Sunday, 18 January 2015

Talon Brooches

I'm baaack!  You must have guessed that I'm not finished with my stories now that the 52 Weeks is over since you're here.  There's so many more great stories to tell.  I can't say it will be every week but I have more to write about and keep learning more by hearing from family connections through this blog!

I published my year's worth of blog posts into a book using that you can see the link to here   I had 2 copies printed, one for my Mom and Dad and one for me, and am really pleased with the finished product!  

But now to today's post.  The above wedding photo of my Mom's grandparents, Jeannie Morrison Jamieson and Alexander Milne was recently sent to me from cousin Greg from B.C.  It would have been taken near Rothiemay, Scotland where they were married on December 24, 1897. I put the picture on my computer as a desktop background and then noticed the interesting brooch on her neck as enlarged below.


It looks like a claw of some poor animal but it also brought back a memory for my kids as something they loved to play with at Grandma and Grandpa's house at Oak River.  On my last visit there, I found them in the box of toys and took the photos below.  With a bit of help from Google, I found that these are Bird Talon Brooches!  I have links to a few pages of similar ones here , here and here  

 The one above seems to be from a ptarmigan as is written about in this blog. She says:
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.
It seems they were made in Scotland as well as Birmingham, England in the Victorian era, mid 1800's to 1900.

The one above is more like the one Jeannie is wearing in the photo and it looks a little worse for wear with only 2 talons remaining.  It would seem to be from a falcon, as it has less fur. 

These brooches originally belonged to my Dad's Mom's sister, Lizzie Sinclair Morcom.  She is pictured above in with her husband Jack in a Souvenir Photo from the Sheraton-Brock Hotel in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  The photo was likely taken when they were in Toronto for the Royal Winter Fair with their heavy horses, maybe in the forties.  Jack was from England and his father was a gold miner, in South Africa and later Bisset, Manitoba.  The brooches may have belonged to his mother or perhaps were given as gifts to Lizzie.  They are certainly unique and would raise eyebrows if worn today!  

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