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The symbolism of Love sublimated by jewellery

The symbolism of Love sublimated by jewellery

There is only one happiness in life, and that is to love and be loved. At least that’s what George Sand said. But no one will deny that Love is the greatest and most universal feeling in this world. No wonder it has been glorified through all forms of art and expression since the beginning of time. Even less astonishing that jewellers, creators of beauty, honour this impulse of the heart. Whether through figurative or symbolic forms, jewellery has been inspired by various myths, beliefs and languages to speak in the name of Love. With its roots in the School of Jewellery Arts, Luxus Plus reveals some of the symbols hidden throughout the collections of certain Houses.


The jewels of feelings crystallise all forms of love and speak in the name of passion, friendship, soft or violent emotions, secret or impossible relationships. Through metonymy games, Art and jewellery commonly appropriate the elements that define them. The most common examples are inspired by the ancient gods. For example, Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty, possessed a chariot driven by doves.


Jewellers often represent it in artistic creations, as do the two elements attributed to it. Her son, Cupid, god of loving desire, used to bring souls together with his bow and arrows that touched hearts. The latter are therefore linked to the son of Venus and Mars and the feeling he brings forth.


© Célia Mastorchio-Fabbri


Also possessing wings, the arrows symbolise this cherub and love in many art forms, especially jewellery. Boucheron, for example, has superbly exploited these references by creating sumptuous arrows, doves, wings and diamond feathers. Let us recall the relationship between diamonds and Love with the idea that they are both eternal.
One of the most beautiful legends is that of Psyche (meaning “soul” and “butterfly” in Greek) and Cupid or Love falling in love. Venus being jealous of Psyche – the most beautiful mortal – asked her son Cupid to make her fall in love with the ugliest man in the world. However, becoming infatuated with her, he took her to his kingdom and forbade her to discover his appearance.


One evening, while he was sleeping next to her, she lit the room to discover him and inadvertently woke him up. Feeling betrayed, he left her and left her in the hands of Venus, who mistreated her, forcing her to do some work. Her last mission was to steal the vase of beauty elixir from the Underworld without opening it. Unfortunately, unable to resist the temptation and inspiring its fragrance, she fell into a deep sleep.


Cupid, still in love, came to her rescue, woke her with a kiss, made her grow butterfly wings and took her to the kingdom of the gods. This little insect, symbolising Psyche, then became the embodiment of the soul and beauty. Thus Van Cleef and Arpel, deeply attached to poetry, has always known how to fill our eyes with wonder with butterflies that are as fabulous as they are precious.


© Célia Mastorchio-Fabbri


Love, as sweet as it can be painful, is also represented by bees and honey. The latter describe so well the torments of love. Indeed, “honey” is indeed an affectionate term among English speakers. But to possess honey, you have to face its guardians and sometimes be bitterly stung. This concept has long been expressed through jewellery creations.


Chaumet is a perfect example of this with its “Bee my Love” collection, which reuses the hexagonal shape of the cells of the hives or its few refined creations in the shape of bees. As for butterflies, when they are “at night” and above all linked to a flame, they reveal their fatal attraction. Because, as a being who gets too close to the fire burns, the violence of the attraction can destroy hearts.

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Nature is also a great source of expression. The rose, symbol of love, is often magnified. It is said to be the work of the reincarnation of a dying nymph saved by the ancient gods, which gave it beauty, fragrance and charm. In addition, the Daisy – whose petals are removed by play to find out the feelings of our beloved – is reinterpreted in jewellery.


Just like ivy, which always remains green and therefore symbolises fidelity. It is magnificently stylised at Boucheron, the creator of the House having been amazed by this wild flower and having seen in its leaves a slightly abstract form of the heart, a universal symbol.


There are many representations across cultures and eras and not all of them can be explained in so few words, but the most wonderful is the one that is unique to you. Whatever form the jewel you offer takes, it remains by itself the precious allegory of your love.




Featured photo: © Célia Mastorchio-Fabbri

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