St. Valentine, Patron Saint of love and lovers, is celebrated on 14th February but who was St. Valentine and how did the custom of Valentine's Day begin?
Well, Valentine appears to have been a Roman priest living during the reign of the Roman Emperor, Claudius II. Needing troops to enlist in his armies, Claudius II declared marriage illegal for young men in the expectation they would enlist. Valentine, defying Claudius II's edict, persisted in conducting illegal marriage ceremonies and was eventually was imprisoned for his crime. Although during his imprisonment Valentine initially found favour with Claudius II, his attempts to convert Claudius to Christianity sealed his fate and Claudius sentenced Valentine to death in the late 200's - although it took another couple of hundred years for Valentine to have a recognised Day.
During his imprisonment, legend has it that Valentine restored the sight of the jailer's daughter. The couple fell in love and, on the eve of his death, wrote in farewell to his love, signing it, "From your Valentine" and this letter is generally considered to have been the first Valentine's "Card".
In Englamd, Valentine's Day has been celebrated since around about the 1600's. By the mid-1700's sending love-letters and exchanging tokens of affection was quite popular but with the advances in printing and an efficient postal system, the custom of sending "Valentine's Cards" really took off to become the celebration of romance and love we know today.
Of course, apart from the red rose and chocolates, jewellery has always been a popular Valentine's Day gift and the Victorians, with their highly developed sense of the sentimental, produced some of the most beautiful love tokens.
Today the heart motif obviously still features strongly in sentimental jewellery. Many modern designs, including Hot Diamonds, feature hearts in their collections. Hot Diamonds silver jewellery is set with diamonds and often has a gold plated detail. The presentation boxes are of a quality normally associated with the luxury market and give an extra special touch to a Valentine's gift of Hot Diamonds jewellery.
Love Hearts jewellery, designed on the famous sweets, has a fun theme. Silver heart-shaped pendants and charms have coloured enamel decoration and are inscribed with mini "love letters". The Love Hearts have messages that start with the "good friends" stage right through to the wedding and, with a Love Heart inscribed "Girl" or "Boy" even a christening is catered for.