By the second millennia before the common era, in The Book of the Dead, the Egyptians were on to something universal: one of the rites of passage to the next life consisted of weighing the deceased's heart against the Feather of Truth from Ma'at's headdress! If the heart was lighter than the feather, the deceased would be able to make the perilous journey to the afterlife. In the mummification process, the brain was thrown away, because the Egyptians believed that the heart was the source of human wisdom as well as the seat of the emotions, memory and the personality.
The iconic image of a heart was used in many cultures, transformed through observing the ivy leaf or other images in nature into the universal symbol we know today.
In fact, the pictogram is commonly understood as shorthand for affection: =heart = love. And this leads us to the expression of that love, both privately and publicly. One of the most chosen ways to express how we feel is by gifting our beloved with heart-themed jewelry.
While it's true that St. Valentine's Day has co-opted the heart as its own, it's just as appropriate to give heart-shaped jewelry for any other occasion: birthday, anniversary, Mother's Day, Christmas or even Ground Hog's day!
Heart-shaped jewelry is a versatile adornment which can be both dressy for evening wear and appropriate for day wear. It can be found in a variety of metals, from silver to gold to platinum. Pendants are especially suited to the heart shape: they are worn on a chain, not far from the corporeal heart! Heart pendants can be openwork or solid. They can be engraved or smooth. Hearts can be stylized or classic, whimsical or serious. They can be set with diamonds, rubies or other gemstones. They can be lockets (perhaps with a picture inside). They can be inexpensive or costly. They can be one-of-a-kind, or they can be easily found in local jewelry stores.
Besides heart pendants, the heart motif can also be found in rings, earrings or brooches.
When choosing a piece of jewelry, it's important to understand the nature of the recipient and how she will wear it. Is she a conservative dresser? A classic heart shape will suit her. Does she dress preppy? Perhaps a whimsical heart would tickle her fancy. A petite woman might enjoy petite jewelry. There are hearts with precious gemstones, such as rubies, and there are heart designs in every metal—from silver to gold to platinum! If you can dream it, there will surely be heart jewelry to please any taste. And more importantly, the message conveyed by giving a heart to your beloved is that she is close to your heart!