The story about the origin of Valentine’s Day goes that Roman Emperor Claudius II didn’t want men to marry during wartime because it would affect their fierceness. However, Bishop Valentine performed secret weddings against the emperor’s decree. When Claudius II got wind of Valentine’s acts, he had him jailed and later executed. Before his death, During his internment, Valentine had signed off a letter to the jailer's daughter “from your Valentine.”
In 1381, Geoffrey Chaucer made the first recorded connection between St. Valentine's Day and love in his poem "The Parliament of Fowls," identifying the day as the time when "every foul cometh ther to choose his mate." French and English writers of the 14th and 15th centuries also allude to the day as one reserved for lovers. Valentine's Day was declared a holiday in 1537 by none other than King Henry VIII. Manufactured Valentine's Day cards first appeared in England in the 1800s, and by 1835, over 60,000 Valentine's Day cards were being sent in England alone.
The tradition of sending Valentine's Day cards hit the United States in 1847, and today 150 million cards are sent every year, not including the hundreds of millions of classroom valentines exchanged by children.
Physicians of the 1800s commonly advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining for a lost love. In the 1890s, Cadbury was the first manufacturer to produce heart-shaped boxes of assorted chocolates, which the romantic Victorians went crazy for. Today, 35 million heart-shaped boxes are sold every year.
We love chocolate, but our favorite Valentine's Day gift by far is jewelry! It lasts longer than a box of chocolates, and gives the wearer joy for years to come. Whether you are buying for a significant other, your "valentine," or a special treat for yourself, check out our Valentine's Day Gift Guide for gorgeous jewelry starting at under $200. Happy Valentine's Day!