Mizpah Jewelry: a history of affection


Mizpah is Hebrew for “watchtower.” As mentioned in the Bible, it marked an agreement between two men, with God as their witness. Since that time, the mizpah has come to connote an emotional bond between people who are separated (either physically or by death). 
Common Mizpah jewelry contains the phrase “The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another,” which immediately follows the mention of Mizpah in the book of Genesis.
Mizpah jewelry first became popular in the earlier part of the Victorian era, symbolizing a bond of affection between two people.
During the formal Victorian era strict rules for courtship were observed, and gifts of jewelry between men and women could suggest impropriety. However Mizpah pieces could safely be exchanged as sentimental tokens of affection, some of which even containing a verse from the Bible. 
Mizpah jewelry dropped in popularity after World War I, but there it could be said that it was the precursor to the sweetheart jewelry that became common during the Second World War.

Kathleen Marino M.A, G.G., AJP, NAJA