Travel anywhere in Wales today and you will encounter a plethora of love spoons to buy as souvenirs. There are whole shops devoted to them and their wares have come a long way from their roots as an invitation to courtship. People buy them as house-warming gifts, friendship tokens, to present in congratulations for a new child or a graduation, or simply as something pretty to hang in the home.
For the true romantics, this may be seen as the dilution of a beautiful tradition. The love spoon hasn't been produced, from wood to completion, by a man desperate for the love of his beau. But then times change and so do the expectations of their women. In the 21st century, it may not be the skill wrought by his hands that counts, but the depth of his wallet.
The more ornate the love spoon, the more expensive its retail price. Yet some of these have more than recovered their original outlay. As investments for the future, they could well be a savvy choice.
In 2006, Christie's auctioned an 18th century Welsh love spoon for £3,600 ($6,851). During the same month, a 19th century beechwood love spoon passed hands for £5,400 ($10,276). A glance through their back catalog shows that such things are not unusual.
Yet both of those spoons would have been freely made from materials lying on some Welsh ground. It was the time, skill and will that mattered then.