Valentine’s Day Symbols and Their Meaning
Ever wondered why the heart shape, infinity and love knot are associated with Valentine’s Day?
Modern Love is the expression through subtle gestures and the simple pleasures in life. Modern Love doesn’t ask for the Taj Mahal or even a bathtub full of rose petals. It is all about offering the last bite, receiving complements on an outfit or putting away technology and existing with your beloved. It is the gratitude for the presence of someone or something. Though love is a collective emotion that impacts us all, each of us experiences it in different ways. Gone are the days when Love needed to be expressed though grandeur gestures. We’re in the new era where the simple statements speak volumes – whether you’re looking for a little sparkle for your everyday wardrobe or a keepsake for loved one.
Starting with the most familiar symbol – The heart shape is a no-brainer and the fundamental icon used to signify love, unity and compassion. Though quite commonly appearing in modern day art and jewellery, this symbol holds an extremely powerful meaning.0
The heart is the core of our existence. It pumps blood to all the corners of our body and acts as the beating force that keeps us alive, thus indicating the use of phrases like ‘listen to your heart’, ‘follow your heart’, ‘open your heart’, etc. When we gift someone a heart-shaped accessory, we are essentially gifting them a piece of our life force – our heart.
The heart shaped doodle is a modern phenomenon that rose to popularity in the earlier part of the 20th century when King Edward VIII gave Ms. Simpson a heart shaped charm by Cartier. It was inscribed with a quote by Blaise Pascal – “The heart has its reasons”. This symbol has hereafter stuck with jewellers and has inspired love jewellery.
Another subtle statement of love and unity is the love knot. This symbol is frequently seen in an array of cultural designs. In ancient Arabia, it was believed that young women would send messages to their beaus using the love knot. Tying a knot can also be considered one of the key elements of marriage rituals across the world, signifying the unity of two individuals and their families. It demonstrates strength in commitment and is considered a testament to your infinite affection and devotion.
A friend of mine recently moved out of town, away from her family home to pursue her career. Before she left, she gifted her mother, sister and herself a trinity knot pendant and chain each. I thought this was a beautiful sentiment of their eternal connection and a reminder that they will always keep close to each other’s heart – metaphorically as well as literally – through the distance.
The infinity symbol was originally introduced by English mathematician, John Wallis, representing the idea of infinity which meant unboundedness, or limitless. This fallen figure 8 symbolizes love and togetherness that will last forever. Its continuous and ever looping design establishes a connection without a beginning or an end. It is simple and delicate, and expresses the longevity of relationships linked to family, friendship, love or even a spiritual bond.
A key-shaped pendant or charm has been a statement for generations. This symbol represents the unlocking of doors to opportunities, wealth, health, and love. Traditionally, key necklaces were gifted on a person’s 21st birthday to signify that at the age of 21, one is old enough to be a key holder to the family home. In Far eastern cultures, the key is considered a symbol of good luck. In a modern context, the key pendant has been adopted as a ‘key to your heart’, which is considered an expression of trust and commitment.
Similar in appearance to the key, the arrow can be worn in a variety of ways, as a classic pendant, wrapped around your finger as a ring or your wrist as a bracelet, or even around the arm. This symbol of love represents protection and defense and is a valuable reminder of self-worth and preservation of your own authenticity. One of my personal favourite statements, the arrow suggests the strength and courage to move forward.
I read a quote a while back that stood out to me - “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards first. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it's going to launch you into something great.” Therefore, a simple arrow can be worn as a reminder to stay focused and keep aiming.