I’ve got a bee in my bonnet over Valentine’s Day, and it’s been buzzing there a long time.
It’s not anything to do with the holiday itself—it can be very sweet, fun, and, sure, even romantic. I even celebrate it! But the way Valentine’s Day is often presented to us—sometimes from the jewelry industry—is irksome.
This expectation for romance. This pressure for significant others to get everything right on this one specific day. The old-school jewelry ads. Valentine’s Day can be so much more than that.
Did you know that the origins of Valentine’s Day are actually pretty terrifying? Forget the image of a cute little cupid shooting people with love arrows. Replace it with the ancient Romans whipping women with the hides of animals they just slaughtered, all in the name of fertility. This feast of Lupercalia as it was called had a slot on the calendar—Feb. 13–15—and included a matchmaking lottery where couples would be paired off for the duration of the event—longer, if they vibed.
There’s also the Feb. 14 executions of two men named Valentine (same date, different years), for which the Catholic Church honored their martyrdom with St. Valentine’s Day. The holiday gets less rough around the edges with time (the details of which you can read from NPR), but those beginnings were…yikes. Though, far more interesting and complicated than one may have suspected!
Just as Valentine’s Day itself has evolved over the years, I think it can and will continue to do so, and the jewelry industry can do so with it and reap the benefits. No longer the cringey man-must-treat-woman event that has long been depicted, there are serious celebration and gifting opportunities for people in all manner of relationships, romantic or not.
A well-rounded marketing effort might include Galentine’s Day, when people, presumably women (though, why not anyone), celebrate their friendships with one another. The popularity of friendship charms might come in handy here. You could shop for your kids, who love the holiday chocolates and school Valentine’s Day cards but why not a lovely little piece of jewelry from mom and dad too? And then there’s my favorite: the self-purchase.
We talk a lot about loving ourselves, treating ourselves—the self-care narrative dominates our culture. So why shouldn’t one practice self-care for Valentine’s Day? Not that I’ve ever needed an excuse to buy something for myself, but I love the idea of being my own Valentine. After more than two years of staying at home plus the body transformation of having a new baby, shoot, maybe I do need a date on the calendar to remind me it’s time to practice some serious self-love.
I wondered if I was in the minority feeling this down-with-romance Ebenezer Scrooge of Valentine’s Day vibe. So when Francesca Simons of Francesca Simons Consulting pitched me the idea of an industry leaders’ holiday wish list, at first I was like all, “bah, humbug.” Yet I liked the idea of consulting others on their thoughts, plans, and wishes for Valentine’s Day, because how we each perceive it is beautiful in its own way.
These incredible women in public relations, literal matchmakers—an appropriate moniker given the occasion—of the industry, have seen their share of great jewelry. Plus, whether they love it or not, they, like the whole industry, are all about V-Day at the moment. From the ideal jewel for the holiday to their own personal plans, my industry Galentine’s (sorry, had to) offer their thoughts and their most-coveted pieces.
As for me? We’re planning a Valentine’s Day–themed scavenger hunt for my 3-year-old that ultimately leads to gifts, of which she will insist we re-create over and over again so she can relive the thrill of the hunt (we are gluttons for punishment). I’m currently plotting jewelry purchases for both of us, and would most like to find the ideal “mommy and me” charm set.
Whether you’re planning to gift yourself something special, pass hints to a significant other, or straight-up ignore this holiday (still a cause for jewelry though, right?), I think the key to the perfect day is to celebrate however it best works for you—ideally, with jewelry.
Francesca Simons, Francesca Simons Consulting
Valentine’s Day, a holiday celebrating love, and well what more does a fine jewelry publicist adore more than a piece of jewelry? I firmly believe it’s a time to spoil yourself, and we can use this holiday as an excuse to prioritize ourselves.
