The Romance of Jewelry
by: Carrie Johnson
"Well," you may ask, "isn't jewelry romantic by it's very nature?"
To some extent this is true, but we wear jewelry for any number of reasons that
are not romantic... to look sophisticated, to look professional, to impress our
friends and neighbors.
So what about the romance of jewelry?
In this case I'm talking about romance in a broader sense than simply
Something more like this definition from the dictionary:
"A quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life"
That wonderful fission, that bit of a chill that you get from something that is
just, well, more than day to day life.
Romantic jewelry is that jewelry that makes you feel special, different, like a
princess or a prince. That jewelry that takes you out of your normal hum drum
life each time you put it on. The little something extra that comes of wearing
something truly special.
Perhaps that is why gold is such a popular metal for jewelry. I love silver and
platinum and there are other metals (titanium comes to mind) that make great
jewelry, but there is nothing like the romance of gold. To wear gold is to wear
the jewelry of kings and queens. In ancient Egypt only the pharaohs and those
especially favored by the pharaohs were permitted to wear gold. This feeling of
being special and above the fray has continued to the modern day. If you want to
feel like royalty (or if you want to give a gift that says you think of your
beloved as a king or queen), gold is the answer.
Other jewels that inspire feelings of romance are pearls, emeralds and rubies...
and, of course, for many people, diamonds.
Somehow though diamonds don't seem to have the same warmth and romance as the
other stones. Actually diamonds were not historically valued as highly was we do
today. Much of the romance that has been generated around diamonds is do to de
Beers in the early part of the 20th century instituting a brilliant and very
effective advertising campaign... so I will leave diamonds for another day.
On the other hand pearls... Pearls feel wonderful against your skin. They are
sensuous and mysterious. To look deeply into a fine pearl is to look into
eternity. There is also something intriguing about a pearl, knowing that is came
not from the cold hard ground, but from an industrious mollusk.
Pearls have been prized in all time periods and all cultures. Historically
baroque pearls (large irregularly shaped pearls) were used to make wonderful and
fantastic jewelry by embellishing them with gold an gems. Frequently these took
the shape of Neptune or other greek gods, sirens, beautiful women and animals.
The Canning Jewel in the Victoria and Albert museum is a famous and elaborate
use of a baroque as the base for a handsome merman.
Black pearls, particularly Tahitian black pearls have become very popular in
recent years. They come in a range of colors from spectacular purples and
greens, through pinks to sophisticated browns. All are lovely and the range of
colors gives them a great deal of flexibility in choosing just the right pearl
for your outfit and mood. The most beautiful black pearl necklace I've seen was
from Morrison's a small manufacturing jeweler in Berkeley. The pearls were
arranged in a rainbow strung together so that each color melted into the one
next to it -- stunning. And of course what could be more romantic than pearls
(By the way, if you wear pearls, do wear them against your skin, it is good for
them, but be sure that you do not wear any perfume, scent or lotion, at least
not where it might contact your pearls.)
Emeralds and rubies are traditionally the emperor and empress of gems. Perhaps
it is their vibrant colors that inspired our ancestors. Certainly that vivid
blood red and cool serpent green are hard to ignore. Even today emeralds and
rubies of equal size and quality are more expensive than equivalent diamonds.
In Victorian times colored gems were used to spell out love messages. Sometimes
this made for interesting and not necessarily attractive settings; but it is
very romantic. For instance a piece of jewelry might have these gems in order:
LOVE: Lapis, Opal, Vermeil and Emerald.
REGARD: Ruby, Emerald, Garnet, Amethyst, Ruby and Diamond.
The shape of jewelry too can harbor a romantic message. Hearts and clasped
hands, hands holding a heart (Claddagh) and cupids are self explanatory, but
some shapes are a bit more subtle.
For many cultures, including the Romans and the Victorians, snakes were a symbol
of enduring love. A snake biting it's own tail so as to make a circle is a
particularly potent symbol of everlasting love. Prince Albert gave Queen
Victoria a snake engagement ring -- the beginning of a long and celebrated
Interestingly lizards and frogs were (and perhaps still are) also symbols of
wedded happiness. Perhaps this explains the continuing popularity of jewelry
depicting this wiggly creatures.
Jewelry in the shape of flowers may also be symbolic. To quote Ophelia "There's
rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is pansies.
Thatís for thoughts."
Other flowers commonly found in jewelry are daisies for innocence, roses for the
growth and continuation of love and bouquets expressing the commingling and
compatibility of marriage. When you are considering the perfect gift from that
next anniversary, rather than the common "anniversary ring" how about a more
romantic bouquet pendant?
So the next time you are rooting through your jewel box before that special
tryst or looking for the perfect gift for the perfect lover, consider the
symbolic romance of jewelry and gems.
Sterling Silver Jewelry Charms
Ancient Egyptians wore bracelets with charms or amulets. They were used to
protect against bad luck and evil forces. They began with religious symbols and
became a part of everyday dressing.
Wearing Jewelry Like a Pro -
New Fun Ways to Wear Your Jewelry
This article will help stimulate your thinking about how you wear jewelry.
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