Through symbols and sentiment we express our love and affection. To celebrate the romance of this season we’re taking a closer look at the meaning behind the exceptional materials and enduring designs of some of our favorite pieces.

CARTIER Art Deco Sapphire and Diamond Stick Pin, c. 1920

The uniting of two people in love has historically been represented by entwined hands. This elegant Art Deco stickpin by Cartier abounds with symbols of love and devotion. It is topped with a ring of sapphires surrounding an image of clasped hands in chased yellow gold. A single rose-cut diamond is set on one of the fingers of the left hand indicating an engagement. The blue of the sapphires is associated with fidelity while the diamonds represent eternal love.

RENÉ BOIVIN Ruby and Pearl Navette Brooch, 1960

One of the grandest and most enduring symbols of love is Emperor Shah Jahan’s Taj Mahal. Dedicated to the memory of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, the memorial is considered the most beautiful building in the world. This exceptional brooch designed by Juliette Moutard for René Boivin takes its inspiration from the opulence and artistry of 17th century Mughal court jewelry. It consists of two hearts joined in a navette form. Each centers on a cabochon ruby and is edged in pearls. Moutard frequently looked to classic Indian motifs for her designs including her famous Hindu and Passementerie collections of the 1950s and 60s.

Edwardian Ruby and Diamond Ring, c. 1910s

With its deep shades of red symbolizing desire, ruby is the gemstone of love and romance. Legend says that the ruby isn’t even a stone, but rather hardened fire with the power to ignite passion. This elegant Edwardian ring in the form of a stylized target with cabochon ruby center calls to mind Cupid finding his mark and is an ideal choice for an engagement or anniversary ring.

TIFFANY & CO. Moonstone and Sapphire Bracelet, c. 1940s

Moonstone is a luminous gem that has been used as a talisman of love and protection for centuries. The ancient Greeks considered it to be a symbol of Venus, while the Romans associated it with Diana and believed it ensured love and good fortune for anyone who possessed it. As it was thought to bring luck in love it was often given as a traditional wedding present. This elegant 1940s bracelet from Tiffany & Co. combines two symbolic stones, sapphire for fidelity and moonstone for undying love. It features three floral motifs separated by leaf-shaped links. Each flower is composed of iridescent moonstone petals accented by blue sapphires.

BOUCHERON Sapphire & Diamond Compact and Lipstick Case, c. 1940

From the first powder compacts designed during the reign of Louis XIV to the rise of cosmetics culture in the Art Deco era, the idea of makeup-as-jewelry has a long and fashionable history. While always a provocative gesture, the public application of makeup was fully embraced, even flaunted, by 20th century women as a sophisticated expression of allure. Embellished compacts in precious metals and gemstones by the great master jewelers took pride of place in evening bags and on restaurant tables, echoing the finest jewelry of the time. This elegant compact and lipstick set from Boucheron is crafted of 18k yellow gold and decorated with an engraved foliate design highlighted by cabochon sapphires and finished with diamond accented push closures.

CARTIER Turquoise and Diamond Ring, 1954

Turquoise has the oldest documented history of all gems. It was one of the first stones to be mined and was revered by the great cultures of antiquity for its reputed power of protection and healing. Diamonds were discovered 4000 years ago in India and have always been considered potent charms of love and security. Queen Elizabeth I, who was known for wearing ropes of pearls, tucked a diamond in her clothes to safeguard against evil and illness. An amulet of allure and care, this mid-century Cartier ring features a turquoise cabochon encircled by a ring of diamonds in a hand-chased gold shank. 

CARTIER Diamond Dove Bracelet, 2001

The dove has long been considered a symbol of peace and love. Known to mate for life, doves depicted in pairs have come to signify commitment and fidelity. In the Middle Ages it was believed that doves chose their mates on Valentine’s Day, forever linking the birds to the holiday This elegant Cartier diamond bracelet from their “Colombe de la Paix” collection is designed as a continuous circle of doves in flight.