True Love and Heart-Shaped Jewelry: The Symbol of Romance Gets Real

I’m sure you’ve seen it by now. Grocery stores, drug stores, department stores, and even corner markets are filling up with red and pink: roses (faux and real), plush animals, candy, and hearts of every color and size.

I admit, I’m a raving romantic, and I’ve always liked hearts. Well, some hearts. I like hearts in unusual forms, such as heart-shaped leaves, seashell bits and rocks that have been worn and weathered into hearts, and random heart shapes that occur by happenstance–from the cocoa at the bottom of my mug of hot chocolate to the holes in my tomato slices. I love seeing hearts in everyday life, and I always think of them as sweet messages of love from my beloved grandmothers or what my friend calls “cosmic howdys.” Either way, they make me feel happy and loved.

hearts found in nature

Heart-shaped doilies are the most darling little things ever, but heart-shaped boxes of candy? Meh. And heart-shaped jewelry? Not so much, for me–at least not until recently. I’ve started seeing metal jewelry artists create heart-shaped jewelry with a liveliness, an edge, in styles that aren’t sugary sweet but that seem filled with the real passion and compassion, real ups and downs, real joy and heartache that real love can bring. I’m watching a film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (again) as I write, and Marianne just said, “To love is to burn, to be on fire, like Juliet or Guinevere or Eloise!” No doily or fluffy heart conveys that kind of love.

heart brooch by Thomas Mann

Photo courtesy of Thomas Mann Design.

When I think of heart-shaped jewelry that conveys a sense of what real love is like, I think of Thomas Mann’s heart pendants and brooches. Hearts are a common shape in Thomas’s jewelry, which include elements of wire, metal, gemstones, and found objects–of color, texture, and attachments, making them realistic representations of love in heart-shaped metal jewelry.

heart charm bracelet by Thomas Mann

Photo courtesy of Thomas Mann Design.

Is your heart broken? Thomas has created stitched, hammered, and riveted heart designs that completely convey that feeling–some appropriately feature nails or thorns. For hearts bursting with joy from new babies, new careers, or new adventures, hearts with wings are just the thing. For a heart that’s burning with new love, Thomas creates flaming hearts set with rubies! I love the reality I see and feel in Thomas’s heart-shaped metal jewelry.

make the mokume gane heart pendant by Roger Halas
Roger Halas created this artistic mokume gane heart pendant using metal fabrication, soldering, and stone setting techniques. The result is a stylish, modern version of the age-old icon that’s both pretty and full of feeling.

Ready to convey your own feelings of passionate love, joyful love, head-spinning love, wistful love? Here are some projects to fit the bill.

Be Steel My Heart earrings by Sharilyn Miller

Be Steel My Heart by Sharilyn Miller

make the Radiating Heart Ring by Aisha Formanski

Radiating Heart Ring by Aisha Formanski

Forged Hearts necklace by Linda Larsen

Forged Heart Necklace by Linda Larsen

make the Heart and Soul necklace by Linda Larsen

Heart and Soul by Linda Larsen

My Copper Heart necklace by Christine Dunbar

My Copper Heart by Christine Dunbar

So Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and now I have to add heart-shaped stones to my Tucson shopping list! Are you in the mood for pretty heart-shaped jewelry or romantic jewelry, a quick and easy or involved and challenging project, or other metal jewelry designs that are stitched, hammered, riveted, and stone-set to represent your heart? You can find all of these and more NEW wire and metal jewelry projects in the Jewelry Making Daily Shop, all at $4 or less!

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