The first official St Valentine’s Day was declared by Pope Galasius in the year 496 to honour a martyred priest, Bishop Valentine, who lived under the reign of Emperor Claudius in the second century AD. Emperor Claudius had declared that married men did not make good soldiers and thus forbade weddings for young people. Bishop Valentine bravely defied this decree and performed marriage ceremonies for young people in love. For this, Bishop Valentine was jailed and sentenced to die. During imprisonment he fell in love with the daughter of the warden. Shortly before his execution the bishop smuggled a note to his beloved with the words “From your Valentine.” The rest is history.
Since the red heart is a symbol of romantic love it is often featured on Valentine Cards today. In the 20th Century, sending an anonymous card to an admired one became popular with schoolchildren.
Traditional gifts on Valentine’s Day are red roses, chocolates and jewellery. The diamond industry promoted diamonds as a Valentine gift in the early 1980’s and today, diamond jewellery purchases just before the 14th February, nearly equals diamond sales before Christmas.
What about a glorious red gem for Valentine’s Day?
Ruby, red tourmaline, red spinel, red garnets, even blood coral, Mexican fire opal or inexpensive red jasper cabochon jewellery will make any women’s heart beat faster.