Scottish thistle brooch | image copyright minusOne jewelry

Meaningful jewelry: Scottish thistle pins

Aug 31, 2023 | meaningful jewelry + gift guides

Is there anything more lovely than wildflowers growing by the side of a farm road? 

That said, from April to October, the color changes in the upstate NY roadside ditches illustrate the now-trite tale of my angsty slouch toward winter.

It’s when the thistle comes out that I know the summer has peaked, and it’s all downhill from here.

Scottish thistle history

The thistle has been among Scotland’s national symbols since Alexander III (1249–1286) who was the first recorded the first monarch to use the thistle as an emblem.

Perhaps the Scots loved the thistle because the duality of its nature mirrored the landscape: pretty and prickly. The thistle’s hardy nature is just like a Scot.

sterling Scottish thistle pins | image copyright minusOne jewelry

James III issued silver coins in 1470 representing a thistle, and Scotland has a high chivalric order, the Order of the Thistle. The thistle even appears on the Royal Coat of Arms .

The so-called “guardian thistle” is also the origin of one of Scotland’s official mottos: “No-one harasses me with impunity.” Usually written in the Latin, “Nemo me impune lacessit.” 

sterling Scottish thistle pin | image copyright minusOne jewelry

If you know a Scot, imagine them saying this, and try not to laugh.

I love this Scottish legend archived by USAkilts.com.

According to legend, the night before the Battle of Largs (1263) Norwegian troops were sneaking up on the resting army of Alexander III. One Norse warrior stepped on a thistle and his screams of agony alerted the Scots to the threat. The legend can’t be proven, but the thistle certainly reflects the prickly attitude of the Scots towards those who would subdue them.


The buckle in Scottish thistle jewelry

This kilt pin for sale at minusOne jewelry also includes a buckle.

Scottish thistle pin with buckle motif | image copyright minusOne jewelry

Aside from eternal binding love, The buckle, reasonably, was a symbol of human bonding – whether loyalty to nation, brotherhood and family, or eternal love.

The buckle was also a motif of mourning jewelry, a symbol of memory and enduring connection.

What better way to close a cape or skirt than a Scottish thistle and buckle kilt pin?

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