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By DILIP SONIGARA

LOVE

Who are you?

Part of the "Stories of Self-Expression" series by Mohini

The idea of this series is to talk about the different expressions and how each one of them makes us feel alive. We are constantly searching to give voice to these expressions and convey who we are and what we feel. So far, we have discussed how people from ancient to modern times have used jewellery to express their identities and celebrate tradition. In this blog, we’ll be talking about love. It is one of the most important human experiences without which life cannot be fully experienced.

Throughout the human lifetime, we’ve used different ways to express love and given birth to all kinds of symbolisms. Like roses are seen as a symbol of beauty and love. We see people gifting roses to express their admiration. The Claddagh ring, which we discussed in our last blog, is an Irish symbol of love. In West Africa, Eban (a diamond-shaped sign made of four squares) symbolizes safety and security, which love and family provide. The name “Eban” literally translates to “fence,” inferring its symbolism. Then there are countless poetries, songs, stories, and whatnot. It is such a universal feeling that we’ve found so many different ways to express it. And because of this, the definitions of love can vary vastly from person to person. For someone, something as grand as building a Taj Mahal might be the most prominent expression of love, whereas, for someone, providing undivided attention and time might be the only qualifier. Even in such subjective matters where definitions dance all over the place, jewellery has provided a common ground to express this essential emotion. Jewellery has been popularly used for centuries as a universal instrument for expressing sentiments. Sentimental jewellery carries a story or has a memory attached to it. These can be mourning jewellery, posy rings, or even a piece of jewellery bought on special occasions like welcoming a new child, proposing to someone, starting a new journey, and so on.

This trend of exchanging jewels to express an emotion is not new. People have been using it since ancient times. In the late medieval period, ring bands with rhymes and poetry inscribed on them became famous. These were called posies (French for a little poem). They either expressed religious or romantic expressions with inscriptions on the inside or outside of the band. Then there was a trend of acrostic jewels used to convey loving messages to the recipient. Napoleon's second wife, Empress Marie Louise, wore three bracelets with dates of Napoleon's and her birthday and when they met and married. During the Victorian period, mourning jewels started to gain popularity and became almost a custom. These jewels often contained the hair of the deceased. They remained popular throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. But by the start of the 20th century, mourning jewellery started to go out of fashion.

During this period, eternity rings started to become the preference. It was based on the concept of having a never-ending line of gemstones reflecting unbroken devotion. In 1969, Aldo Cipullo designed the Cartier Love Bangles after his breakup. The bangles were designed in a way that it required a screwdriver to put on and could not be easily slipped on and off. It was designed as a symbol of commitment. Another rather universal symbol of commitment is rings, particularly wedding rings. It is also an ancient idea. It is believed to have originated in ancient Egypt about 6000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians believed that the ring's circular shape represented eternity, and the open space in the middle represented a passageway into the future. Since then, wedding rings have been adapted in different cultures as per their beliefs and customs. Romans and Greeks started personalizing their wedding rings with carvings. There were clasped hands concept, Gimmel rings, posy rings, and finally, our modern-day wedding rings, available in a wide range of designs and materials.

Apart from rings, in India, the groom ties mangalsutra (an auspicious necklace) around the bride’s neck on the wedding day in Hindu weddings. It symbolizes lifetime unity. So, no matter what kind of love and in which country you’re trying to express it, jewellery provides creative and meaningful ways to do so.

We at Mohini celebrate this nature of jewellery to help you express love for your special ones. We understand how precious this emotion is and what this gift means to you and your loved ones. That's why we only make one of that kind so that your gift is as unique as the place this person holds in your life.

Note: This blog is part of the “Stories of self-expression” series, where we talk about the different ways jewellery has facilitated our journey to expressing ourselves. In the next blog, we’ll discuss how jewellery became a symbol of power and status. To read about how jewellery has helped humans celebrate tradition and belongingness, read our previous blog: Tradition

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