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Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us. Heart-shaped knick-knacks are flying off the shelves. But for those of you wishing to make a less overt show of your feelings, why not make like the Victorians and go for a little antiquated symbolism in your Valentines gift?

Holts Jewellery has come up with a ‘top-ten’ of the more unusual symbols used in Victorian love jewellery....

10) Arrow - Shooting in at number 10 is the arrow – a vital tool if Cupid is to do his work properly. Symbolising love, the Victorians were keen to use it in their jewellery designs, although the angular shape lends itself particularly well to the later Art Deco styles.

9) Ivy - The vivid ivy symbolizes evergreen love.  Green enamelled leaves add vibrancy to any piece of jewellery and are a good substitute for expensive emeralds.

8) Buckle - The buckle symbolizes binding loyalty. Buckle rings were often beautifully engraved and came in a variety of thicknesses.

7) Claddagh Ring - The Claddagh Ring originated in Ireland in the 17th Century and, depending on which finger it is worn, can symbolize whether somebody is married, in a relationship, or single.

6) Hair - A lock of hair, encapsulated in a brooch, locket or ring has been a staple love token since time immemorial. For best results, ask permission before taking the scissors to your loved one’s locks.

5) Forget-me-not - Step into spring with the Forget-me-not – an ideal choice for the long-distance relationship. The meaning behind these pretty, pale blue flowers is self-explanatory.

4) Dearest - For a secret message, why not embrace the Victorians’ fascination with acrostic jewellery? Use the first letter of each gemstone to create a word of affection. ‘Regard’ (Ruby, Emerald, Garnet, Amethyst, Diamond) and ‘Dearest’ (Diamond, Emerald, Amethyst, Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire, Topaz) were common choices in the Victorian period – but play around and create your own, personal message – it can get quite addictive.

3) Pansy - A play on the French ‘pensée’, meaning ‘think of me’, the pansy design was in vogue during the late Victorian, Art Nouveau period. Often set in brooches or adoring hat pins, these pretty flowers were beautifully enamelled and had Diamond or Pearl detailing.

2) Snake - Queen Victoria’s engagement ring from Prince Albert was an entwined serpent – a symbol of eternity. It’s a refreshingly edgy design which makes it a popular choice amongst young people today.

1) Acorn - At the top of the jewellery symbolism leader board this year is the acorn. And a very Royal choice it is too. It’s hard to forget Kate Middleton’s wedding day attire, and for jewellery fans across the world, her diamond encrusted acorn earrings were the icing on the cake. The acorn symbolizes fertility, which makes us wonder whether there might be a new addition to the Royal Family this year....



See 'Valentine's Hearts' on Guilded Gems



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