Knowledge Centre > Jewellery History > History


Article from Berganza

Wednesday 28th January 2015

Floriography is the study of flower meanings, whereby each different flower holds it’s own meaning. Whilst this concept has always been known, the phenomenon of floriography really took off in Victorian England when romantic ideals were all the rage. This was of course due to Queen Victoria’s famous love for Prince Albert.

During this period, it was fashionable for gentlemen to give small posies of flowers or ‘talking bouquets’ to their lady friends. These flowers would bear a secret message which the lady would then need to decipher- with a flower dictionary. It was a serious matter to do your homework before sending a bunch of flowers as the correct flower or even the correct colour of a specific flower could radically change the meaning of the bouquet, for example if you sent a pink rose, this signified ‘secret love’, a dark pink rose meant ‘thankfulness’, a red rose was for ‘love’ or a deep red rose meant ‘shame’ or ‘bashfulness’! One can imagine how easily a wrong choice of flower or colour could make the secret message go very wrong! This custom dated from a period when outspoken emotions were frowned upon, so these flower messages could ‘say’ what could not dare to be said.

The language of flowers was also carried through to use in jewellery. Ivy leaves denoted fidelity so perhaps unsurprisingly they were a favourite motif on wedding rings.

Flower imagery has eternal appeal: if you would like to give your loved one a piece of jewellery with extra symbolic meaning, take a look at our selection of antique and vintage floral jewellery for a unique and cryptic gift!

Gold and enamel memorial pendant with locket back, circa 1830.
Gold and enamel memorial pendant with locket back, circa 1830.
Ref: 24661
Oscar Heyman Brothers pansy ring berganza hatton garden
Oscar Heyman Brothers pansy ring, American, circa 1940s.
Ref: 25559
Victorian diamond solitaire ring berganza hatton garden
Victorian diamond solitaire ring, French, circa 1900.
Ref: 26072
Gem set flower vase brooch berganza hatton garden
Gem set flower vase brooch, circa 1935.
Ref: 25403
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