Valentine’s Day – a day for relationships
It has come around again – that curious date on the calendar that prompts couples around the world to declare their love or devotion to each other.
Yes, February 14, Valentine’s Day, is before us and many people, from smitten teenagers to long-time husbands and wives will be exploring ways to make a profound and personal statement about their feelings towards each other.
It is amazing how times have changed and in many ways how they haven’t.
As teenagers in the 1980s, the first foray into the idea of gift-giving to a boyfriend or girlfriend often involved some form of jewelry.
Sure, it might not have been the most expensive or dramatic piece of bling, but much thought had to go into the selection and for youngsters entering the world of relationships it meant plenty.
While the subject matter portrayed on the bracelet, necklace, anklet, ring, earrings or other adornments has changed over the years, in the early 1980s, for boys at least, signs of the zodiac were all the rage.
Earlier, and again with boys, it might have been a manly shark’s tooth, perhaps extracted from a juvenile fish destined for a fish and chip shop but sold as part of a man-eater. And the bling on show through sporting heroes, especially the West Indies cricketers, influenced many. Some of us blokes still have a tiny gold or silver cricket bat in the jewelry cabinet at home.
For the girls – take your pick. It was as perplexing then as it is today.
Pewter as well as silver had its turn as the metal of choice and gold was put aside until the relationship reached that next, special level.
Gemstones correlating with birth dates were often an ideal choice for females and remain so today – even though some girls had or have to work hard to like their particular stone. It’s the thought that counts.
Religious symbols such as crucifixes, where appropriate, have also been a good standard.
When it comes to high-value as well as trinket jewelry, the fashions and trends have ebbed and flowed – at least from the observations of a layperson.
We now see everything from medieval and Celtic symbolism to clever, modern and obscure, engraved and subtle designs.
Bulky, petite, bright or understated – we now have it all at our fingertips.
For many men, picking out jewelry for a loved one is a tough call. Do they reach into their soul to expose their feminine side and take a risk when they make the decision to seriously consider what’s in the jeweler’s window?
Or as a 21st Century male do they simply make a call on what they believe is a good fit for their loved one?
Or, of course, do they take the easy way out – the way that takes the romantic edge off the idea of Valentine’s Day and is all very organised– let their partner choose a piece of sparkle?
For many, the act of receiving and giving a Valentine’s Day gift is only a small part of the occasion which represents a much deeper and more valuable gift – each other.
The more cynical among us argue that Valentine’s Day is little more than an overt commercial opportunity that forces people through guilt to spend money.
But really, Valentine’s Day is whatever we want it to be and why not use it as an occasion to celebrate relationships?
In a perfect world, Valentine’s Day is a reflection of every day that couples are together.
If we sometimes need an annual reminder of what relationships are all about and if that is the role the occasion can play, then it can only be good.
PRECIOUS: Skye Lawson from Prouds The Jewellers in Horsham displays some items that might make ideal Valentine’s Day gifts. Picture: DEAN LAWSON