Known for skillfully collecting and layering rings, my Valentine’s Day pick would have to be the Anita Ko new Zoe heart, yellow gold stacking ring. A piece I have been swooning over! The ring has the most beautiful texture, a heart to symbolize love during this holiday, and it can be worn layered with my existing styles. It is simply the perfect, classic, staple piece.
It is important to treat yourself to something special and to reward yourself at times like these, and we all need to feel uplifted. This will be an everlasting ring I can wear for any occasion and a reminder to always love and appreciate myself. I definitely can say, I have worked hard for it.
Arianna Pristina, For Future Reference
One of the perks of my job is being around jewelry all day, everyday, so you can imagine I’ve developed a pretty long wish list of pieces I’d love for my personal collection.
There are two rings I would say are sitting at the very top if I were to spoil myself with a Valentine’s Day gift: the brand-new Self-Love ring from Mateo, for the daily reminder we all need; and the Brent Neale custom number bubble ring displaying my upcoming wedding date!
As for my ideal plans this Valentine’s Day, skipping the romantic dinner and instead drive to the mountains for some couples skiing. It’s my favorite tradition we started!
Lauren Maxwell, Lauren Maxwell Public Relations
I grew up in a household where Valentine’s Day was almost like any other. My parents made an effort to express their love with little gestures or gifts, whether it be for one another or my sister and I, throughout the entire year. To me, it’s more of a thoughtful day to celebrate love in any form. This year, not only am I gifting my mom and little sister timeless pieces of jewelry, I’m also buying a matching piece for myself as a way to honor self-love. My favorite jewelry is timeless with a twist, which is why this piece from Lagos is something I know the three of us will treasure for years to come.
Yael Fraynd, YaYa Publicity
I always thought heart jewelry for Valentine’s Day was too obvious! I’m definitely not a woman drawn to wearing traditionally feminine pieces like hearts. However, through the years of working in jewelry PR and seeing my clients’ incredible takes on this classic symbol, I changed my mind.
I love the infusion of each clients’ unique design motifs and use of incredible stones to transform heart jewels into something so special.
To celebrate the holiday, my husband and I are planning on going to dinner at our favorite restaurant in Manhattan—Sushi Noz—just the two of us. (Hopefully, he sees my wish list!).
Phyllis London, Phyllis London PR
I am a romantic and actually a big fan of Valentine’s Day. It’s one of those holidays that reminds us to slow down and celebrate our loved ones, which is truly mood boosting (especially in the middle of winter).
Before we had kids, my husband and I would choose a fancy recipe to cook together, open a bottle of nice red wine, and relax…. Now, we are lucky if we get to enjoy an uninterrupted takeout meal! Regardless of our plans, I am a big proponent of Valentine’s Day gifts. The kiddos receive a little basket of treats—and, of course, I always get to pick something out for myself.
I have been thinking about a chunky chain necklace for a while now, and the Identity necklace from Robinson Pelham would be at the top of my luxury wish list. I also think this one from Sorellina x Muzo [above] is gorgeous.
And I am absolutely obsessed with these little pink diamond huggies (they also come in blue and green) from Katherine Jetter, though I am tempted to add to my ‘Love Club’ collection with one of her newer heart pendants.
Samantha Perriello, Pace Public Relations
I’m a big fan of self-purchasing: you can’t go wrong when you know what you like, you don’t have to feel self-conscious about the price point when gifting yourself, and the piece can definitely inspire others as to your style preference for future holidays. For Valentine’s Day I’d splurge on something for myself that I view as practical and would wear every day, but also is a standout piece that can turn up an outfit a notch. I love Auvere’s hoop earring XL because of that—it’s a gorgeous wardrobe staple in solid 22k gold, and although hoops are timeless and classic, this one is a head turner, has major sex appeal, and fits the bill for feeling glamorous.
I’m single, and since Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday this year, I’m just going to celebrate with some girlfriends the weekend prior with a fun dinner out followed by a comedy show.
Sophie Louise Tomlin, Avenue Publicity
When buying myself jewelry I always try to buy something sentimental—very rarely would I purchase something for myself “just because.”
