Valentine’s Day has its roots in Lupercalia – a pagan fertility festival which was marked in Ancient Rome in mid-February. Then there are accounts of the early Christian church getting involved; in 496AD, Pope Gelasius formally rebranded February 14 as St Valentine’s Day. But it was Geoffrey Chaucer who first made links with the date and romantic love via poetry in 1382, while the first recorded Valentine’s note was sent by a Frenchman, the Duke of Orléans after his capture following the 1415 Battle of Agincourt. In it, he calls his wife ‘my very sweet Valentine’.
By 1601, Shakespeare was mentioning the occasion, now an established English tradition, in a speech by Ophelia in Hamlet.
For the young eighteenth-century gentleman struggling to come up with their own rhymes for their sweetheart, help was at hand from The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, full of sentimental rhymes and ditties from which they could take their pick.
The introduction of the Penny Post in the mid-nineteenth century meant that, for the first time, people could afford to send Valentine’s Cards to each other, and do so anonymously. And so the sorts of verses and pictures we’re familiar with today started to be mass produced. Worldwide, it’s estimated that we now send up to a billion of these romantic greetings every year.
Why give jewellery for Valentine’s Day?
Today, of course, everyone loves getting a special gift on February 14. And while chocolates or flowers or even the traditional romantic dinner will earn you a few Brownie points with your other half, they’re hardly original ideas, don’t last and don’t really indicate that you’ve put huge amounts of thought into the present.
Giving jewellery, on the other hand, is highly intimate and personal. It lasts a lot longer than many of the alternatives, and serves as a daily reminder of the bond and affection between you and your significant other, and a marker of how much they mean to you.
But unless you’re absolutely sure it’s the right moment to pop the question, you’re probably better off steering clear of diamond rings in boxes. Happily, there are plenty of great (and, not to mention, more affordable) options. What’s more, quality doesn’t have to cost the earth. View our collection of jewellery and accessories for women and men, handcrafted from metal, wood, shell, glass and sterling silver. We have earrings, bracelets and necklaces. Or how about something a shade more unconventional, such as an anklet or toe ring? We’ll have something you love.
There’s still time to celebrate the most romantic day of the year. Browse our line-up of exquisite products, and just ask us if you have any questions.