Valentine's day is historically a Christian feast day taking place on the 14th February each year. This day is honouring two saints both by the name of Valentinus who were put to death on this date on separate years.
Valentine's day is believed to have its roots in Ancient Rome as a pagan fertility festival called Lupercalia. The Christian Church decided to rebrand this as a Christian feast day and in 486ad Pope Gelasius I decided to use it to honour the Valentinus martyrs.
Since then, Valentine's day has slowly evolved into the romantic day we celebrate today. in 1382 Geoffrey Chauncer wrote Parliment of Fowls, a poem to celebrate King Richard II's engagement that references St Valentine's day. Charles the Duke of Orleans is purported to have sent the first recorded Valentine note to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. By the 1600s St Valentines became a tradition, and Shakespeare references it in one of Ophelia's verses in Hamlet.
By 1797 The Young Man's Valentines Writer was published to help young besotted men write valentine verses. Mechanical Valentine's were on the rise which eventually became so popular, they became mass produced in factories. In 1840 the Royal Mail introduced cheaper postal rates making it more accessible for everyone to send each other cards, and so the practice continued to grow. Esther Howland introduced this tradition to America in 1847, where it soon became big business and one of the biggest holidays of the year.
Gifts of jewellery have always been given throughout history, but it wasn't until the last few decades that it became popularised. It certainly is one of the most memorable ways to celebrate Valentine's day, with a keepsake to cherish for years to come.
Valentine's day is also one of the most popular times to propose, with up to 50% of proposals taking place on this day. It's no surprise, given the history and meaning behind the day that people want to use it to make the ultimate romantic gesture. Even though lots of proposals happen around this time, there's still plenty of chances to make it unique and personal. Designing a bespoke ring is on the rise and ensures a memorable occasion has a beautiful reminder. Tailoring something so special to your unique taste and personal story guarantees that your partner receives something they will cherish forever (and if you are not entirely sure on design or would prefer their input, read about our innovative promise ring service below!)
Our Promise Ring Service at Neil Rayment Goldsmiths is designed to help you with your perfect proposal by keeping the surprise of your thought out proposal, but giving your bride or groom who will be proposed to the chance to create the bespoke ring of their dreams. You'll be given a soft rubber model 'Promise ring' to propose with, alongside a bespoke invite to our studio to create their perfect design. This design will be handcrafted into a beautiful unique ring for you both to treasure for years to come.
For more information about this process, visit our blog page.