Gift Ideas: A History of Heart Jewels

Article from Berganza


front view antique sapphire diamond ring berganza hatton garden
Heart shaped sapphire and diamond ring, English, circa 1920.
Ref: 22970

Wednesday 10th October 2012

Unfortunately the exact origin of the heart shape as a symbol of love has been obscured over time.  With regards to jewellery, however, the earliest known examples of heart shaped love jewels appear around the fourteenth century in the form of rings and brooches, often inscribed with short love poems.  This was the era of courtly love, the basis of the modern conception of romance, centred on knights and damsels in distress, and thus jewellery as a love token was a natural manifestation of this movement.

In the centuries to follow the heart symbol became solidified as the a symbol of romance, but at no time was it so popular as during the Victorian era.  The Romantic Movement, with its focus on emotions and intuition, instilled the taste for sentimental jewellery.  Queen Victoria (reigning monarchs ever being arbiters of taste) was particularly fond of love jewellery, and owned numerous heart jewels, including a heart charm bracelet with a charm representing each of her children.

Today the heart is widely accepted as the definitive symbol of love.  If one cannot say it in words, then surely a heart shaped jewel is the ultimate way to express one’s feelings on the day of the celebration of love, Valentine’s Day.

front view Antique diamond pendant/brooch berganza hatton garden
Antique heart shape diamond pendant/brooch, circa 1900.
Ref: 21569
Victorian garnet diamond double heart ring berganza hatton garden
Victorian garnet and diamond double heart ring, circa 1870.
Ref: 19460
Medieval iconographic gold ring berganza hatton garden
Medieval iconographic ring, circa 13th-15th century.
Ref: 23509
Post medieval garnet heart ring berganza hatton garden
Post medieval garnet heart ring, circa 17th-18th century.
Ref: 25097
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