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possibly from Highlands

Postcard of Charm.
© National Museums Scotland


This quartz arrowhead may have been used as a charm, possibly in the Highlands. It is mounted in an oval gold and enamel pendant container. This example may have been made for the Scottish 19th-century collector, Lady John Scott.

The Gaelic phrase on the reverse, 'Saighead Shith', means 'Fairy Arrow'.

Prehistoric arrowheads were often believed to be 'elfbolts' or allows shot by the fairies and harming animals and people. Animals seized with sudden illness, for example, were believed to have been shot by the fairies with such arrows as these. Consequently, they would, when found, be mounted and worn as a counter-charm.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-002-752-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.NO 76
Date: Arrowhead: Neolithic; Pendant: 19th century
Material: Gold; quartz, grey
Dimensions: 80 mm H x 26 mm W
Subject: Jewellery: charms, amulets (NMAS Classification)
Description: Charm consisting of a leaf-shaped arrowhead of grey quartz mounted in an oval container of gold
  • Black, G.F. 'Scottish charms and amulets', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 27 (1892-3), pp 462-68 
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