Heart shaped jewellery and keepsakes instantly tell a story of love, but where did the love-heart shape come from?
We say our heart 'skips a beat' when we're excited, breaks with sorrow or is full of joy, but real hearts don't look anything like the symmetric, Valentine's heart-shape we use as a symbol those feelings.
Your Giddy Aunts have heard a few theories over the years. Perhaps the 'love heart' began with the heart-shaped seeds of Silphium plant used in 7th century BC Cyrene as birth control? Or perhaps the shape evolved from the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for the heart? Other theories also suggest that the heart-shape came from a fig leaf, pine cone or even (gasp) a shapely derriere!
During the Middle Ages the "love heart" shape we know (and love) appeared in paintings, glass windows, tapestries and other art forms or gifts to be passed between lovers and loved ones.
In Victorian times the emphasis on jewellery that told a story saw "love hearts" used in many beautiful designs that are with us still.
In a heart-shaped nutshell, we are not really sure of the exact origins, but wherever and whenever the Heart Shape began it is now recognised as a symbol of love, and your Giddy Aunts say 'long live the love heart!'