.
    It has an arrow mark with two lines across it.
    Can anybody help me to finds the maker of this brooch, please?
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete

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Part owner of Jewels and Finery UK website. We sell vintage jewellery right up to new designer jewellery and accessories. Love being different and unique as well as unusual. Learn about the history of jewellery as well as looking at beautiful jewels