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Mizpah brooch
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Mizpah brooch

Mizpah brooch. Photographed today, 10 March 2017.

In connection with picture #9927, here is the small (3.5cm) brooch that belonged to my mother and presumably dates from her youth in the early 1900s. Mizpah apparently means 'watchtower', but somehow the word came to be associated with the parting of friends or lovers and was worn on brooches, rings etc as a token of constancy towards the absent one. (I have read the passage in the Book of Genesis that introduces the term but am none the wiser.)

The eerie-orms with ivy leaf on the left side of the brooch (as seen in this view) had been broken off and lost long ago and the thing looked very lop-sided. So I've roughly copied, flipped, flopped, squeezed, stretched, cloned etc the right-hand version and pasted it in place. Can't do much about the lighting however.


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Picture added on 13 March 2017 at 09:45
Comments:
My Mom told me about a MIZPAH brooch, her own or possibly my Grandmother's and she always believed the meaning to be "May the Lord protect thee and me whilst we are absent one from another". Those are the words as I've remembered them.
Added by F Jackson on 13 March 2017
Hello F Jackson. Your wording resembles that of Genesis 31:49 - The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another - but is more direct and unambiguous. However, I find it hard to believe a mere two-syllable word in any language could translate literally into a sentence nine times as long. Some kind of symbolism must be involved.
(If not, I bet Dr Mizpah Afzal, whom I mentioned in a previous comment, is glad she wasn't christened in English.)
Added by Ian Hourston on 27 March 2017
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