Romance, love, and courtship are as universal as the precious jewels they inspire, objects we bestow upon loved ones to express deep affection, eternal commitment, or passionate desire. The Power of Love: Jewels, Romance and Eternity traces the history of these ornaments, exploring their origins, their changing fashions, and their cultural significance over time and across cultures.
In The Power of Love, international art historian and jewelry expert Beatriz Chadour-Sampson sheds new light on the storied pasts of these magnificent jewels, providing important context and historical analysis. The ring is the most personal of all jewels, its circular form symbolizing the everlasting union of two people. Though the tradition of giving a betrothal or wedding ring as a promise of marriage goes back to ancient Rome, it was not until the fifteenth century that diamond rings came to be associated with marriage. From the earliest times, rubies or garnets were emblems of passionate love; diamonds or rock crystals symbolized virtue and constancy; sapphires denoted eternal love; and emeralds signified desire and hope. Decorative motifs such as clasped hands, lovers’ knots, crowned hearts, Cupid’s arrows, flowers with hidden messages, snakes, and butterflies were imaginatively used by jewelers to create symbols of romantic love.
The stories presented in this volume—accompanied by one hundred color photos—illustrate and illuminate these mysterious precious stones.
About the Author
Beatriz Chadour-Sampson is a jewelry historian, author, and lecturer. She is the author of several books, including Pearls and Rings of the 20th and 21st Centuries: The Alice and Louis Koch Collection. She has been consultant and curator for jewelry collections at a number of institutions, including the Swiss National Museum in Zurich, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Dallas Museum of Art.