During the Victorian era romantic love was viewed as the primary requirement for marriage and courtship became an art form among the upper classes. Known for their formality and closed lips, Victorians poured their emotions into their jewelry. They used a diverse language of symbols (drawn from history and religion) to send secret messages of love, flirtation, friendship and sadness.
Gemstones conveyed particular feelings - diamonds represented constancy, pearls symbolized tears, ruby meant passion and turquoise stood for protection & prosperity. Birds, flowers, and ladies' hands were common motifs of the day. The hand symbolized good luck and even the object held in its clutches depicted specific sentiments. For instance, a hand holding forget-me-nots sent a wish that love never die, holding a wreath & laurel meant love victorious, while a fan symbolized flirtation.
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