We are so busy rushing about that we have little time to invest in many of our personal relationships. During previous centuries, up to the 1900’s, many people, especially the wealthy, had little more than their personal relationships to keep themselves occupied.
We have strong emotions for our families and friends and we can share sentimental jewelry with them. Most of all, romantic lovers like to show their affection by giving and wearing antique sentimental jewelry.
We have forgotten a lot of the symbolism that was part of the vocabulary constituting antique sentimental jewelry. Every flower and leaf had a meaning that was as clear as daylight to everyone at the time. Animals and nautical symbols were also common. Dogs indicating loyalty, anchors enduring love, wreaths and hearts and of course, turtle doves, which have survived to this day as signs of romance. By the same token, various gemstones have been attributed to various sentiments.
Rings are the most common form of sentimental jewelry. A ring might include hearts and doves. A locket of hair from a loved one is very commonly shown either on the bezel or in a locket, hidden underneath the bezel.
Poesy rings were popular many hundreds of years ago. These rings were engraved with poems or sentimental sentiments, which is where the name originates (poetic rings). Look for rings with love messages as gifts to your own loved ones. Dame Joan Evans wrote a book on the subject and they are represented in the world’s best museums.
Necklaces, pendants and bracelets are often enhanced with a dangling locket. This locket would often contain a lock of hair of a loved one (living or dead) and possibly a portrait. In the days before photographs were ubiquitous, people who could afford it, would have their portrait painted and present it to a loved one in a locket.
Hearts are one of the only symbols that our culture still understands. There is much antique sentimental jewelry of every form available that includes heart symbols. Earrings, rings, pendants and necklaces. Heart-shaped jewels and jewels adorned with hearts are as popular today as they were 200 years ago.