A few pieces top of my list that are top of my list include Jessie V E’s Every Cloud locket—I’m thinking perhaps to have engraved the initials of my family.
Another piece on my wish list is Shahla Karimi’s Zodiac Reveal band—it’s a zodiac piece but not in your face. It’s more discreet, as the “diamond stars” have been spread 360 degrees so only the wearer knows the reveal. I don’t yet own any jewelry with my own star sign, Taurus.
Lastly, I’d love to have a piece of jewelry with emerald, my star sign, my daughter’s, and my mum’s. GFG Jewellery works with sustainable emeralds sourced from Gemfields and have some really unique designs. My favorite right now is the Sonia wave ring and even better, it’s stackable so you can add to it.
Unfortunately we don’t have a babysitter for Valentine’s so it will be a takeaway [dinner] and few drinks once the little ones are in bed!
Jessica Kiraly, Mega Mega Projects
First off I just want to say that you don’t need to wait around for a special holiday to gift, or wait around for someone else to give it to you—self-gifting can be the best gift of all!
In the vein of self-gifting, I love a charm since each piece comes with its own background story, its own deeply personal meaning. Right now I am working on building out the perfect charm necklace that I can wear everyday and that tells my story. I’m still working on finding that perfect chain, but in the meantime these are the charms I am eyeing.
Initials are obviously a staple for charms, but Milamore’s has such a playful feel with the use of the puzzle piece, while the addition of braille gives it a deeply personal and tactile feel, offering something I haven’t seen before. I am starting off with a J but know that I also want to add on other letters in the future.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with my dog Izzy, so this piece from Ali Grace Jewelry is the perfect charm for me—a delicate dog bone (with diamonds, of course). Plus, you have the option of engraving it, which I would definitely do with her name.
I daresay that this is my favorite charm in the world—there is just something about it that I have always been drawn to. It has a substantial weight to it and just feels luxurious. It is also named after the designer’s mother, which I find special and reminds me of my mother every time I look at it.
Jackie LeBental-Jones, Barri Luxury Consulting
I love any excuse to gift myself jewelry. When it comes to Valentine’s Day, it’s the perfect moment to splurge on a piece you’ve been eyeing. I’m all about custom and working with my designers on creating a piece that has my special twist on it.
M. Spalten, Parkford, and Pamela Zamore have all designed custom pieces for clients, and I bug them all the time with my personal custom requests. Creating custom for Valentine’s Day embeds a memory that will stay with you for a lifetime. I’m recently acquired a custom M. Spalten Gem ID bracelet—Melissa [Spalten] went through a dozen blue sapphire hearts to match three perfect ones for my bracelet. I love it so much I want to have another one made!
As for Valentine’s Day plans, I feel really lucky because my husband loves to cook, and he’s really good at it. For our very first Valentine’s Day, almost 8 years ago, he cooked for me. I’m looking forward to a really yummy home-cooked meal and not doing the dishes!
Duvall O’Steen, Luxury Brand Group
This Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day, I want to join the pearl revolution! Pearls have been showing up everywhere lately, from celebrity red carpets to fashion runways galore and even in my guilty-pleasure TV shows like the Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That…, or Emily in Paris. I confess, I find myself longing for a lengthy strand or two. In the 1920s flapper era, pearls were a symbol of female empowerment, and they’ve come full circle. Just in time for the 2020s!
Assael’s 62.5-inch sautoir with akoya pearls and fun tassels [above] would allow me to get creative with ways to wear it, or Picchiotti’s long rope of pearls on a diamond chain might do the trick. Girl Up Collection’s Flight necklace with pink sapphire doves would not only give my wardrobe a boost, it would also literally support gender equality, benefiting the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up initiative.
Top: Stud earrings in platinum with 6.51 cts. t.w. heart-shape diamonds, price on request; Lauren AddisonFollow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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