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Postcard of Charm.
© National Museums Scotland


This light brown seed was used as a charm in the 19th century. Similar examples of charms which are 'drift seeds', probably picked up on the coasts of the Hebrides, were used as protective charms by women in childbirth.

The seed pods had been carried from the Caribbean or West Africa to the currents of the North Atlantic Drift.

These drift seed charms are first mentioned in John Morrison's 'Descriptions of Lewis' of between around 1678 and 1688. They have been referred to in the southern Outer Hebridies as 'Airne Moire' or 'Mary's Nut'. This example is from the collection of the late Dr G.F. Black, presented to the collections of the Museum in 1959.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-103-779-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 99
Date: 19th century
Material: Seed / nut
Dimensions: 0.95"
Subject: Jewellery: charms, amulets (NMAS Classification)
Description: Seed or nut, light brown in colour, used as a charm, 19th century
  • Black, G.F. 'Scottish charms and amulets', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 27 (1892-3), pp 479-82 
  • Carmichael, A., Carrina Gadelica II, p 225; III pp 126-7; IV pp 192-3 
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