Monday, January 26, 2009

Your ♥'s Desire...

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, we become inundated with imagery of all things flowery, cupid-emblazoned, red and pink-hued, and especially those things heart-shaped. This ubiquitous symbol of love, passion, and romance is so embedded and ingrained into our minds that we seldom ponder upon its origins, so I thought I might do a bit of research.

The heart symbol very vaguely resembles a human heart, so it has been suggested that, during the Middle Ages, peoples used cows' hearts - a more readily available sight than a human heart - as a template for the creation of the heart-shaped symbol. However, a cow's heart's resemblance to the ♥ shape is also very minimal. So, on to another theory.

The folding over of the wings of doves forms a shape much in line with the heart shape we are all familiar with and doves are associated with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of all things lovey-dovey (sorry, I couldn't pass that pun up ;-)

However, one of the most plausible and interesting accounts of the origins of the heart symbol comes from the 7th century BC Greek city-state of Cyrene in present-day Libya. Coins of this city clearly depict what we recognize as a heart symbol, but the depiction is actually that of the seeds of the fruit of an extinct plant called silphium. The silphium plant was widely used as an ancient herbal contraceptive and, therefore, the shape may have come to represent sexuality and love.

The result of my digging was that the there is no agreed-upon consensus regarding the origins of the heart shape we associate with Valentine's Day festiveness and love in general. Regardless, it is a beautiful symbol that has inspired art and design for centuries and one that we, as teametsyaustin crafters, frequently incorporate into our splendid designs - a few of which I have showcased below. To end, I wish you all a very lovely Valentine's day full of ♥!

information sources: and


  1. Cool post, Holly! very interesting & fun to read.