The Four Leaf Clover
inMarch 29, 2013 - 2:11pm
Everyone knows that a four-leaf clover is lucky – but why? As children, we’d play countless games of hide and seek, red light or freeze tag, then collapse onto the lawn, fanning through the grass in search of that special clover. Our yard was particularly lucky. We had a patch that yielded dozens of four leaf clovers, an occasional five leaf clover and once, an extremely rare seven leaf clover! As a child, I believed we were the only ones with magical clover, but later I found that there are many such patches – some carefully guarded.
The idea of a lucky four leaf clover is thought to date from before the Middle Ages. Some legends say the clover was sacred to the ancient Druids and were originally Celtic charms against misfortune and malevolent fairies. The first documented literary reference to suggest their good fortune was made in 1620 by Sir John Melton, who wrote "If a man walking in the fields find any four-leaved grass, he shall in a small while after find some good thing”. Later, in Victorian times, many pieces of jewelry and decorative objects featured themes from nature, and the “Language of Flowers”, which attributed meaning to many plants and flowers, reached its height of popularity. So, we find many beautiful Victorian jewels and small collectibles with a four leaf clover theme.
Are four leaf clovers rare? It is estimated that, on the average, only 1 in 10,000 clovers have four or more leaves. Extra leaves on a clover may be due to genetics, to environmental factors or simply to a chance mutation. There is a man in Alaska who has found over 160,000 clovers in his life, including over 1,000 found in a single day. Breeders have managed to develop clover seed that produces far more than its share of multiple leafed clovers. There are businesses that grow this clover, laminate and sell them as good luck charms. You even can buy potted four leaf clover plants. They are attractive, but they are not really clover but a species of oxalis which naturally has stems with four leaflets.
A Japanese man holds the record for the most leaves on a clover stem. He is a retired crop researcher who has been cultivating multi-leafed clover for over 50 years. His amazing 56 leaf clover was grown in his own special patch and looks like a small clover bouquet. I think he must find four leaf clovers rather boring.
I don’t believe luck is something you can buy. I think the luck lies in the finding, not in the clover, no matter how many leaves it has. Sometimes the lucky find comes from hours of searching and sometimes a treasured find seems to appear out of nowhere. Luck comes to those who are prepared those who persevere and to those who are ready to pluck the prize when it appears. Those of us who are collectors know the thrill of a lucky find, whether you have been searching for months or come upon the treasure by chance.
Keep your eyes open for treasures in the grass, at a yard sale, grandma’s attic and of course, on Ruby Lane – you never know when you might get lucky!
I was lucky enough to discover these four leaf clovers on Ruby Lane. Thanks to the shops below for allowing me to use their photos.
Hey Blondie - German Handpainted Shamrocks Stickpin Holder
Malena's Vintage Boutique - Antique 14k heart pin with enamel flowers, four leaf clover, and pearl
Splendors Of The Past - Black Hills Gold 10K Trim Overlay Buckle with Chased Design
Antique-ables - Four Leaf Clover Good Luck Postcard
Partner Antiques - 1830 Walnut Wood Snuff Box with Lucky Four Leaf Clover
Timeless Treasures From The Past - Inkwell, Figural Cast metal ink well, Woman & Cloverleaf
Hidden in the Hills - Beautiful Frankoma Clover Ashtray/Dish Desert Gold
Deep In The South Primtiques - Early 1900's Cast Iron Door Stop Awesome Primitive!
About me: I have had the Ruby Lane shop “SuzansTreasures” for over 13 years. I have been involved with antiques and collectible business all my life, as my mother, grandparents and great-grandmother all had antique shops. I also have a life-long love of nature and gardening. I am a member of several gardening societies and am a qualified flower show judge.
Suzan Miller of Suzan's Treasures