Romance is undoubtedly in the air, with yesterday’s Alberta Ferretti show in Milan revelling in swathes of lace and chiffon in an embellished underwater palette of blues and aquamarines. And on the AnOther Loves stream, today is also a victory for the unabashed romantic, with the unanimous victor in the Loves vote this nineteenth century Love Note Ring: a gold band, painted with delicate flowers, containing hinged compartments that open to reveal messages of love.
Part of the jewellery collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, we know that this gold ring was made in France between 1830-60, yet explanatory details are tantalisingly few. An object of exquisite beauty, it comes from the long tradition of the exchange of gifts and love tokens, which often took place between inamoratas who had to keep their affections secret from the world. A ring like this one would have been solely the province of the wealthy, yet love tokens proliferated in the lower orders too, often in the shape of small denomination coins – like pennies or nickels – being engraved with initials, monograms, names or romantic scenes, and then slipped into a lover's pocket.
"Love tokens often took the shape of small denomination coins – like pennies or nickels – being engraved with initials, monograms, names or romantic scenes, and then slipped into a lover's pocket."
Here, we speak to Loves contributor Paula Robles about where she found this swoonsome object, and try to find out, with little success, where she would conceal her messages of love.
Where did you find the ring?
On my Tumblr dashboard, where – besides the AnOther Loves feed – I usually find the most inspiring images.
Why did you choose to love it?
At first sight I though it was a bracelet and I was surprised by the amount of detail such a small piece carries. It also has a naive, almost childlike quality that reminds me those little love (or hate) notes that kids pass each other at school.
What would you choose to wear it with, and where would you go?
I barely wear any jewellery in my daily life except for a few significant pieces which I never take off, so I'll end up wearing it with whatever is in my closet to almost anywhere. However I like the idea of building a look from such a such a small piece; simple high waisted jeans, a wool sweater and a pair of black platform sandals would be perfect for me.
What is the most romantic love token you've ever given or received?
No token beats fresh flowers.
If you had a secret message, where would you hide it?
That would have to be a secret! All I can say is that I'm known for keeping secrets very well.
What are you looking forward to about autumn?
A last minute holiday to a hidden spot in the south coast of Spain to celebrate my birthday at the end of the month. Other than that, I'm quite excited about the upcoming William Klein and Daido Moriyama show at Tate Modern.
What was the last thing you bought?
A veggie sandwich – not romantic at all.
Text by Tish Wrigley