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jewelry glossary

Antique jewelry glossary

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The rose


See our: rose jewelry or our floral jewelry.

Roses and culture

Roses are ancient symbols of love and beauty. The rose was sacred to a number of goddesses (including Isis and Aphrodite), and is often used as a symbol of the Virgin Mary. Roses are so important that the word means pink or red in a variety of languages (such as Romance languages, Greek, and Polish).

The rose is the national flower of England and the United States, as well as being the symbol of England Rugby, and of the Rugby Football Union. It is also the provincial flower of Yorkshire and Lancashire in England (the white rose and red rose respectively) and of Alberta (the wild rose), and the state flower of four US states: Iowa and North Dakota (R. arkansana), Georgia (R. laevigata), and New York (Rosa generally). Portland, Oregon counts "City of Roses" among its nicknames, and holds an annual Rose Festival.

Roses are occasionally the basis of design for rose windows, such windows comprising five or ten segments (the five petals and five sepals of a rose) or multiples thereof; however most Gothic rose windows are much more elaborate and were probably based originally on the wheel and other symbolism.

A red rose (often held in a hand) is also a symbol of socialism or social democracy; it is also used as a symbol by the British and Irish Labour Parties, as well as by the French, Spanish (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party), Portuguese, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Brazilian, Dutch (Partij van de Arbeid) and European socialist parties. This originates from the red rose used as a badge by the marchers in the May 1968 street protests in Paris. White Rose was a World War II non violent resistance group in Germany.

Roses and symbolism

  • red : love, used to say "I love you," but also stands for courage and respect
  • red & white together or white roses with red edges: signify unity and togetherness
  • pink : symbolizes grace, sophistication and elegance, also symbolizes gentle feelings of love and friendship
  • dark pink : gratefulness and appreciation
  • light pink : admiration, sympathy
  • white : innocence, purity, secrecy, friendship, reverence and humility
  • yellow : often akin to joy and deep friendship or platonic love; in German speaking countries, however, they can mean jealousy and infidelity
  • yellow with red tips : symbolizes a gesture of falling in love
  • orange or coral symbolizes : enthusiasm and desire
  • burgundy : beauty
  • blue : mystery
  • green : calm
  • black : used to signify death (black being the color of death) often of old habits; in a positive light it signifies rebirth after death; also, Slavish devotion (as a true black rose is impossible to produce)
  • purple : protection (paternal/maternal love)

Roses and their supernatural and literary attributes

  • pale colors: convey warmth and friendship
  • a dozen roses : stand for "there are dozens of ways I care about you"
  • two dozen roses : stands for the 24 hours in a day and tells that "you think about them every hour"
  • three dozen roses : signify a romantic attachment unlike any other
  • four dozen roses : mean unchanging and unconditional love

More info on the rose

More info on flower symbolism


The following is from: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson

  • A brooch made in the form of a full-bloom rose attached to its stem. Such pieces have been made of gold with small gemstones set on or bordering the petals and also set along the stem.
  • A brooch composed of carved pieces of coral and various hardstones, set to form the petals and the stem.
  • A mineral of which the natural forms is in the shape of a rose, e.g. the 'Alpine rose' formed by Hematite and the 'Desert rose' formed by a variety of gypsum.
  • A rose diamond.
  • An ornament of ivory cut in the form of a rose, first made at Dieppe, France, and later at Erbach, Germany.
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