Originally a Roman festival to celebrate the coming of spring, St. Valentine’s day has long been established as a day to celebrate love and passion.
Choosing a Valentines gift can be a difficult decision, and if you’re trying to show a deep and enduring love a cuddly toy or glitter-laden card might not be enough. That’s why, with romance in the air, we wanted to provide this guide to the most fitting antique jewellery to show your partner how much they mean to you with a gift that will stand the test of time.
Which Precious Stone?
Throughout history different precious stones have been used to represent different types of love and affection. Diamonds, as the strongest material on earth, have long been used for wedding proposals. They represent an enduring, everlasting and invincible love, and as such they are often found in engagement rings in a wide variety of forms.
You can view our full collection of diamond pieces here.
Presenting a diamond ring to your beloved for Valentines day is undoubtedly a sublime romantic act, but if you aren’t planning a proposal it may be best to go for pieces which have a softer meaning.
Rubies have been linked with romance since ancient antiquity, with their pink to blood-red colour they are understandably associated with affairs of the heart, and have been said to inspire devotion in the wearer. They are also one of the rarest and most highly prized stones, commanding a similar value to diamonds.
You can view our full collection of ruby jewellery here
Pink sapphires are clearer, brighter cousins of the ruby, with a bright feminine colour that is often offset with accompanying diamonds. Both sapphires and rubies are made of the same base mineral, and the distinction between a pink ruby and pink sapphire can sometimes be a little unclear. Both stones have their own charm and character but the pink sapphire has a more youthful, playful character that suits those with a less serious disposition.
You can view our full collection of pink sapphire pieces here.
The garnet is a deeper red stone than the ruby, and in contrast to the pink sapphire represents a more nuanced affection. This stone represents sincerity, devotion and trust; a stone of commitment that speaks to the long term health of a relationship built on truth and honesty.
Hearts and Heart Lockets
You can view our full collection of garnet pieces here.
The heart is perhaps the most recognisable representation of love, and it has been sculpted in countless forms by jewellers throughout the ages. It is an enduring symbol, instantly recognisable and unmistakeable as a symbol of deep affection.
Heart pendants studded with diamonds or white paste stones were particularly common during the Edwardian and Victorian eras. Heart-shaped lockets have been consistently popular throughout the ages
You can view our full collection of heart pendants and lockets here.
Regard, Adore and Dearest Rings
Romantic jewellery was not always intended to be an overt expression of love. In the Victorian period affection was often not publicly acknowledged, but people still wished to have items that represented their love. Codified expressions of devotion and adoration were incorporated into rings by using various stones, the first letter of each spelled out a message.
DEAREST rings contained a Diamond, an Emerald, an Amethyst, a Ruby, a second Emerald, a Sapphire and a Topaz.
REGARD rings contained a Ruby, an Emerald, a Garnet, an Amethyst, a second Ruby and a Diamond.
ADORE rings contained an Amethyst, a Diamond, an Opal, a Ruby and an Emerald.
Flowers and Floral Designs
Flowers are a tried and tested romantic gift – sweet smelling and beautiful, but they have a very limited shelf life. Floral designs in jewellery are impervious to the effect of time, and are as beautiful today as when they were first forged.
Different flowers have fallen into and out of fashion over the years, but some have been consistently popular for a great deal of time. One of the most abiding is the pale blue forget me not. This small, delicate flower is intended as a memento of adoration; a love not to be forgotten.
Not all floral symbols are as straightforward, as with the ivy. Although ivy does flower it is not the blooms that matter when it comes to its inclusion in jewellery. A popular Victorian rhyme reads 'Close clings the ivy to the tree, so in my heart I cling to thee', making the ivy into a potent symbol of togetherness.
You can view all of our forget me not pieces here, and all of our ivy pieces here.
There are many types of trilogy ring, either using three similar stones or a single larger stone bordered with two supporting stones. Sapphires, rubies and emeralds are often flanked with diamonds to accentuate the brightness of the piece. The trilogy can represent past, present and future – speaking to the longevity of a relationship, or they can simply represent the most important words on Valentines day; “I love you”.
The three stones can also represent the holy trinity – father, son and holy spirit – adding a spiritual aspect to the gift.
You can view all of our trilogy rings here
What does she like?
Whilst it is helpful to know the meaning of the various types of romantic jewellery outlined above there is no substitute for knowing your partner’s tastes and buying accordingly.
Antique jewellery is tremendously varied, so it helps to narrow down the kind of style and materials that they like best. Simply knowing the colours they tend to wear can give an indication as to which stones may be best received. It may even be that your partner has an affection for a particular style or period of history.
Finding out which piece will be best for your partner is a matter of intuition, but our expert team have many years of experience in the trade, and will be happy to help if you are having trouble deciding. If you aren’t sure what piece would be best simply give us a call or drop us a message via email. We’re always happy to help!
Find out more about the world of antique jewellery by checking out our helpful Advice Centre.