The Messages, Motifs and Meanings of Valentine’s Day Jewels

Victorian symbolism continues to influence jewelry designers today. The romance, charm, sentimental meanings and detailed motifs saw tremendous popularity in their heyday and have carried on their romantic essence in modern-day interpretations of historical and significant themes. The authentic period styles as well and contemporary renditions we have chosen are all perfect jewels to show affection, friendship and love. In a previous article we talked about seven motifs with Victorian symbolism and here we add more for gift giving ideas for Valentine’s Day 2018.


There are a number of interpretations of the lover’s knot, which date back to antiquity. Some of the different renditions have been called ‘true love knots’ but all evoke the same feeling in different patterns and the way in which they are tied. All interlock and entwine representing the connection between two people and the continuity of a love that cannot be broken or come ‘undone’.


Foundrae’s modern take includes an 18K gold white enamel cigar band ring with a heraldic ‘true love knot’ “ which consists of a rope in the form of a continuous loop laid out as an upright square shape with loops at each of the four corners. “True Love binds the heart forever,” says Beth Bugdaycay, designer for the collection.  “These style of knots symbolize ‘eternal love,’ ‘fidelity’ and ‘commitment’.”

Karen Karch

“Inspired by the symbolism of continuous unbroken circles that embrace each other,” Karen Karch explains, “this graceful ring features one loop which is studded with gems and the other is crafted of vine detailed textured metal extending to a double band.” We have a huge crush on the version with rubies because it offers another layer to the meaning of this ring, that of passion.


Alice Kwartler Antiques features a snake that loops into the shape of a knot in a stand out gold vintage bracelet, imbued with the meaning of the knot and the snake which representing eternal love.


The Spare Room Antiques displays an engraved, highly detailed authentic tightly looped antique lover’s knot ring in 18k gold, which we perceive as always being tied closely together.


Cupid comes to call with his bow and arrow. The motif of an arrow going through a heart ensures that one will fall deeply in love—(if it were only that simple)! But we would like to believe and are quite taken by the motif.


Jennifer Meyer has designed a pendant inspired by vintage charms. This contemporary version takes on an upbeat, chic yet playful feeling in gold with diamond pave and a turquoise heart with a ruby drop, which reflects the blood when the heart is pierced with passion.


Alice Kwartler Antiques’s mid-century arrow and heart charm with turquoise cabochon bespeaks the sentiment of cupid’s arrow piercing a heart with perfection.



Winged hearts have been represented in everything from jewelry to tattoos. They are imbued with the meaning of “protector of the heart or protector of love” The protector is traditionally the giver of the gift but the two  wings also suggest that each person involved in the relationship are watching out for each other.


Anthony Lent adds a dose of sparkle to its signature winged heart motif for a pendant that allows you to know someone is always there in your corner and rooting for you.

Circa 1700 Protector of Love signet ring. is  chunky and bold in rose and yellow 18K gold.  This ring is black antiqued in the wings and heart— and can become the piece you build your daily jewelry around.


Lang Antique’s early 20th Century winged heart brooch –the winged heart says so much set with diamonds,  representing enduring love.


Padlocks conjures up the more modern feelings of a sense of belonging, with someone rather than the 19th-century version of belonging to someone and still retain the feeling of being locked in love—so close and connected to another person that you want to stay that way for as long as time allows. The key that opens the padlock is representative of the one that opens up your passion. Keys alone or with hearts are simply saying. ‘you have or you are the key to my heart.’ All make alluring Valentine’s gifts.


Arman Sarkisyan’s high karat gold and silver keys offer a time-worn and old world feeling, mixed with a contemporary vibe to express these simple feelings of love.


Polly Wales deconstructed and reconstructed the Victorian padlock until it became a modern work of art in its bold and contemporary design and a rainbow of colors, without ever abandoning the meaning behind the motif.

Sevan Bicakci’s padlock in black diamonds and an eternity pattern on the front pays homage to its origins with an edgy rock and roll feel.



Keyamour and A La Vieille Russie both feature antique versions of padlocks with different gemstones and in shapes that range from basic lock  to heart shapes and like your true love—are sure to take your breath away.

Keyamour brings us keys from the designer of the iconic Cartier Love bracelet, Aldo Cipullo who designed for Cartier during the 1970’s.. He knew how to modernize the designs of the past  and they have retained their timelessness through today and are sure to endure well into the future.


Wartski and Alice Kwartler Antiques offer hearts and key motifs with keys an are rendered with rubies for passion and diamonds for enduring love


Swallows are known to mate for life and they have become symbols of home and faithfulness. Since they always find their way back to their nest, during Victorian times, they became associated with sailors out at sea and their loved ones waiting for them to return safely. Today they have come to signify returning from any trip to your romantic partner as well as their family.


Theo Fennell’s swallows hold on to romantic floral wreaths in earrings that make a statement with dangling chains and stones. The combination of this bird and flowers offers a true sense of romance

Arman Sarkisyan flirts with history in his high karat gold and blackened silver swallow bracelet with an emerald set into its body and diamond accents all around.



A La Vieille Russie multi-swallow brooch seems to  represent a whole family who stick together and might be flying back to their ‘nest.’



Compasses aren’t a traditional love token but we see them that way. They are symbols of guidance. to lead us on the right path or we use them to find our direction. We believe this can apply to people in a long-term relationship, who might have gotten lost but found their way back to each other or the adventure and excitement of starting a brand new romance.


Monica Rich Kosann interprets her compass in different sizes with diamond centers for endurance and the North Star for brightness and guidance on one’s  journey.

Syna also translates the compass with the North Star but this version is detailed with enameling that conjures up the magic and allure of the evening sky.



From Erica Weiner, a 9K gold an authentic Victorian compass in between an anchor which represents hope—to direct us to find a new relationship or rebuild an existing one. Whatever the case, we feel the love.

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