So how did all this Valentine's Day stuff start anyway? As it turns out, the origin of this holiday is as mysterious as love itself. Just as no one truly knows why we fall in love, no one really knows why we celebrate Valentine's Day or exactly when the tradition started. One thing is certain, though. The origins of Valentine's Day are not as romantic as you might think.
One theory is that the origin of Valentine's Day can be attributed to Pope Gelasius I who outlawed the celebration of something called Lupercalia, a Roman holiday that celebrated fertility and that he deemed unchristian, at the end of the 5th century. It's said that he replaced it with St. Valentine's Day, but historical evidence is vague at best. By all accounts, the celebration of Valentine's Day as a day of romance doesn't appear to have started until around the 14th century.
By the 18th century, Valentine's Day had made its way from Europe to the U.S. It became traditional, according to History.com, "for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes."
An American woman named Esther Howland was so taken when she received her first valentine’s greeting in 1847 that she wanted to manufacture them in the U.S. She believed that there could be an American market for these formal, English-style greetings. After procuring high-quality paper and lace from her father, a stationer, she created what many credit as the first American Valentine's Day greeting cards.
Greeting cards were followed by candy which was followed by chocolates, bringing us to my favorite part: jewelry! By the 1920's realistic imitation jewelry was being produced at a cost affordable to average people, and designers like Coco Chanel made what was known as costume jewelry socially acceptable. By the 1930's department stores like Woolworth were taking advantage of this low cost type of jewelry by marketing a line of "Valentine's Day jewelry" as the gift to give. Traditional jewelry stores soon followed.
While roses, candy and chocolates are still the most popular Valentine's Day gifts, jewelry accounts for a little less than 20% of sales just behind Christmas and Mother’s Day.
Whether it's Valentine's Day or a random Tuesday, jewelry is always a great way to say "I love you." Click here to take a look at some of our heart-inspired jewelry, and give a gift that lasts a lifetime.
Fun Fact: Ever wonder why the heart is the symbol of love? There are many theories. My favorite is that the heart shape comes from the shape of the leaves of an extinct plant that was believed to be the main ingredient in love potions used in the time of the Romans. Here's to Love Potion #9!