life in the facet lane Are You a Heart Throb?


The heart motif is a perennial favorite storytelling jewelry form. After all, we give our heart away when we love someone. We say our heart is full of love for that special person in our lives . . . even our furry buddies.

While the exact origin of the heart shape as a love symbol has become obscured over time, we know that 14th century Italian physicist Guido da Vigevano created several anatomical drawings featuring a heart that closely resembles our contemporary version. Eventually the shape was co-opted as a romantic symbol of medieval courtly love, becoming more popular during the Renaissance when religious art depicted the Sacred Heart of Christ. By the 18th and 19th centuries, it had become a frequent motif in love notes and Valentine’s Day cards.

And Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to express our tender feelings for one another. Jewelry always conveys that message in an elegant way, but have we overused the heart as a symbol of our affection? Ft. Myers based jewelry designer Mark Loren (Mark Loren Designs) weighs in on this question. “I love working with heart shapes,” he confides. “Our clients are still very smitten with this romantic form. I have an extensive collection of heart shaped gems and semi-precious gems to play with,” he tells us.

Amethyst-agate slice pendant
with gemstones and diamonds;
Courtesy Mark Loren Designs

The secret is to find a new way to express this time-honored theme. While any lady would be happy to receive a simple gold heart pendant, or even a heart-shaped gemstone ring, when an unexpected design using the heart is created, we feel we’re seeing it for the very first time. Loren’s original statement pendant shown here reveals a completely different way to view the heart. Loren’s exciting color-combining and daring variation on the heart shape causes the viewer to reconsider how delightful this form actually is. It’s as current as new love.

“My inspiration for this pendant came from the opportunity to showcase this amazing and unusual heart-shaped amethyst-agate slice with the deep pink-red color of the Brazilian rubellite,” Loren points out. And as the pendant reveals, a great designer knows when the story has been told. “I didn’t want to get too elaborate because I wanted the gems to capture the eye,” he says.

This February, take a moment to tell someone that they really are your heart throb. Jewelry can convey that beautifully, and its message will live long after the chocolates have been nibbled away, and the delicate flowers fade.

Contact Diana Jarrett at and read

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