The History and Tradition of Love Spoons
A Lovespoon is a wooden spoon decoratively carved that was traditionally presented as a gift of romantic intent. The spoon is normally decorated with symbols of love, and was intended to reflect the skill of the carver. Due to the intricate designs, lovespoons are no longer used as functioning spoons and are now decorative craft items.
The lovespoon is a traditional craft that dates back to the seventeenth century. Over generations, decorative carvings were added to the spoon and it lost its original practical use and became a treasured decorative item to be hung on a wall.
The earliest known dated lovespoon from Wales, displayed in the St Fagans National History Museum near Cardiff, is from 1667, although the tradition is believed to date back long before that.
Certain symbols came to have specific meanings: a horseshoe for luck, a cross for faith, bells for marriage, hearts for love, a wheel supporting a loved one and a lock for security, among others.
Caged balls indicated the number of children hoped for. Other difficult carvings, such as chains, were as much a demonstration of the carver's skill as a symbolic meaning.