A love spoon is an ornately carved spoon traditionally made from a single piece of wood by young men, especially in Wales, as a love token for their sweethearts, to show their affection and intentions.
The earliest surviving example, displayed in the Welsh Folk museum in Cardiff, dates from around 1667, although the tradition probably dates back long before that.
The love spoon originated from the "cawl" (soup) spoon. 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 proudly on a wall. Certain symbols came to have specific meanings: a horseshoe for luck, a cross for faith and marriage, or hearts for love.
Sailors would often carve love spoons during their long journeys, which is why anchors would often be incorporated into the carvings.
Although the Welsh lovespoon is the most famous there are also traditions of lovespoons in Scandinavia and some parts of Eastern Europe, which have their own unique styles and techniques.
For more information see http://www.celticcarving.co.uk/