The Secret Language of Victorian Love
A public show of affection and flirtation was very much frowned upon in Victorian times. This gave rise to the use of coded language to convey amorous messages. These messages could be found in Floriography – The secret language of Victorian florals and in the use of Fans.
Acrostic Jewellery was another of these
popular ways of conveying messages. The first letter of each gemstone set in a piece of jewellery spell out the terms of endearment. It is believed to have originated in Paris in the 1800s before being adopted in England. Words such as Dearest, Love, Beloved and Adore were spelt out using semi-precious stones set in gold, the most common found on brooches, necklaces, bracelets and rings.
My interest in the subject stems from this ring my husband gave me for our first wedding anniversary in 1972. It is a Victorian REGARD ring purchased in an antique shop in Princes Risborough.
Floriography: Red Rose = Passion, Romance; Daffodil = Unrequited Love; White Rose = Innocent Love; Poppy = Remembrance; Marigold = Death, Cruelty, Jealousy; Harebell = Grief, Humility.
Fans: An open fan in the left hand = expressed the wish for the man to talk to her; an open fan in the right hand = Follow Me! An open fan by her side = Wait for Me; Drawing a fan across the forehead = People Are Watching Us!
If anyone has done any further research on this fascinating piece of Victorian social history we would love to hear from you.