heart-shaped jewelry in rose gold

History + Meaning of the Heart Symbol

Beyond its prevalence in jewelry, art, and other imagery through the ages, the symbolism of the heart has a powerful history that makes it even more meaningful than you might expect.

Read on to discover the fascinating history of the heart shape, and why it continues to capture our imaginations (and devotions) to this day.

The History of the Heart Symbol

Remarkably, the symbolism of the heart can be traced back over 2,000 years, to the Indus Valley Civilization in the 5th and 6th centuries BCE. An ancient heart-shaped pendant necklace can even be seen at the National Museum in New Delhi. But the most significant chapter in the history of the heart shape arose during the Middle Ages, when the symbol finally took on a popular association with love and emotion. Since then, the meaning of the symbol spread, gaining traction among royalty and the general populace alike during the Renaissance, the Victorian Era, and beyond.

silver embossed heart necklace

Contemporary Significance

Today, the heart continues to emblemize love, life, self-expression, and both romantic and non-romantic affection. It appears in jewelry from necklaces and bracelets to heart charms. Given the rich symbolism of the heart, it should come as no surprise that heart jewelry is a popular choice for gifts, with a timelessness underscored by the history of the heart symbol and a contemporary significance backed by current trends.

Connected Symbols

For individuals interested in the history of the heart shape, other symbols may also be worth noting. For instance, the lock and key symbol is a natural complement to the symbolism of the heart, with potent meanings around value, security, and desire. Another symbol that may come as a surprise to some is the pineapple. The symbol of the pineapple reflects warmth, hospitality, and a welcoming heart.

lock and key heart charm bracelet in silver

From History to the Present

From ancient interpretations to an expression that’s specific to the individual, the history of the heart shape continues to this day. At ALEX AND ANI, we love celebrating the symbolism of the heart, which is why we’ve crafted a one-of-a-kind selection of heart accessories, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and more. Treat yourself or give the perfect gift to show how much you care, and be sure to explore our customizable designs for the opportunity to uniquely wear your heart on your sleeve.

mother and daughter bracelet set of two in shiny silver